A CEO of a major retail organisation was not able to get the best out of his management team. He had to do all the hard work while his team was just waiting for him to call the shots and excecute his orders. How could he improve his style to get more out of his team?
This CEO had adapted a very directive leadership style and was scaring the heck out of his team with his words and physical behavior (shouting and slamming doors). I worked with his team to increase their readiness level, make them stronger, more collaborative and more pro-active. They were better able to address the needs and wants of the CEO and act accordingly. At the same time I worked with the CEO on his leadership style. The result was that the needs and wants of both the CEO and the individual team members were clarified and expressed clearly. They are now collaborating in a mature manner and focus not only on the content but also on the process.
The Marketing Director of a world famous brewery company was relocated from the US to Europe and had to assemble a brand new marketing team. He wanted to be coached on creating a compelling 'Teaching Point of View' while setting up his diverse (9 different nationalities) team.
I coached him on writing the story of his 'Leadership Journey' so that he could clearly communicate where he came from and what his ambitions were. He could clearly express what he was expecting from his team and what he could offer them in return. He transformed from being 'the Marketing Star who got things done' into 'the leader who helped his people to become Stars who get things done'.
The HR Vice-President of a US based company had gone from being obnoxious to plainly intolarable. He had the rare ability to piss everyone off who crossed his path. The CEO had to act and asked me if I could help straighten him out. The only reason the VP was still on board was because of his very long and very successful track record. He just knew too much about too many things.
I started working with the VP by establishing the fact that he was disliked by many and asked him why he was so keen on maintaining that image. Because he knew so much and had so much experience everyone else seemed like amateurs. He judged people on their lack of knowledge, experience and brain power. He was the smartest kid on the block and everybody should know about this. They were so stupid as to not recognise the genius that he was...
I coached him on his view of the world, his ego and his contribution to the company and its people. What would he like to be his legacy? What would he like to be known for? Could he help his people to become more knowlegdable, more experienced by supporting them in stead of scaring the living daylights out of them? He came to understand that his frustrations, expectations and emotions were his responsibility and not that of others. He accepted that his views and behaviours were the result of his thinking and he alone was responsible for that. He started to change, became more supportive, less obnoxious and sometimes even kind of friendly. It took a while for others to accept the new and improved version, but I arranged for peers and subordinates to be part of the transition and to offer feedback wherever and whenever it was neccesary. A year later he even seemed to have become a 'jolly good fellow'. He did all the hard work because he really wanted to change. I was just there to support him on his journey by kicking his ass every now and then.
I was called in by the HR manager of a CFO I coached a couple of years ago. Back then I had successfully coached him on his leadership style. This CFO was now faced with a potentially life threatening disease and the prospects were grim. Altough it wasn't business related, he asked if I could coach him on dealing with this new situation because it effected both his professional and personal life.
All stages of grief mentioned in Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross 1969 book “On Death and Dying” were recognised and addressed. The conversations were intense and important as I coached him through this phase. We addressed his legacy both in his professional and personal domain. What would he liked to be known for? We also dealt with reality and answered the "what if.." questions. The CFO came to terms with his situation and was able to support his family, friends and colleagues in a very caring and loving manner.
A FEW THOUGHTS:
You never know what the exact outcomes may be of any coaching engagement. A few things I have learned as a coach is that after three sessions all coaching (whether executive-, life- or business coaching) becomes personal coaching. It's about you and your place in the world in this point in time. As a coach I help you, for a short time, navigate through your life's journey so you can continue your voyage with purpose, vision and clarity.