How to retain and refresh talent

Helping a specialist grow into a business leader

Alex had specialist expertise that was critical to the business achieving its customer growth goals. But he aspired to a senior management role and feared he was stuck in a career cul-de-sac. His motivation was starting to slip with negative consequences for him and the business.

So how did it work?

A series of three coaching sessions combined with feedback from his work-mates helped Alex to take stock.  We discovered that while his technical expertise was highly valued, Alex was hitting the wrong note when reporting to the CEO and Finance Director. Instead of crisply picking up on the key business issues and presenting a clear action plan, he tended to give long detailed explanations that didn’t align with the company’s action-oriented culture. This gave the impression that he was a ‘techie’ rather than a business leader, and it was getting in the way of him being considered for promotion to a management role. The Board were also nervous about losing him in his current role.

Once Alex understood this we worked on three things.  First, we coached him on how to put himself into the mindset of the CEO and FD so he could translate his technical knowledge into punchy, business-relevant messages that resonated with the Board. We encouraged him to strengthen his network across the business so that he was more in touch with his peers and colleagues. Finally, we helped him to coach his deputy so that she was ready to step into his place. These changes helped to re-position him as a savvy manager who thought and acted strategically, rather than a narrowly focused expert.

The results

Positive feedback from the CEO and FD boosted Alex’s confidence and he was instrumental in the company reaching its customer growth goals. Alex proved that his deputy could safely take over and he was promoted to a management role. A win for Alex, his former deputy, and the company.