Coaching Client Cath’s Confidence Success Story

Coaching Client Cath’s Confidence Success Story

Cath* is a returning client. Lucky me. I first coached her years ago as she was wanting to get a more senior role. She didn’t get the promotion in her organization while we worked together. She did get the higher role in another organization afterwards due to her perseverance and increasing confidence in interviewing.

Her Situation

She is the director of a quasi-NGO reporting to a board or panel of overseers. She had issues being clear in setting expectations and giving negative performance feedback so the panel authorized coaching for her. Like many people I work with, she struggled with having what most people call “difficult conversations.” Many people worry about giving “negative” feedback to others for fear of doing it wrong, hurting someone, making a mistake and facing emotions from the recipient that the leader couldn’t/didn’t want to handle.

Her Work

The coaching focused on three areas: her leadership style, her confidence and her focus.

1. Leadership Style:

• What is leadership? This seems like an obvious question and it’s the question I always start with no matter the coaching topic. Defining the topic is key to clarity. My definition of leadership is about motivating and empowering people to achieve your desired outcome.

• What is her leadership style? Most coachees struggle with this question as they find it hard to articulate. How do you motivate people, set direction and implement palns?

• What leaders does she admire? It’s always helpful to identify people that do what you want to do well. Observing others is a great way to learn what works well and what doesn’t.

2. Confidence:

• What is confidence? Clarifying the definition again.

• Remember a time you felt really confident, personally or professionally. Where do you feel that confident feeling in your body? Once you know what confidence feels like in your body you can recreate it when you need it.

• I challenged her to notice when she is or does good things and write them down. Specifically, everyday write down (yes, writing by hand to embed it) 3 things about yourself for which you are proud. This builds the confidence muscle just as reps in the gym build strong muscles.

3. Focus:

• What was her focus as a leader? Her focus was on her direct reports and how to engaged and empower them.

• Where did she want to start? She choose to start with being clearer with her direct reports in terms of her expectations about the work and how they do the work.

What did she need to do that? She needed training as she didn’t know how to give feedback. She hadn’t seen good role models of this. She hadn’t been trained on this despite holding a senior position. I gave her a copy of my book, Soft Skills HARD RESULTS, which explains how to give positive and construction feedback. This is a template that Cath used a lot for giving feedback using the COIN model, here. We role-played specific scenarios. She practiced with her staff between the coaching sessions, noticed the impact, tried again, all the time persevering through the discomfort.

Her Result

Near the end of the coaching, Cath informed me that her bosses might want some feedback from me about her progress. This is something as a coach I don’t do. The coachee’s progress is assessed by the coachee and the organization with me sometimes facilitating that discussion. What happens in the coaching is confidential. I would only say something if the coachee didn’t show up to the sessions, I was worried that they might be of harm to themselves or someone else or were engaging in something illegal.

She had her performance review in front of the board and my input was not required.

The performance of the organization over the last year (exceeding financial targets), the results of the external reviews (surpassing expectations) and how she was in her interactions with them (a confident leader) was a testament to her progress.

As one of them said, “How you are is all the evidence we need of the coaching working.”

 

Want your boss to rave about your performance?

Do difficult conversations worry you?

Do you want to feel more comfortable giving feedback?

Use this great template that Cath uses a lot for giving feedback, here, or get in touch to arrange your complimentary coaching session here. 

 

*name and identifying details have been changed to preserve client confidentiality

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Anne Taylor Directions Coaching

Directions Coaching Case Study – Coaching an Assertive and Intuitive-Driven Leader

Executive Coaching – Background

Anne Taylor worked with Jim* from a leading global consumer goods company to improve his leadership presence specifically around:

  • Imposing himself and being assertive when verbally communicating with senior management to influence and drive issues.
  • Being a more intuitive-driven thought leader rather than just a technical leader.

About Jim – A Senior Technical Leader

Jim is a scientist working in a demanding technical innovation role in Europe, the youngest among a small group of specialist peers. With his seniority and the heightened focus on his area of innovation, the organization wanted to support him to share his point of view more, adapting to their perspective, to convince and influence senior leaders to his course of action. He was great at connecting one-to-one and needed to extend this to group meetings and presentations. He also needed to be less technical in adapting his message to other senior audiences.

Executive Coaching Programme and Process

Jim engaged in a 12-month coaching programme with monthly sessions virtually. This allowed enough time between sessions to practice new behaviours and mindsets without going too long to lose momentum and not process the learnings.

Before the coaching, I held stakeholder interviews where I interviewed his boss, another senior leader, his peers and a couple of direct reports. This was to understand how he was perceived by others. Specifically, I needed to determine what they thought his strengths and weaknesses were, what might be the obstacles to his effectiveness, and where they think he should focus his development.

At the beginning of the coaching, we did a self-assessment on a scale of 1 to 10 for his two coaching goals, where 1 is ineffective and 10 is highly effective continuously.

During the coaching we worked on:

  • Defining his values and then how to understand others’ values to create connections and find commonalities.
  • Increasing his confidence beyond just his technical expertise.
  • Interrogating some of his beliefs, assumptions and language (especially towards himself).
  • Broadening his communication style to appeal to different audiences when needed.
  • Honing his interpersonal communication skills of giving feedback, being curious, and situation sensing.
  • Motivating and inspiring his team more through empowerment.

The result was positive feedback from the organization of his presence and impact, a promotion three-quarters of the way through the coaching and an increase of 166% of his assertive goal and 75% increase on his intuitive-driven leader goal.

In Jim’s and HR’s Words

“I feel more confident. I am proud of having grown as a leader in a short period of time. I have demonstrated my agility and my ability to try new things and adapt to a new environment. I now talk about what I believe rather than just what I know.”

From his HR business partner: “I have observed changes in Jim and find they are all related to a more ‘strengthened backbone.’ Jim is more challenging when he believes the leadership team doesn’t do the right thing. For example, he questioned why certain subjects were reviewed since he doesn’t see the added value. The colleagues were reluctant to change it (nobody wanted to move out of the comfort zone) but he insisted strongly on his point of view and seemed almost ‘aggressive’ (in a positive way). That was new! I can also see that his presence has become stronger. He is inherently a more introverted person but has demonstrated the past weeks/months that he can become more visible. Overall, I see a good development from coaching with Anne and I am confident he will succeed even more.”

This HR business partner has since referred me to another person in the organization based on the success.

Why I Loved this Executive Coaching Work

Working with an individual that is successful in his field and passionate about people is always enjoyable, and Jim’s journey to confidently owning his abilities and trusting his intuition has been an honour. Jim has a very empathetic nature and an awareness of other people’s feelings and situation (social awareness in emotional intelligence language) that was being side-lined at work due to the technical nature of his training and work. By leveraging this innate ability combined with his intelligence he’s an inspiration of a successful, emotionally intelligent leader.

Executive Coaching London – So What?

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, I worked virtually by phone and video from London and them being in North America, Europe, Asia and as far as Australia thereby being more efficient for my clients and being able to work together despite the distance. My clients tell me I have extensive experience in creating trust and safety despite the distance and technology.

Where could you benefit from developing your leadership impact and presence more?

Book a complimentary coaching session with me here to explore how you can increase your leadership effectiveness.

* Name has been changed to protect confidentiality