Case Studies


Executive Coaching Engagement #1

Michael – Research Fellow & Senior Technologist

From Frustrated & Lacking Direction to Productive & Influential

Issues:

Michael, a research fellow and senior technologist at a top consumer product company has moved into a new category (product line). As the first senior technologist in this category with his particular skill set, he was struggling with his role.

  • As the most senior technologist in the group, he was not successfully collaborating with, motivating or influencing other senior technologists on shared projects.
  • His personal and family life was suffering due to routinely putting in 14 hour days. His own projects were progressing slowly as well.
  • His current work plan and relationships with management did not support his career goals. He aspired to an elite senior technologist position attained by only 1-1.5% of senior technologists.

Executive Coaching Tools & Approach:

Managing Up & Across (Building Relationships) and Influence/Strategic Messaging tools and processes helped Michael ask the right questions and take the right approach as he built relationships with other technologists and senior management.

  • As he discovered each technologist’s motivations, needs and aspirations, he put together win/win solutions to develop those partnerships. As part of his solution, he delegated certain tasks and work to less experienced senior technologists; contributing to their growth and development.
  • Michael proactively communicated with his direct (Director) and two-up manager (VP) to better understand their expectations. With their feedback he developed a strong work plan generating the big contributions supporting his career goals, if delivered.

Time Management Tool empowered Michael to streamline his work.

  • Instead of touching all projects in the category, he now only focuses on the items and tough technical challenges leveraging his specific skill set. He began delegating lower-level work to less experienced senior technologists; taking significant amounts of “hands on” work off his plate. He also negotiated with his manager to shift away work not supporting his career goals.

Outcomes:

  • Michael created interdependent partnerships and relationships with the three senior technologists. They enlist his support as they help and support each other to collectively drive programs forward. Now his educational background, training and technical knowledge is helping each individual and the group as a whole approach the work even more competitively.
  • His average work day dropped from 14 to 9 hours. He has more family time, energy, is happier and has begun working with a personal trainer.
  • His work plan supports his career aspirations and is in alignment with senior management’s expectations. His proactive communications also established a path of ongoing communications and stronger relationships with senior management.
  • His rating improved from average to above average.
  • His sphere of influence grew. He is now getting work done through other senior technologists, and has become the “go to” person in the category. He delegates to, coaches and mentors the less experienced senior technologists on challenging work.

 

Executive Coaching Engagement #2

Susan – Director

Low Executive Impact & Visibility to a Valued Contributor & Resource

Issues:

Susan had just transitioned into a new product category as a director at a top consumer product company. In her new role, her reputation and opportunities for advancement were negatively impacted as she became increasingly tentative in meetings that included the president.

  • As a newcomer, Susan felt intimidated by the other directors who had 15-20 years of experience in this highly competitive category.
  • According to feedback from the president she needed to improve her executive “presence” in meetings with him. When she could not answer a specific question she rambled (thinking “out loud”) and was not clear. As she lost confidence, her participation in those meetings dropped significantly.

Executive Coaching Tools & Approach:

  • 360 Feedback Assessment gave her credible feedback from key individuals who saw her interact in meetings with the president. She identified the new behaviors that would improve and strengthen her executive presence.
  • Address and Eliminate the Limiting Belief that her “short” time in the category meant that she did not have “the answers.” She was confident and highly competent in meetings where the president was not in attendance, proving she knew her program very well.
  • Leadership Presence Tool gave her the insights to put in place practices fostering a clear, poised and capable executive presence in meetings with the president. The practices included: (1) preparing beforehand the key 2-3 key messages that she wanted to deliver in the meeting; (2) learning how to default to the “strategic intent” if she did could not answer a question referring to “older” information; and (3) participating even when she was not the subject matter owner by asking strategic questions, paraphrasing, and offering help and advice.
  • Relationship Building and Strategic Messaging Tool informed her goals, questions and knowledge gaps, so she could start developing a strong relationship with the president. She set up the time to build that relationship and to better understand his needs and motivations.

Outcomes:

  • She has become a valued contributor in the eyes of the president. His feedback dramatically shifted from “I don’t know if I want her as VP on my team” to “I’d love to have her as VP on my team.” President visibly supports her in meetings and she is now on track for advancement to a VP position.
  • Improved self-confidence. She is more authentic in meetings with president. Her messages intentionally incorporate his needs and motivations while voicing hers.
  • The president uncovered a unique capability and asked her to leverage it more. When she does, he gives her strong visible support and credit in meetings and written communications, etc. He appreciates how her specific contribution moves the team forward.
  • One year later, Susan was advanced to Vice President.