Coaching- When Leading a Red…

December 4, 2008

Our Colorful Masterpiece series was one of our more popular series along with our bit on confrontation.  So, in light of the Red Personality‘s ability to take on confrontation, I thought it only fitting to open our Coaching Using Personality Knowledge series with discussing how one would go about coaching a Red Personality.

bullfighterWhat to Expect:

When preparing to coach a Red, you will want to first be sure you have all of your facts straight and more importantly, on paper.  Remember, Red Personalities generally have the ability think quickly on their feet.  Additionally, when cornered, the Red Personality will come out of the corner swinging, but are very decisive.  If you have all of your facts and are able to articulate them to your Red employee, then you will have a better chance at overall behavior modification… at least in the end.

Also, one important trait to remember is that of pride.  A Red, in their own minds at times, feel they are on top of everything and take it personally when you take the time to point out their short comings.  This is a great trait for when they are on target and are able to perform against the odds, but not so great when you are attempting to help them see the error in their ways.  All of this said, one attribute you must embrace when coaching a Red is patience and endurance.  It will not be a very quick or painless process, however, if you go about it the right way, you have a chance to refocus their energy and achieve great results.

How should you change your approach based on YOUR Color Signature?

This is the tricky part.  Again, let’s remember that the Red Personality has a unique ability of being manipulative.  Also, chances are, they know your strengths, weaknesses, and common tactics, so they will be able to formulate a game plan fairly easily out of the gate.  Let’s look at the personalities to see how you would change your behaviors if you were a:

Red: Proceed with caution.  The best route for you to take is to attempt to see yourself on the other side of the desk and act accordingly.  It will be one of two extremes in this situation.  The first would be that you are able to understand how the other employee would feel and achieve a “break through” moment.  The other extreme would involve the police being called to break up the fight.  All kidding aside, I would strongly urge you to have someone who is not of the Red Persuasion in the room to serve as a kind mediator for both of you.

Yellow: Stay focused!  When nervous, Yellows have a tendency to be all over the place, trying to smooth everything over.  You will be the equivalent of a gnat on the tail of the horse in this situation.  Eventually, the Red will simply corner you and then “swat” you down and move on.  As a Yellow, you are going to need to not only be prepared, but be direct and firm.

Blue: Be brief and be seated.  My beautiful, loving wife is a Blue and I, being a firm Red, often pick with her when she is trying to explain something to me.  She loves to include every single solitary minute detail.  I usually tell her conversations are the equivalent of taking several connecting flights to get to the same destination.  As a Red, I want a direct flight.  So, with that said, unlike the Yellow, I know the Blues will have all of their facts together.  Unfortunately, by the time you go to “land the plane,” the Red would have already shot you out of the air with your own ammo.  Remember, Reds are decisive and manipulative.  Be brief, be direct, and be seated.  Attempt to leave them in the corner… speechless.

Lavenders: Where do I start?  If you are a Lavender, this is going to be a difficult session for you since the Red will attempt to bully you into submission.  They will try to talk over you, under you, and through you, anything to get you to stop and listen to them, console them and confess that you are wrong when, in fact, you are not.  I would strongly suggest having someone in the room with you to keep you on point and also to keep the Red from playing the schoolyard bully.

All in all, coaching a Red Personality can be done, it just takes a bit more resolve.  Also, after coaching a Red, you will have a better understanding of and appreciation of the fact that Christ was trained to be a carpenter.  So, get your chisel ready, roll up your sleeves and pray hard.

If you are wondering just how in the world you are going to get through this coaching session, I would strongly suggest reading the Direct Confrontation series.  Again, be prepared and be knowledgable or you just might end up like this clown….


Happy Coaching!



About the Writer:


Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.


One comment

  1. I must be a Red Personality – can’t stand too much beating around the bush. Will give someone with an honest difference of opinion and who genuinely wants to solve the problem between us, or at least is willing to consider a compromise, plenty of time to make their thoughts clear. But if the Red facing me has his/her hands around my throat, or is obviously trying to manipulate me instead of discussing the situation, I am apt to say something like: “Let me make clear for you how I see this conversation going. You’re not looking for a solution or even a compromise. You just don’t care for the way things are and want to change them out of hand. And so if you’ll pardon me, I’ve got something else I need to do. Thank you for your time today, and when you really want to knock these ideas around, make an appointment and come see me.” There’s little to be gained by spending time with those who aren’t looking for answers or ways to compromise a solution.

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