In our individual leadership coaching case study, our client, a global provider of information and marketing solutions, engaged us to solve a common problem. A high-profile senior executive, with significant internal and external responsibilities, was an over-achieving individual performer but an underperformer as a team player, inhibiting the performance of those who worked with, or for, him. He did well leading up, but failed leading across or down. His relationship with his immediate supervisor was contentious and there were concerns about retaining team members.
First, the executive needed to acknowledge his issues with delegation, communication and collaboration despite the fact that he was posting great results in sales and scoring high in customer satisfaction. After examining revealing feedback received from peers, subordinates and superiors handpicked by him, the executive agreed to a 12 month leadership coaching engagement. The objectives for the executive were to:
- Increase awareness of self by objectively reflecting on both his strengths and weaknesses
- Build stronger interpersonal and leadership skills
- Help him change negative behaviors by linking change to his capacity to more effectively meet his business goals
- Retain and engage him and his team
Our Cognitive Behavioral Learning Model is the foundation of our leadership coaching process. In our experience, this model yields superior results for several reasons and, most notably, helps individuals’ change often hard-wired behaviors. It starts with self-awareness; a clear understanding guided by objective assessments of who you are and what drives you. Then, once the individual understands the consequences (both positive and negative) of behaviors in a certain situation or event, he/she can practice the behaviors that lead to superior outcomes. By incorporating motivators, people can and will change behaviors that otherwise may have been considered immutable. Practice, guided by a trusted coach, is essential for the changes to “stick”. Therefore, we tailor each coaching engagement to the individual’s needs and, while timeframes will vary, the process measures progress against milestones over time to ensure that new behaviors are learned and sustained.
- Leader has changed his style and been promoted to contribute in a more meaningful capacity as a global leader
- Company did not lose a great strong performer or other team members who were impacted by the leader’s previous behavior
- Company has communicated a two-fold message: it supports development in people it believes in, but not at the expense of collaboration
- Using rigorous internal analytics based on proprietary business metrics, our client’s ROI exceeded 800% after 18 months of coaching
Keys to a Successful Project
In individual leadership coaching situations, the leader must be open-minded about coaching and willing to be appropriately vulnerable in order to test new more effective behaviors that yield better results. In order to allow the individual to practice new behaviors until they become innate, coaching requires time. Chemistry with the coach is also critical hence having a bench of coaches to interview and self-select is critical to the success of the coaching. In addition, the coaching needs to be:
- “Real-world” learning
- Flexible process
- Leverage assessment data
- Define metrics
- Link to business goals
- Post assessments
- Integrate with other development
- Incorporate company competencies
- Coach to cultural tenets
- Build from strengths
- Behavioral focus
- Incorporate stakeholders
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