Stepping up and can't afford to fail

Steve – Executive Director

Steve was new to his role. He was recruited to a high profile executive role in a new organisation, formed from several smaller agencies. But his CEO wasn’t confident that he could get his new management team – and the department as a whole – moving fast enough to hit aggressive deadlines. That’s where we came in. He wanted to see a noticeable difference in the way Steve and his team were working, and set a five month deadline.

So how did it work?

Steve started working with Jonathan, and quickly engaged with his coaching. He was keen to engage – to the point that Jonathan travelled with him to other events by train because it was the only way of securing ‘face time’ in his hectic schedule.

It soon became apparent that the problems Steve and his team were facing weren’t just about inter-personal dynamics, conflict or poor communication – they were more fundamental than that. People needed clarity about what their roles were, and a robust way of business planning from year to year. Getting that clear would help them understand their jobs more clearly, and help them communicate more effectively.

Jonathan worked with the team to help them shape a plan for that year, and to develop an annual process that would underpin their activities in future. It meant consulting and engaging across different regions and functions, pulling together their own experts’ information, and engaging with the right people outside the agency. The improvements Steve made to his management team are still paying off, two years later.

The results

We used two performance markers to assess Steve’s coaching. The first was how people responded to the departmental conference. The feedback was great, with marked improvements in morale, engagement and quality of contribution from six months previously. The other indicator was Steve’s quarterly appraisal meeting with his CEO. In the time we’d worked together, he’d already seen performance improvements in Steve’s department and so had more confidence in his ability to deliver.

In Steve’s words, he’s now in a ‘much better place’, ‘on the front foot’, and in more control of his diary and his energy. After seriously considering walking away, now he’s an established and successful member of the Executive team, and his own management team is performing strongly.