CASE STUDY #1: Derailing Behaviors
Many coaching engagements focus on developing an executive's weaker leadership skills, which might be derailing behaviors or blind spots. When an executive is open to learning about him/herself and changing behaviors, coaching can be a very powerful way to accelerate leadership development.
Recently, we worked with a client in a multinational manufacturing company who was looking to develop his leadership skills in order to be able to move up in the organization and be a serious contender for a C-Suite opportunity that was coming within the year.
We started our engagement with a 360 assessment of our client, and surveyed his key stakeholders (superior, peers and direct reports), covering 20+ individuals. The results indicated that he was widely respected for his executive presence, strategic thinking and customer focus, particularly among his peers; it also indicated that his direct reports felt that he did not have management skills that fostered teamwork, collaboration or alignment to a shared vision. In the 360 review session, the coach uncovered a primary derailing issue: the belief that without his constant supervision and direction, his team would not be able to make sound decisions.
We used both the 360 results and a behavioral work styles assessment on the executive to provide a baseline of his current management and leadership competencies. We reviewed the results together, and put together a six month coaching plan, including desired behavioral outcomes in three different competencies. Specific goals and actions were established to start the active coaching process.
The executive and his coach met biweekly to review progress against objectives. The coach engaged the executive through inquiry-based coaching discussions to uncover new ways forward, including different ways he might lead effectively and action-focused goals to make change and make progress incrementally. The differences between leading and managing employees were a crucial focus of the engagement.
At the end of the six month engagement, another 360 assessment was given to stakeholders. The results showed measurable progress in the targeted competencies. The executive himself stated that his key learning was in "learning to coach and mentor his team, giving them space to come to their own conclusions" which positively impacted collaboration, motivation, and ultimately business results.