Situation: I have worked more than a year with the president and the CEO of a reputed company in the local business market (South-Eastern Europe) through individual coaching. His wishes were to extend his leadership ability and to reformulate his business vision for the next 10 years. Understanding from my own experience the power and results of the coaching relationship, he asked me to help him provoke his company’s managers’ potential, which, until that moment, were waiting for directions from him or from the company’s board. He told me in the first meeting that he wanted the managers to start taking responsibility for the company’s future, to make a change from being very good executants to helping the administrators develop the business on a various number of directions.
From my coaching experience in Romania, when a company grows healthy and overcomes the annual proposed results, there is an acute need for the management of the company to assume another kind of responsibility and to become true leaders. If this thing is not happening, the company stops its growth and the whole business is capped. Apparently for external reasons. But, if it happens – as in this case! – a management coaching program is a best and fastest way to lead the management through a transition for another level of business.
Objectives: Once having established the general coaching frame, we defined together what this ‘superior level’ of commitment for the company’s manager’s means. The following intense meetings resulted in several main development directions:
• Practicing strategic thinking and the assumption of decisions that arise from here
• Management based on incomplete/ imperfect information
• Stages planning correlated with the results
• Motivating employees, positive influence, and personal impact
• Communication, feedback and direct reporting styles
Each of these directions was taken over by the HR department, which placed them in a matrix of observable behaviors.
Actions: I focused the coaching program on a group of 14 senior managers, who needed this transition in a short period of time. Together with them, we designed a timetable of workshops and development meetings, for a period of an entire year, using a time frequency adapted to their schedule.
What happened is that each of the 14 managers discovered their own specific development needs. And with these findings, we continued the coaching program almost naturally: people realized that coaching helps them develop personal, business and leadership skills, which can be used in a variety of contexts: with their clients, with their teams, with their life partners, etc.
Every 3 months I had a meeting with the CEO and HR, in which we openly talked about evolutions, limits, achievements, and setbacks. That company had a developed corporate culture that is known in its industry as a place where people are encouraged to develop using the company’s values and principles.
Already at the second evaluation meeting, there was a spectacular increase in leadership skills in 11 of the 14 managers in the program. From that moment until the end of the program, managers have assumed their development completely.
Results: By the end of the coaching program, most managers were able to sustain a level of activity very well connected with the company’s future and the risks involved in the development of other markets. Moreover, they all realized that they need to rely on their teams instead of managing them at the level of details.
The communication style was easily formalized and the managers understood that an emotional communication serves nothing in terms of the image of leaders that they wanted to develop in front of their colleagues. By default, decisions started to flow quickly and there was no need for long-drawn discussions without any benefit.
In addition to that…
After another year, I received a phone call from my ‘old’ client: ‘Mihai, I’m deeply satisfied with our work for the second time now. My people moved to a whole new perspective and now we are developing business in … Asia!’. I congratulated him and I thanked him for the openness and involvement with which he treated the whole program.
He told me he was going to give me another call by the end of the year in order to get back to work.