It’s easy to relegate “people development” to a low priority. After all, operating the business and creating value are urgent needs that demand our attention. There’s rarely a deadline around developing people… until it’s too late.
1. New hire into the company
Not feeling like this culture matched her values; how to figure out the right spot for her where her values and the company’s could align
What we did
- Identified her own values and aspirations
- Looked at whether those could be met within a different function in the company; supported her to make the move
- Acknowledged how she could meet her aspirations through external activities, and how taking part in those would give her the energy to be at her best in work
- She found her niche in the company, serving societal needs, and felt motivated to create processes that underpinned the success of her function.
- By leaving work on time for her extra-curricula activities, she modelled boundary-setting for her team members and boss, who started to adopt similar strategies of self-care.
- She remained with the company for 9 years, saving the company re-recruitment/training costs of approx. £250,000, increasing the reputation of the organisation as a place that changed the way the world works and lives, and increasing the skills and engagement of employees on the programme.
2. New Managing Director
Which behaviours to continue that had made him successful in the past, what to jettison and what to adapt, in order to be a successful MD
What we did
- Identified people who could give him direction about what would make him a successful Managing Director, compared to a successful Senior Manager
- Looked at the balance of value creator, business operator and people developer, and where he needed to focus more of his time at this new level
- Found ways to meet all of the new operational responsibilities, without taking away from his client relationships and sales successes
He closed a £1 million sale. As a result, he was tapped on the shoulder to take on a new role of broader scope and scale. He was well-respected in the business at this new MD level. People asked to work for him, owing to his attention to their development needs.
3. Senior Manager up for promotion to Managing Director
- Approaching a critical and challenging promotion point in the consulting career ladder from Senior Manager to Managing Director, in the Strategy Practice of a Big 4 Consulting Firm; which requires candidates to demonstrate their leadership potential, operational rigour, and sales capability. This process takes place on a global scale and is highly competitive.
What we did
- Identified the critical success factors for promotion, alongside a stakeholder map for her campaign.
- Focused our coaching on key metrics including sales pipeline and sales delivered, leadership impact and followership, mentoring others, offering development; and ensured that she used her time effectively, especially as she is a part-time worker
- Looked at creative ways to tell her story through visual images, whilst still demonstrating the essential business results
- Moved her mindset from being a candidate to being a Managing Director in everything she did
- She was successfully promoted to Managing Director, having demonstrated a good mix of people development, value creation and business operations outcomes, and is well-regarded in her part of the business.
- This translated into a personal financial impact of doubling her earning potential over a 5 year-period.
- For the business, her promotion from Senior Manager to Managing Director has meant that she is now bringing in five times the sales numbers, leveraging teams of 10+.
- Following a strong first two years as a Managing Director, she has now gone on to lead her practice of thirty people, and is up for promotion to the next level of Managing Director.
- She is a role model for other women in business, encouraging women and men returners to find their right balance. She champions the working parent diversity initiative within the firm, and has just been nominated for the Timewise Power Part Time Awards.
4. Country Managing Director moving to a regional Managing Director role
How to make a good impression on all his stakeholders in his first 90 days; how to help his family to embrace the move to a new country.
What we did
- Identified who the stakeholders were, and created a plan to establish their expectations. Identified his own needs and expectations too
- Prioritised actions to meet the needs of all stakeholders, including himself and his family
- Worked the plan, and identified obstacles that needed tackling along the way
He was able to overcome his own self-doubts to bring operational efficiencies to the region, while also enabling his leadership team to become more self-sufficient. In addition, he uncovered what kind of work he personally wanted to lead, and spear-headed an innovative community programme in partnership with a university. He also supported his family to enjoy their new surroundings. Two years later, he returned to the UK to a high profile strategic role, having proved himself more than capable.
5. Chief Operating Officer wanting to develop as a leader
How to develop his own leadership capabilities to enable the senior management team to take on more responsibilities to take the organisation further.
