Privately, I affectionately refer to people like Phil as “lunkheads,” and sure, some of them do have a small dark side like the rest of us, – but still, they’re mostly decent people who’ve embraced their “character,” and are usually just looking to play out the string.
Phil liked me enough to go farther down the road with the process than everyone expected, but he really had no clue, probably realized at some level that he had no clue, but just wasn’t that motivated to get a clue. Since he saw himself as not meaning to harm anybody, he resisted knowing that some of the way he was did cause harm – especially since some of his critics could be nastier than Phil ever knew how to be.
I’m sure if we measured Phil’s emotional intelligence it would turn out to be low, but I suspect his actual IQ hovers in the normal range. The invitation to be more emotionally intelligent isn’t all that welcome to Phil, basically because it might subvert the “Phil character” he’s playing.
Very long story short: Phil obviously wouldn’t sit still for Coaching, as management had hoped, but I did manage to talk him into getting a comprehensive physical checkup. The result was heart medication to address plaque in his arteries, a smoking cessation program, and a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes.
When I last saw him he was 15 pounds thinner, but he looked sadder, not very energized, and even though he smiled at me, and said “thanks” again, I couldn’t fight off the feeling that I’d “helped” his workplace more than I’d helped Phil.