Ing. René Overgauw is Head of electronic service at Leiden University.
“Within our department, there was a conflict between two employees. The conflict ran so deep that the two people concerned didn't even speak to each other anymore. Since we had never experienced a situation like that, I didn't know how to respond. That is why we asked Aletta for help. She sat us down at the table together, and during those sessions it became clear what the underlying problems were. Aletta gave us insight into the origins of the misunderstandings. It became apparent what we ourselves could do to address problems and to communicate better. So Aletta is more than just a mediator; she also gives concrete advice.
Aletta knows how academics work and think, and she teaches you how to anticipate their behavior. To do that, she doesn't use general management theories from handbooks; her coaching focuses on the reality of everyday practice. This means we can put our lessons learned directly into practice which is very motivating. Aletta is not afraid to be honest, and she communicates very openly and directly where and how things can be improved. That may be confrontational, but it's very effective. After these sessions, I booked follow-up sessions with Aletta in order to work on my personal development.
These coaching sessions solved the particular problem, but we also see long-term impacts. I have noticed that our department is more open. People tend to discuss disputes and disagreements at an earlier stage. I no longer have to act like a referee, and people feel more responsible for their work. Our department is important for the university as a whole, but we're not always very visible. Now, our staff enjoys working on becoming a more visible part of the university community. We are proud of our jobs, and we work happily together every day.”