How to become a rockstar at work...

I coach executives undergoing significant transition in their career - typically seeking promotion or looking to land well in their new role. 

A challenge we all face is learning new behaviours to succeed in new roles. Never straight forward. 

Behaviours that made us star performers may no longer be needed in new roles and sabotage our future success (e.g. micro management is valued in some roles and a disaster in others).

So how can you make sure you: 

  1. become aware of these limiting behaviours and what drives them, and 
  2. rapidly shift them whilst still staying true to yourself?

No one wants to pretend to be someone they’re not. Quickly evolving how you behave in a way that feels right can be tricky. 

I use the following exercise when coaching to answer the questions above. When illustrating how to use it I use a recent real client example with my client’s name and details adapted to maintain confidentiality. 

“Situation/Think/Feel/Do/Result” exercise:

1) Situation

Consider a recent and memorable situation where you got a poor result and the consequence of not changing your behaviour will hold you back from promotion or sabotage performing well in role. 

If there’s no significant consequence for current behaviour - then guess what? - you won’t change.

Then briefly describe that situation:

  • What was your role in that situation?
  • When did it happen?
  • Who were you with?
  • What did they say?
  • What did you say?

Note down your answers to some or all of these questions. 

2) Think:

Reflect on how you thought in that situation that may have affected your behaviour in a way that meant you didn’t perform at your best. 

When the other person spoke what was your internal dialogue saying? 

What beliefs did you have about what you should or should not be doing in that moment? 

Note down your answers to some or all of these questions. 

3) Feel:

How did that situation and your thoughts make you feel that affected your behaviour and performance?

What one emotion would you say you felt? 

Common emotions clients note down during coaching sessions include:











Note down your answers to some or all of these questions. 

4) Do:

What did the situation, your thoughts, and your feelings, then influence what you did?

How did you behave?

What did you say? 

What was your body language like?

What was your tone of voice? 

Note down your answers to some or all of these questions. 

5) Result (actual):

What was the outcome of what you did and how you behaved?

How did the other person/people react? 

How did they feel?

Note down your answers to some or all of these questions. 

6) Result (desired):

What would have been the perfect outcome?

How would the other person/people have reacted to you? 

How would they feel?

Note down your answers to some or all of these questions. 

Coaching client example - background:

Amanda was promoted and the role required £2m in sales from Banking consulting projects. She didn’t know contacts at some target clients and believed she needed to ask her boss who managed those client accounts to introduce her via client meetings. Her boss was very busy. She was swamped delivering complex projects. Arranging multiple meeting times that worked for her, the target clients, and her boss seemed impossible. She had to do this with lots of targets. How was she going to hit £2m in sales? 

In coaching sessions I asked Amanda to reflect on a typical situation which linked to this, so we could try the “Situation/Think/Feel/Do/Result” exercise. Here’s what unfolded:


“I attempt to get my boss to arrange introductory meetings, but he keeps postponing them.”

“I know my he’s increasingly stretched at work and too busy to do them.” 


“I should be getting more introductory meetings and winning more work.”

“I should be pressing my boss to introduce me.”

“But I don’t want to annoy him and jeopardise my career.”


Anxious - not winning work.

Frustrated - meetings kept getting postponed.

Hopeless - she couldn’t see how to make meetings happen.

Scared - her boss would be annoyed if she asked him to stop postponing meetings. 


She was delaying rescheduling meetings, since she didn’t want to bother her boss. 

Result (actual)

Meetings weren’t rescheduled. Target clients weren’t met. This behaviour wasn’t going to win her £2m in sales. 

Results (desired)

She wanted introductions to her boss’ contacts. She knew banks had challenges her team could solve.

How we used these answers

During coaching I challenged her thoughts and beliefs, so she understood why she held these beliefs and confirm they held up to scrutiny. If not perhaps there were other ways to react to this situation and get different results. It soon became apparent she was repeating a pattern of always seeking permission from senior people before acting. So I got curious and asked;

“Do you really need to ask permission now you’ve been promoted?”

“Does it make sense to continue to believe ‘I should press my boss to introduce me to clients?’”

“Could you introduce yourself directly without your boss? You have skills that could solve key business challenges, so surely they’ll want to meet.”

Until now Amanda had no chance to consider the situation and explore different perspectives. 

She no longer needed to seek permission - an old belief to discard. Banking clients would likely want to meet her. Her boss didn’t need to attend.

Her boss loved her suggestion to approach clients alone. He felt guilty cancelling previous meetings and didn’t have time to win work with those banks. Amanda taking the lead was a relief. 

What does this tell us?

We can hold old beliefs that no longer serve us in new roles.

We make incorrect assumptions we must challenge or risk behaviour that gets unwanted results.

Problems can be solved when making time to reflect or talk through them using such exercises. 

Obviously using this exercise with a coach will likely shift behaviour more quickly than if done on your own. Self-reflection and self-challenge is hard for most of us. If you can’t access one I’d talk with someone you trust about what you write down or use the exercise to structure that conversation - perhaps ask what they would “Think”, “Feel”, and “Do” in a similar situation when you know they’d be likely to get a different result. 

I’d welcome any questions or comments once you’ve tried this exercise. I hope you find it useful when exploring how you can enhance your performance at work.