Situation: A fifty-something executive promoted to Director of the Supply Chain team after having been a member of the team for four years. Transition from expert to leader.
Objectives: Become aware of how he operates and his image. Size up the challenges of his new position. Manage the conflict between feeling proud of the promotion and afraid of not measuring up to the task. Hone his leadership skills and establish his legitimacy in the eyes of his former fellow team members. Build a relationship of trust with his new line manager, who is based abroad. Develop his ability to think in terms of policy and strategy.
Outcomes: Greater confidence and peace of mind. Has a grip on his “imposter syndrome”. Brought in a roadmap with a sound balance of observation and learning, with a few quick wins. Reorganised the team and effectively managed a disruptive former fellow team member. Visited international company heads to forge relationships with them and gain a better understanding of their expectations. Took the initiative of arranging weekly phone meetings with his line manager.
Performance coaching of a partner in a consulting firm
Situation: The partner was appointed manager of the firm’s flagship project: the development of a new line of online services. The project team is distributed over several countries and reports only functionally to the partner.
Objectives: Step back and take a wide-angle view of the project to identify the priorities. Think about how to lead and motivate a cross-functional, global team. Learn to trust others and not do everything himself. Manage the pressure generated by the project’s importance and visibility. Overcome his desire to please everybody and the difficulty he has making decisions.
Outcomes: A clearer strategic vision of the project and an understanding of the change factors he can call into play. More efficient use of his time, with more delegation. Optimisation of the team’s resources and stakeholder empowerment, making greater use of collective intelligence. Greater willingness to take risks and better decision-making. Better control over his stress and emotions. More effective communication skills.
Transition coaching of a global group’s Director of Operations
Situation: 45-year-old executive loses his job after a 20-year career in the organisation, following a redundancy plan
Objectives: Manage the anger and fear generated by his situation so that he can get over the break and move on. Manage his energy and motivation during the transitional period. Draw up a new career project based on his aspirations and talents, and the market openings. Draw up a job search and networking strategy. Hone his communication.
Outcomes: Realised he wanted to work in a small organisation with a global vision and the ability to contribute to the company’s strategy and development. Identified his entrepreneurial skills. Was taken on as the second-in-charge of an SME in the renewable energy field. Viewed the transition phase as an opportunity for change and personal development.
Cross-cultural coaching of an American CEO of a major industrial group’s French subsidiary
Situation: A Paris-based American CEO leading a primarily French team that is staunchly opposed to the CEO’s intended changes. Major communication problems between the CEO and his team.
Objectives: Gain a better understanding of the impact of culture on the situation. Learn how to interpret the cultural aspects and acquire the key cross-cultural skills needed to interact effectively with his team.
Outcomes: A better understanding of his management style, the way he communicates and his cultural preconceptions. A ability to decode cultural markers (relationship to line management, to the group, to rules, to time, to uncertainty).A change in the way he communicates with the team: greater willingness to listen to others, a less direct communication style and special care over his non-verbal language. Solutions were brought in to help the manager enjoy the benefits of the cultural differences rather than endure them.
Coaching of a recently-promoted female senior executive who now sits on the ExCom of a company in the pharmaceutical sector
Situation: A 40-year-old senior executive with two very young children, promoted to her company’s ExCom. The only woman on the ExCom. Was having difficulty being accepted and listened to by the other members of the ExCom.
Objectives: Gain self-assurance, overcome her fear of not measuring up to the task, and assert herself on the ExCom. Increase her impact and raise her profile. Showcase her skills and achievements. Hone her ability to play boardroom politics and wield influence. Strike a better work/life balance.
Outcomes: Identified her specific leadership style and its assets. Learnt to manage her inhibiting beliefs. Joined a network of senior executives in the pharmaceutical industry to expand her network and raise her profile. Assumed the leadership of a working group on the strategy of one of the company’s divisions. Successfully applied to work from home for one day a week.