Case Study: Executive Coaching
Our client is a senior executive at a FTSE 100 global technology company. The executive was new to the role of overseeing the EMEA region.
The Key Issues
A senior executive was brought in to disrupt thinking and turn around a business unit that was flagging, but essential to the future plans of the organisation. Brought in because of expertise in a more agile and less traditional business with the remit to imbue their business unit with those values, the executive hit resistance because their pace of thinking and style of leadership alienated some and left behind others. The executive themselves felt the resistance, but found it confusing given their role was created to disrupt the business in order to better meet the organisations future ambitions.
Conflict between the executive and their team began to interfere with progress and profits, which contributed to unnecessary conflicts within the senior team.
The APS Services Provided
At the “something needed to change or someone needs to go” stage, the organisation came to APS to seek coaching for the executive. APS contracted to individual coaching with the addition of a series of consultations with direct reports and peers to establish a quicker response to coaching.
The senior executive coachee was, it’s fair to say, skeptical at best about receiving coaching and any possible efficacy. Initially, the coachee didn’t believe that any personal changes were necessary or beneficial – certainly for the perceived cost-benefit of personal change. They were very concerned that coaching made them look “weak”, “under-skilled” or “incompetent” and further, that there may be “leaks” of private and sensitive information from coaching sessions to his direct reports, peers and the global leadership.
We assured the client that APS Performance Coaching is not an exercise in personal indulgence or remedial, but rather is there to challenge and support as the individual coachee themselves uses their considerable intellect to become ever more capable. APS Performance Coaching builds an authentic relationship that provides a secure, but demanding environment, initially for some staunch and objective self-evaluation and then for specific, mutually agreed growth and personal development outcomes.
First, we set the ground rules for our engagement. The coachee was immediately comfortable knowing that the sessions were private and confidential, with only agreed information being shared at agreed times at some point in the future. A pragmatic self-assessment was undertaken to help the coachee see themselves more objectively and to highlight how they may be seen by those with whom they worked. This enabled us to create a sense of urgency and self-interest in swift and sustainable change.
Rapport was built very quickly over the first session – the coachee embraced the presence of a firm challenge to long-held personal narratives and the fact this was achieved with good humour and importantly, without confrontation. The core of a set of specific, positive outcomes were contracted along with an initial roadmap for success.
The seven coaching sessions occurred over six months through a combination of in-person and APS’ bespoke online portal that encourages ongoing thought and work on the challenges to be addressed between sessions. At the mid-point, approximately three months in – the coachee requested that we speak to the direct manager and head of the global business to help further resolve some of the communication challenges. A week after doing so, both the coachee and their manager reported a “new & positive relationship”.
Throughout the remainder of the sessions, steady progress continued to be made against the criteria outlined at the outset and the coachee, their peers and direct reports all reported different and specific ways the coaches was meeting and in many cases, exceeding their leadership expectations.
Upon exiting coaching, the client shared:
“I was very impressed with your ability to listen, process and play back what you hear. Credibility is important to me and I’m going to learn a lot more from you than ‘management training’.
You provide both a ‘toolkit’ which is important, however I can now see that ‘tips & tricks’ are only part of the full picture. I now know there are a set of mindsets that transcend all of that more tactical aspect, and now I am embracing that!”