Friday, July 11, 2008

12 Angry Men

When I train coaches, managers and leaders - for years I have insisted they watch the movie '12 Angry Men' starring Henry Fonda. It is a classic! And hugely educational for Managers and Leaders. The film is about a jury that has retired to consider its verdict. It starts out with 11 of the men immediately deciding that the defendant (a young man) is guilty of murder. I won't spoil the movie for you but Fonda's character says little at the start. He is not so convinced of the others' insistence of guilt. He simply puts questions to his colleagues on the jury. These are questions of doubt. And each of them questions, challenges and provokes the other men to reconsider the assumptions and presumptions they make in believing they are making the right 'judgement'. The movie depicts beautifully the art of the executive and management coach...questioning assumptions and provoking clients to listen to simple but penetrative questions that cut through nonsense and 'groupthink'. I won't spoil the end but if you can make the connections between this movie and executive coaching you will understand what coaching is about. It's a great learning tool... Learn more about coaching at


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