Case Study #1: Sleepless Nights and Elevated Stress Levels Alleviated
I was asked by my key sponsor in information technology in the largest bank in Australia to work with one of his senior managers. Bryce (not his real name) by all accounts was already successful. He delivered on individual and company expectations year after year but at his personal cost and therefore a cost to the company. He consistently ‘roared’ at his people and those who did not meet his high standards. Bryce was disconnected from his people (they feared him) and he was extremely stressed to the point of anxiety and sleepless nights.
I designed an in-depth coaching program which began by developing his emotional intelligence skills, specifically his self-awareness. He had not been in this type of learning environment before but had taken company sponsored training courses. He had an attitude of willingness to change as he knew he couldn’t go on with the elevated stress levels and sleepless nights. He had ‘enough’ commitment and most importantly the commitment and support of his manager. Over time, his commitment to the coaching program became so strong, he sponsored members of his own team for their own coaching programs.
As I gave Bryce instant feedback on his behaviour in our sessions, he started to realize how he was perceived by others. I encouraged him to experiment with new behaviours and report on his progress. Over time, he realized how he negatively impacted others with his behavior and changed it. At my insistence, he actively involved his direct reports in his own growth and gained their trust. His boss started noticing changes and told him. As a result of this feedback and the trust he built with his team, his confidence increased dramatically and he stopped ‘roaring’.
Today, he is approachable and listens. He has been promoted and is known to be fair yet still holds high standards. Although he may slip back into old behaviours from time to time (we all do!) he is much happier, worries less, and sleeps at night.
Case Study #2 – Consulting
We were asked by the head of an information technology function to find out why many of his technical specialists (individual contributors) were having difficulty making the transition to leadership roles. The cost of failed transitions was measured in derailed careers, financial impacts, employee churn, employee morale and engagement. Because his area was so specialized, he needed to keep the talent he was hiring and not lose them to the competition.
As we worked through the data from our interviews, workshops and other conversations, we discovered a common definition and understanding of the people leader role was missing. We then ran a custom-designed workshop to define the meaning of the people leader role in this particular organisation. The participants were shocked to discover how much the role encompassed – far more than leading people!
Once the role was defined, we created a way for senior managers to identify talent and the gaps in skills, competencies and behaviours for a successful transition to the people leader role.
We provided our client with a set of custom designed assessments to determine the readiness of potential people leaders. We also provided them with a process to help identify talent, map developmental areas in skills, competencies and behaviours to individual development plans, and create a leadership pipeline. Their engagement scores have increased, less people have left and more technical specialists have been promoted and have successfully made the transition to a leader role.
Case Study #3 Dramatic Increase in Emotional Intelligence Skills
I was asked to work with a talented technology professional (Joe) who was a software applications subject matter expert. He was being considered for a people leadership role but found it difficult making the transition. He went into too much detail when communicating with senior levels in his organization and others found it difficult working with him. As a result, he was highly stressed trying to manage his perception at higher levels while learning to manage at least one direct report. He was short-fused, frustrated and highly critical of himself.
I designed a coaching program which integrated a 360 degree emotional intelligence skills assessment both at the start and end of the program. Joe was highly motivated to change and extremely committed to his own professional development. I worked in depth around those issues getting in the way of his optimal performance. We worked specifically around making the transition from a technical professional mindset and behaviors to a leadership role mindset and behaviors. We began with a focus on increasing his emotional self-awareness which very quickly made a noticeable difference. Because his boss was highly supportive, the changes were noticed, recognized and reinforced.
Through my experiential and in-depth coaching program, he dramatically increased his Emotional Intelligence skills in self-awareness, awareness of others and self-management. He was promoted to a leadership role with 5 direct reports and 8 months after he started the program, he and his team were nominated for an Excellence Award. One direct report returned from extended leave some months into his program and could not believe Joe was the same person she left 10 months before!