What we did
- Clarified the expectations of his stakeholders, regarding his role and responsibilities, and his goals for the year
- Identified everything on his plate, and what/how he could delegate some of that work to grow the senior managers and to free his time to take on more strategic work
- Figured out how he could authentically lead, chair meetings, delegate, give feedback, manage performance
He became very aware of his blind spots around leading others and challenged himself to develop these skills. He developed the capacity of the senior management team to lead their teams to collectively achieve the vision of the organisation. This freed up his time for more strategic priorities, commensurate with his pay-grade. This saved the organisation an estimated £30,000 in salary costs. He achieved more in six months than he had originally planned to accomplish in nine months, another estimated £30,000 saving, and was then able to focus on a new growth curve for himself and the business.
6. Management committee member who needed to temper her emotions
Managing her emotional outbursts, for the benefit of her relationships with her team and her peers.
What we did
- Identified the pressure points that caused the emotional flare-ups.
- Used a number of pictorial methods to help her to see what was going on, and to reframe.
- Worked on and followed through a plan for each of these pressure points.
- These actions also addressed three other goals that she wanted to focus on – prioritization, procrastination and collaboration.
According to her boss, she had matured in her interactions with her team and her peers, as demonstrated:
- Instead of remaining frustrated and annoyed with a team member for under-performance, she made the decision to commence a performance improvement plan. She managed this with integrity and compassion.
- She also made a decision to swap the roles of two team members, each of whom would be a better fit for the others’ role. This addressed a performance issue in one case and a motivational issue in the other, and saved her at least 6 weeks of frustration trying to figure out the way forward. We estimate the 6 weeks time saving equates to a £14,000 cost saving; not to mention the higher motivation and productivity the job swap led to; and savings in re-recruitment costs of £500,000.
Her boss saw this as an investment in her future at the company, allowing her to be authentic, balancing her strong convictions with an adult way of conducting herself.
1. Team coaching for senior learning and development team with a new leader
The team’s issue
Working with the new leader; increasing their impact on the performance of the business at a time of uncertainty about job security
What we did
- Built trust and the ability to be open with each other about what was working and what was not
- Identified their conflict management styles and how these helped and hindered their effectiveness
- Increased certainty about commitments in meetings
- Created a common sense of purpose and team principles
The team supported and challenged each other to achieve large-scale global learning transformation for the business.
Reflections – this was just one piece of the team coaching “puzzle”, focusing on the team’s internal processes. Looking back, we didn’t tackle areas such as looking outwards to what their stakeholders needed of them; or looking at how the future of learning needed to be addressed in their activities today.
2. Team coaching for a team that wanted to change behaviours
The team’s issue
The team had been affected by unethical management behaviour, and wanted to move out of the shadow of that into a more productive and fulfilling way of working
There were issues of trust – in the organisation and between the team members; a temptation to blame; paranoia about making mistakes; recording everything in writing; and other behaviours that were adopted as a protection mechanism during the period when the Senior Manager was part of the team.
Indicators of success for this piece of work with this team would be when they could:
· take risks that might lead to mistakes
· support and challenge each other constructively
· have a solutions-focus
· bounce back – acknowledging what they had achieved under difficult circumstances and feeling equipped to be resilient moving forwards
What we did
· Interviewed the 18 team members about their needs and desires for the team; observed a team meeting and office interactions to see the team dynamics in play
· Designed a team coaching programme, that met the needs of the individuals and the collective
- Acknowledged strengths and working styles of individuals and the team
- Captured the lessons learned from the recent events
- Shared what support team members do
- Created communication processes
- Built skills of
- Giving and receiving feedback
- Proactively recommending actions, and putting forward counter-arguments to others’ recommendations
- Making decisions for your level of responsibility; knowing when to report risks
- Holding transformational meetings that enable team members to join the dots, and solve problems together
- Reconvened after 6 months to build on their progress to create a centre of excellence
- Provided 1-1 coaching for some of the team members, who were high performers and/or searching for their own way forward
The team has left the past behind them, and made progress around the interpersonal skills, which we needed to start with to get set up for the next stage of team coaching. They then worked on innovation – one element of the centre of excellence. The team leads set clearer boundaries for their people and held them accountable for results. Their increased collaboration led to cost savings of approximately £100,000.
3. Team wanting to raise their game
The team’s issue
Envisioning the future for their business growth
What we did
- Articulated the team’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, taking into consideration all their stakeholders
- Created their future vision for the organisation
- Defined their most important priorities to get from where they were today to that future vision
The business grew; the team members’ engagement levels increased; other business units took their lead and worked on their own vision and plan, creating alignment and growth across the business.
