“What do you think about getting a personal executive coach to knock off some of the rough edges?”
That’s NOT exactly the first thing a newly minted President wants to hear.
As in most traditional organizational cultures, there was a distinct technical and operational side of the business that was exclusively internally focused. Meanwhile, the commercial side focused externally. In a conscious effort to cross pollenate and leverage existing talent, the company strategically promoted several high performers to challenging new roles. This included the President of one of their regional multi-billion dollar business units. In order to improve their chances for success, the company offered to engage coaches for the new executives.
This is the story of how one President embraced his coaching opportunity and exceeded his own expectations.
“It quickly became clear to me that the skills that got me here weren’t the right skills for me to continue to move forward.”
Never one to turn it down when the company is willing to make an investment in his personal development, this new President agreed to work with a coach. He began by personally interviewing several.
“Gail Froelicher’s executive background is phenomenal. I knew that she definitely knew what she was talking about, but it really felt more like she was trying to figure out what I was looking for. That completely made the difference, because that allowed me to devote myself to the coaching process. I was looking for someone to help me get better.” – President
Development of the best people exponentially improves the bottom line
From the beginning, the coaching plan focused on the personal development of the President. Everyone understood that the company would benefit directly from his sharpened skills. A key aspect of the plan was for the President to work with Gail to set the goals and direction of the company. Then, the next step was to achieve the buy-in from his corporate management.
One of the President’s goals was to be a better visionary leader. He says Gail helped him understand that if he is focusing on today’s tasks and issues, he is working on the wrong things.
“My job is to make sure we are looking three, five, and 10 years out,” he says. “Now, for once, we actually have a five year plan with measurable goals and deliverables. That’s really pushing the envelope for our company.”
A critical benefit of coaching is the process actually forces the executive to set time aside to work on improving.
“Coaching gave me mandatory time to close the door and work on the deliverable of making myself better. I had homework. I had to report out. Without it, I would have simply focused on getting everyday things done.”
Gail didn’t let him JUST do the hard work behind closed doors. For one thing, she coached him to share his plan with all of his direct reports to let them know that he was working on improvement and that he needed their comments.
“I started getting feedback from my team that told me this is really working!”
One of the most public successes came when the President found himself in conversation with a newly elected state governor and his staff at an intimate and exclusive dinner with a few peers. The discussion ultimately put him in a position to directly influence public policy in the new administration. It became his model for doing the same thing in other states.
“We are making huge changes in a short amount of time all because I asked people I didn’t know what was important to them. That would have never happened if I hadn’t been using the skills that I learned through working with Kinetic Insights. As a skill, as a technique, it’s been very, very helpful. It was pretty powerful to see that in motion.”
This President has gone on to recommend coaching to his peers in similar situations. He also offers coaching to his own staff executives, one of whom is working with another Kinetic Insights coach.
“Coaching will be the difference between him staying in the role he is in today and being promoted to VP in the future,” he says, “It will change his trajectory in this company.”
For this President, the benefits of working with an executive coach have far exceeded his expectations.
“Coaching made me more effective which in turn made me more efficient. I know it made me a better leader.”