Our clients include senior level Asian-based MNCs and high-potential business leaders–male, female, Asian and Western.
Their aspirations are personal and professional: to further develop leadership skills, transition to a new internal or external role, manage interpersonal and organisational issues, adapt to a new corporate culture, and improve their organizational communication, behaviour and reputation.
Recent coaching case studies, 2013–2015
Requested by the AsiaPac President to work with the MD to change his “abrasive” behaviour. The MD resisted coaching, thinking it unnecessary, as his style had worked before (in Australia), but it was now marginalising him, and pressed by the AP Pres to change his behavior.
In our first meeting he outlined his irritation with his boss, underscoring his entrenched behavior. I documented a small segment of our first exchange, which you can read here.
We worked together for over 6 months, allowing him to change his more confrontational ways upward and downward. He relocated back to Australia, and the coaching engagement continued for another 2 months to ensure he moved into his new role confidently.
Before he returned, I asked if the coaching has helped thus far, and his reply was, “A million times it’s helped. I could not have gotten through this phase of my life and work otherwise.”
Requested by HR to meet with a high potential contributor, management was concerned she was considering leaving due to burnout, unable to express what she wanted in her career and how to address her concerns.
Our first meeting lasted 3 hours. Her burnout was evident, in part from her inability [cross -culturally] to manage a hard-driving boss who demanded around the clock responses. The effect it was having on her children, husband, and parents was visible. Her thought was to simply quit, although she was the bread winner.
We worked to instil her confidence in order for her to communicate more directly and professionally to her boss, rather than acquiesce and seethe; made strict but manageable working hours for her during the week and weekend; times for her health and exercise, her spare time and interests and allow, step by step, a realisation that a middle ground was achievable. We worked on how to better position herself for a very competitive promotion which she had targeted the past two years, and to managerially restructure her team more easily.
Her improved communication first resulted in her boss apologising, allowing her more latitude and an improved relationship. She was able to reorganise her team to allow her more time for herself. She started engaging with other top level management to improve her profile.
She wrote to me when she received her promotion: “I would like to share my good news with you! Thank you SO MUCH for your guidance and lending a patient listening ear during a very emotional, challenging period for me.”
Requested by the company President to help coachee work on his communication and management skills, as he was viewed as too harsh, demanding and intolerant.
This was his first management role; he had no precedence and no formal training. We worked to have him consider how to better reflect, understand his staff’s strengths and weaknesses, how to better delegate tasks and allow his staff to work on their own rather than with his immediate input. We also discussed stratagem for communicating more often and effectively with HQ.
The engagement ended too soon, and results were mixed. He had said he wanted to change and improve, but his behaviour remained the same. A high level of tension in the office developed, people quit in frustration; he fell back into his old patterns, and dismissed criticism.
He left the company shortly after, but will likely repeat his patterns in his next role.
Requested personal coaching to better position himself for his next role as regional President, and understand how to converse more effectively with the current regional President, the [overseas] Chairman and board members to ensure he would be given the role.
We worked together to have him map out his 3 year business plan strategy and use as a template for his ongoing conversations. Once that was drafted, edited and agreed on, he had the talking points to engage more easily. We role played to ensure his actual face to face conversations were both relaxed and directed, and brainstormed on how to manage his relationship with the outgoing President and maintain his support and input.
The business plan was well received, in his meetings he was assured he would be given the new role, and his tension at not knowing what was in store has decreased appreciably.
He has gained confidence in his presentation skills and ability to both communicate and influence with more calmness and less apprehension.
Requested personal coaching, having taken on a new role and did not want to slip into old patterns of aggressiveness and confrontation, which had hurt his reputation at his previous company. In his new role he wanted to be liked more, influence more impactfully, and be his own boss.
We did a Harrison Assessment to determine his patterns, we did coaching exercises: Reflective, Likes/Dislikes, Communication, and Development. We redid his CV to have him reflect on his patterns and strengths, and created a map for him to work off of, and have him manage his temper to ensure he did not alienate others.
He worked regularly to modify his behavior, although he may have modified it too much, as he was concerned he became too quiet. He had to adjust to a new corporate culture, as the senior management is all Latin American, with a less direct style of communication and management.
Two direct reports, one in China and one in Europe, requested coaching for a 6 month period, as she is a high potential viewed as the next AP President in another 3 years.
She started with the company in 2015 and is learning their style of communication, how to better influence, to be more patient and understand how to get around a roadblock rather than removing it.
Ongoing, she is learning how to accept rather than demand changes; some things are beyond her control. She is delegating more effectively and not trying to solve each problem herself, communicating more collaboratively and [slowly] pulling back on late night conference calls (by rearranging times) in order to spend more time with her family.
The AsiaPac MD requested coaching for him. He had been with the company for one year, very strong sales skills, now in a regional management role. His boss wanted him to manage his team more collaboratively, be less ‘top-down’, organise his annual strategy and budget more effectively and get the best of his team.
His style was very direct, very blunt, and it was clear that was how he communicated to his Asean country managers. When asked how he motivates them, he replied that he wanted them to be risk takers, telling them, “What’s the worst thing that can happen to you? You can get fired, but that’s not so bad. If I get fired, I’m OK.”
He was imposing his personal situation (no children, dual income) on his team, and professed that while he sees them in the region, he does not really know them, or vice-versa.
My coaching style with him is both direct and supportive, to get him to understand that his style is both blunt but [ironically] is also too soft on some of his team by simply saying, “You know what you need to do to meet the numbers.”
Fortunately, he is quite bright, well-liked by the team, a good listener, and I have gained his respect after his initial challenges to me (typical in many coaching situations) and I have seen the improvements, step by step.
The question-as it usually is-is the degree of consistency to change one’s life, not merely one’s behaviour.