Should he stay or should he go?
Mark’s team was consistently rating poorly in company surveys. Morale was low and turnover was over 20%. Complaints to HR mounted. As European controller in a global financial institution, he needed to turn his style around – fast. Senior management in the company suggested remedial coaching as a last ditch attempt.
After a year, stability had returned to the team. Feedback from Mark’s peers indicated a turnaround in his approach and his ability to connect. The team’s financial results were the third highest in that part of the organisation.
Context and characters
From the initial interviews it was clear that Mark was technically brilliant. But his ability to connect with others, cooperate with his peers and inspire his team was lacking. He couldn’t rise to the strategic perspective of leading.
Our goal was to increase Mark’s self-awareness and his ability to emotionally self-regulate, and transform his communication style.
After presenting the feedback I gathered in interviews, shadow coaching his team sessions, we set goals and defined tools for our coaching journey.
Most importantly it became clear to Mark that to enjoy any further growth – professionally and personally – he needed to closely examine his general life outlook and the underlying beliefs of other people’s capabilities and intentions.
Over 6 months of intense coaching, supporting calls, email interactions and surrounding him with reminders – new beliefs and behaviours began to emerge. We recruited some of Mark’s team as ‘guardians’ of his new style to embed the changes.
A year and a half on, Mark’s team’s survey results were the third highest in London. We repeated interviews with his team, peers and HR and the results showed his leadership approach was being transformed. He had improved his ability to connect and had a raft of appropriate responses for emotional and professional scenarios.
By feeling able to relinquish control and his inner perfectionist, he had made his team more effective and cohesive, and improved overall morale.
The story continues
Two years on, Mark left the company to lead a larger team in a tougher corporate culture. His improved communication skills and presence in the new role have produced positive financial results.
*Name has been changed for confidentiality