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Case Studies

Impact in the Boardroom

Newly appointed development director | Pharmaceuticals

A tough minded forthright client in a big commercial role was promoted on to the operating Board. Much to his surprise his impact and ability to get his voice heard at the Board table was significantly less than he was used to. He began to lose confidence on the one hand and overuse his forthright style on the other, exacerbating the situation. He felt very isolated and did not know who to ask for help, in what felt like quite an unwelcoming environment. This was the first time in his career he had felt this way.

The coaching helped him to read the underlying Boardroom dynamics of his colleagues quickly, understand his own reactions under pressure and his default communication styles. He learned to partner in subtle and sophisticated ways with his Board peers. He ended up being the ‘go to’ person for many of them.

Overcoming the confidence trap

Managing Director | Financial services

Many senior leaders face small pockets where they lack confidence. For successful, bright people these pockets of confidence lack can be very confronting. Senior clients can find themselves inadvertently stuck in these confidence traps. At a certain level of experience and seniority, admitting to these confidence issues is tricky.

A senior level person at a large financial institution found himself in this situation. He was highly regarded in his area of expertise and now found himself having to lead on a wider scale in a very uncertain trading environment. There were many political agendas in play due to the high levels of organisational change.

The coaching helped this client shift the locus of control so that how he felt during the working day was less influenced by others. He learned to take his authority more effectively and inspire and engage a broad stakeholder community. He created a new leadership agenda for himself. This got him noticed by the Group Board and a promotion followed as a result.

Developing leadership authority

Market Research Director | Consumer goods

A highly emotionally intelligent marketing director was struggling to establish her authority with colleagues, especiallly her boss. She found that she did not speak up enough to share her views, particularly at the big team meetings where there were some really dominant characters.

Her boss sometimes took key decisions that impacted her area without proper discussion with her. She was highly thought of as a professional but was so tuned in to everyone else’s emotional agenda that she ended up neglecting her own needs.

In coaching, she learned why it was that she tended to put others views ahead of her own. She learned to tap in to her own sense of authority and became highly aware of where and how she could undermine herself. She developed a much more assertive presence without losing any of her natural ability to tune in to others. She began to truly take her authority as a result of the coaching work, challenge others appropriately and get her voice heard. She became much more impactful in her role and established herself as part of the leadership future of the business.

Managing intensity

Divisional CEO | Engineering Company

An exceptionally bright, results orientated commercial leader found that he was receiving feedback that suggested he could be too intimidating and micro-managing of his team. His superior found him somewhat inflexible.

He always delivered the business results that he was tasked with in a very challenging and mature market. He was asked to come into coaching to help him.

Although resistant at first to the idea, he quickly came to learn how others might experience him along with what were the particular triggers that set off the intense responses he had towards others. He learned to leverage the task energy and deploy it in a much more skilful and subtle way, such that he motivated and inspired rather than ground people down or sent them running for cover. Much to his surprise business performance increased, whilst from his perspective his driving task energy reduced. His boss began to experience him as more flexible and reasonable.

Overcoming overwhelm

MD | Banking

‘Drinking from a fire hydrant’ was the way this client described this new role leading a large efficiency project in addition to his day job. He was struggling to set clear priorities and focus on them with so much to deliver in an incredibly short time frame. His superior was in a global role and rarely there. He was loving the challenge of the role but was unable to switch off and not sure he was always focusing on the right things.

The coaching helped the client to put some clear structure around his thinking, look carefully at resources, highlight priorities and how he could use others better to help them deliver. There was an element of managing his own emotions in order to stay better focused.

He learned what ruthless focus looked like for him and how to get into that mindset. He became calmer and more assertive and better at managing the boundaries around tasks. He developed much more effective delegation styles and stakeholder engagement. He ended up with pure thinking space in the day as opposed to literally running between meetings.

Dialling up emotional resilience

Retail Director | Sports sector

This individual was working in a division where there had been successive rounds of headcount cuts. All members of the team were having to deliver the results with less resource. A new CEO not known for their emotional intelligence had taken over and was driving hard for increased delivery without much encouragement or thanks.

This client was experiencing low energy and low motivation and a real sense of frustration. She came into coaching looking to find ways of recovering her motivation and focus.

The coaching helped her to really understand what was important to her, where she got her motivation at work, what drained her energy in the work context and what sustained it. She worked on strategies to become more assertive, push back and say no to certain demands even when that felt difficult.