1. A senior manager in a restructure
He wanted to support his team through a re-structure, when he himself was leaving.
What we did
- The group asked him questions that enabled him to identify what was really important to him about supporting his staff in this time of change
- They helped him to normalise his feelings of betrayal at leaving his team behind
- They supported him to figure out what to do next
- In the debrief, we acknowledged the importance of recognising an individual’s feelings, even when those feelings might seem illogical from the outside
- Four weeks later, he stated that the action learning helped him to see what was really going on for him
- He had been able to run workshops to support his team members and others to state their own needs and put their best foot forward in this time of change
- He had worked out what he must complete during his final weeks, and what could drop
- He had identified how to make a good ending, psychologically
- His commitment to his team’s wellbeing meant that individuals and the business could thrive.
2. A manager in a sales role
She wanted to build a better relationship with a client
What we did
- The group asked questions that helped her to identify why this relationship was important
- Following her train of thought, they then probed to get her to outline the obstacles that were preventing the relationship from flourishing
- She continued to work out what she could try out with her client, to get over these obstacles
- She committed to several actions
- In the debrief, the group recognised that they wanted to give advice, but that the individual came up with some of the ideas for herself, which meant she would more likely follow through on them; and she came up with other ideas that were very relevant to her in her context, that they had not come up with – so she ended up with more ideas that fitted her situation
When we next met, she told the group that the relationship felt better and her efforts had led to some additional work to the value of £24,000. This had a cyclical effect on her improved relationship with her client.
3. A stuck Managing Director
She wanted to think creatively about an element of her project that she was stuck on
What we did
- The group listened as she got clear for herself about the scope of the issue
- One of the group encouraged her to start drawing. This opened up an exploration that she hadn’t expected. She quickly got some new ideas and decided on her next steps
- In review, the group discussed the power of drawing and how they might apply it in meetings back in the workplace
She took her recommendations to her steering committee and her refined picture generated even more ideas that were good for employees and good for business. She felt more confident about herself and her contributions. She estimated that action learning saved her 6 weeks of stuckness, a cost-saving equivalent of £14,000.
Building a Coaching Culture
The old command and control approach had suppressed independent critical thinking of employees; and ceased to engage hearts and minds.
“Employees with ‘conversation gaps’ on career topics are 280% more likely to say they intend leave a company.” Career Innovation
“Managers’ Inability to Coach Is the Most Severe Performance Management Challenge” Bersin & Associates
“Coaching has a 2x greater impact on business results (productivity, engagement, etc.) vs. paying for performance.” Bersin & Associates
“Training alone gives 20% change in behaviour, while training plus coaching leads to an 88% change in behaviour.” Olivero and Bane
Vision: “Executive coaching and a coach-approach to leadership transform the company’s growth, by developing the world’s best talent for our clients, ourselves, and each other”
What we did
- Provided executive coaching, coaching supervision and action learning to all levels, including Managing Directors. Raised engagement and performance levels; lowered attrition levels.
- Set up and provided thought leadership and development for coaching community of practice.
- Wrote a blog for people developers, majoring in coaching, with 11,000+ followers. The 30 Day Challenge, propagated through the blog, won the Unlimited Human Potential M-Prize for innovation in management development.
- Designed and facilitated Individualised Leadership Program (using action learning), which won Brandon Hall Excellence Award, Best in Coaching and Mentoring.
- Provided subject matter expertise for manager as coach training.
- Designed and delivered coaching programme for HR (course, followed by action learning).
- Formulated business case to create internal coaching function to provide coaching across the organisation.
- Business results aligned with the growth strategy, including increased sales and cost reductions
- Retention of engaged and productive high performers, leading the organisation into the future
- Reduced cost of coaching
- Increase in promotion ready candidates
- An understanding of the obstacles in the system that get in high performers’ way, that needed to be addressed at the organisational level
- A ripple effect, leading to a coaching culture that engages people to perform at their best
- Deeper trusted personal networks across the organisation for people to call on; and people’s performance is connected to the quality of relationships
- Enhanced customer satisfaction.
If you are looking for outcomes like these, contact us to talk about your – or your organisation’s – transition and leadership struggles and how coaching could support you in working through those.