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

Corporate Coaching and the Coaching Triangle

Corporate Coaching and the Coaching Triangle

A recent client highlighted the opportunity and issues of The Coaching Triangle. The triangle is the relationship between the client, the organization and the coach. When coaching in an organization the company hires a coach, usually after the client has had a chemistry session to ensure they and the coach can work well together, for a specific coaching goal or objective.

The opportunity is that the client gets personal coaching to help them develop and grow. The issue is that sometimes the client is not aligned (or worse yet, not aware) of the organization’s objective for the coaching.

My client was not really sure of the coaching goal. The coaching had been offered to help him improve a relationship with someone in head office which was light compared to what I had been told. I had to explain to the client the broader goal for the coaching that his boss had shared with me. The broader goal was that he needed to balance HOW he got things done, not just focussing on WHAT got done. This was with many people in the organization not just those in head office.

The organization didn’t want to explain the goal to the client (a symptom of why there are issues) which raises more systems’ coaching opportunities – which is a whole other area.

Once the client heard the goal, he disagreed with it. He believed, with the exception of the one person in head office, he received very positive feedback on communication, teamwork and engagement. He could provide evidence of such on a recent project.

Part of the coaching then becomes helping the client understand the goal – whether that’s how to talk to their manager or HR, whether we do a 3-way meeting of me, the client and the organization, whether they seek input from others through 360 or other tool. If the client doesn’t accept the goal it then becomes coaching around accepting the goal regardless, what success looks like with or without buy-in to the goal or working on what they feel they want and see if that has an impact that’s acceptable to the organization.

What triangle are you operating within that would be improved with a discussion?

Stay tuned for how this develops.

No Obligation Phone Call

No Obligation Phone Call

A former client contacted me last month to ask about hiring me for coaching support. He is a contractor working in an interim position and was struggling with his ability to impact the organization in the way he wanted and in the way they had hired him to do.

This situation he was working in was quite different to what was communicated when he was brought on board – the budget was not within his department but held by an executive in another division, there was only one direct report on the “team”, and a senior leader in the organization openly criticized my client’s area of responsibility.

After many months of trying to make a difference my client wanted support in figuring out what to do, and contacted me for coaching advice. I replied that I was more than happy to have a discussion to see what coaching was needed and what commitment that would be, as I provide a no obligation phone call to offer advice to all potential clients. Given it was December and we had different holidays schedules I emailed some preparation work in advance of our discussion which we agreed would be in the New Year. The preparation work included thinking about the goals for the coaching, for his work this year, for the organization with which he was contracted and for himself as a person.

Before our discussion I received the preparation work – it clearly identified all the goals and in doing so had in fact answered some of the questions he had. I then asked a few more questions about those goals relative to his values (which I knew from working with him previously and which had come through his initial contacting email in his frustration with the situation).

A couple of days before our call I received another email stating clearly what he wanted for himself relative to the contract position and the steps he wanted to discuss to get there. Our call lasted 45 minutes during which we talked about how he’d feel executing what he had written to me, what the steps were to get it, brainstormed potential consequences and hence alternative actions, reviewed timing and secured commitment to himself. The last 5 minutes I spent saying I didn’t think an on-going coaching program was necessary. He was surprised at first and realized he didn’t need anything more than what he had already done in preparation for this discussion and with what he had just refined on the phone. Done.

In terms of my business some could argue this was a bad process as I “emailed” myself out of work. And I’m ok with that; my focus is on getting people to be aware of themselves and make conscious choices, equipping themselves to continue to live that way. I may not have “made any money” – I didn’t charge as we had agreed just to have a no-obligation discussion and it was a former client – and I’m sure karma will kick in somewhere down the line.

He’s in the process of executing his plan and is convinced it is the right thing for him, and he has some new potential work that is more aligned to his values.

What would you have greater clarity about if you spent some time just thinking about what you wanted more of in your job, business or life?

Vice President in IT

Vice President in IT

Coached Vice President in IT organization for 6 months to productively and efficiently lead his unit through a massive restructuring. Resulted in him being able to balance the firefighting required with so many changes and being a visionary, inspiring leader for his team. He continues to advance within the company.

Anne Taylor is a successful Canadian life and executive coach in London, practising at Directions Coaching. For a chat about coaching, please call Anne Taylor on 02031516830.

Female Executive

Female Executive

Coached female high potential manager for 8 months to support this leader to increase her ability to influence others within a matrix organization and improve her personal networking skills across the business. Resulted in a lateral move that later led to a promotion to the management committee of an ‘entrepreneurial’ high profile unit.

Anne Taylor is a successful Canadian life and executive coach in London, practising at Directions Coaching. For a chat about coaching, please call Anne Taylor on 02031516830.