Case Studies

Executive Coaching/Leadership Development

The owner of a $150 million construction/architectural /engineering firm, engaged us to work with the 13 senior leaders in preparation for organizational restructuring and new leadership assignments. We began with 360 assessment and in depth personality profiles. Recommendations were made for matching individuals to the appropriate business unit. Comprehensive development plans were created for each individual and implemented through one-on-one coaching programs. As a result, individuals are more aware of their developmental blind spots and are more effective leaders.

The new Vice-President of Planning and Distribution for a large department store chain received feedback from her boss (the Chairman and CEO) and her peers that she lacked the necessary relationship building skills to form essential partnerships. Jane, was coming in at 4:30 am and staying until long after her direct reports had left each day. She was mired in detail and looking for what wasn't working in the organization. She was having difficulty for the first time in her successful career in fitting into the corporate culture.

We took a hard look at her purpose and what she really wanted. We formulated strategies for better time management, more life balance, and began to look for what was working-with her peers and direct reports. Jane polled former co-workers with whom she had strong relationships and discovered that her strong suit had been sharing information. She began to purposefully share information with peers and take responsibility for getting to know them on a personal basis.

A year later, after reducing her work hours to a more manageable 45-50 per week and focusing on building partnerships, her performance scores increased. When asked the most important lesson she had learned in the year, Jane said, "Being right isn't enough. You have to learn to influence outcomes through better relationships."

Alex, a young senior consultant, at a consulting firm was hoping to be promoted to manager within the next year. She received feedback that she had excellent analytical skills, but she needed greater presence, stronger communication and team skills, and better relationship building skills if she wanted to make it to manager.

Some of the feedback Alex had received was inaccurate and highly critical and served to undermine her confidence in herself. We prioritized and formulated plans for leveraging her strengths and addressing the top 2 developmental areas.

Within a short time, Alex became more assertive in sharing her opinions. She made a concerted effort to get to know team members on a personal basis quickly. She improved the clarity of her communication and worked to develop team effectiveness skills. Within a year, Alex received a promotion to manager along with a vote of confidence and congratulations on her improvement. 

Manager Training

The Ministry of Education of Singapore wanted their principals and assistant principals to be able to coach their heads of departments as part of their new Employee Development Process. We designed an experiential workshop that gave them the "how to" for implementing their new process. All 200 leaders went through our three day coaching skills workshop and improved their ability to effectively deliver feedback during the annual and semi-annual review conversations. In addition, they developed skill in conducting coaching conversations on an ongoing basis and were able to see marked improvement in their ability to develop their emerging leaders.

The Leadership Team of a large hospital wanted to kick off a three day leadership conference with a half day experiential coaching skills training workshop for its 65 members. We used the "learning laboratory" of golf to teach them to learn to ask questions to improve another's performance and to practice raising awareness and facilitating learning. As a result these leaders are more able to empower others and less likely to just "tell" their direct reports what they want done and how to do it.

A large telecommunications company requested coaching skills training for over 800 senior-mid level managers, as part of a company-wide leadership development program. The individuals received 360 degree feedback on their performance as managers and learned coaching skills using the "Inner Game" approach of Tim Gallwey, with tennis as a learning laboratory. The results were so convincing that an additional 400 managers completed the program.

A global beverage corporation conducted a five-day leadership workshop for 350 financial managers. Participants were charged with helping to achieve the company's goal of doubling its size by developing talent from within, using coaching. Innovative experiential design enabled participants to complete the workshop with a high level of coaching skill.

An international manufacturing company wanted to improve the communication skills of the corporate senior team and the management teams of its three largest plants in the US. These teams all learned dialogue skills and worked through some tough interpersonal issues on an individual basis. They also moved significant team issues forward and have continued to bring dialogue skills training to all levels of their plants. As a result, meetings have become more productive and communication more respectful, even between team members from different plants.

An international document management company wanted to train 500 managers to be more effective at coaching and giving feedback as a result of a 360 assessment. A customized two-day workshop provided them with practice and skill development which resulted in statistically significant changes when the assessment was re-administered. Please click the link below to read a short article describing the process and the findings.

From the Field-Partnership Coaching at Xerox Article published with permission from Pegasus Communications, Leverage-News and Ideas for the Organizational Learner, April 13, 1998, No. 7 

Team Development

The Market Research and Trends group of a global beverage company need to have a clear picture of what the strengths and areas for development of each of their 53 members. We created a customized 360 degree instrument to assess them individually and as team members. As a result, individuals were able to write thoughtful development plans as part of the performance management process. Teams were able to formulate sound strategies for improving team effectiveness.

The Senior Leadership Team of an international non-profit foundation was "stuck" and unable to move forward. After a thorough assessment to discover the underlying systems and structures that were preventing their progress, this team received coaching to help them learn tools for conflict resolution and creating alignment. They were able to make decisions about a new structure for the team and ensure a smooth transition when their leadership changed.

The new leader of the Dispute Avoidance and Resolution team of a construction project management corporation was charged with energizing the team members and creating a more robust sales effort. A customized two-day workshop helped team members identify their work styles, strengths, and areas for development. Through a careful process of building trust, the team members were able to create alignment around a new vision and agree on strategies to reach it.