Do Our Coaching Programs Really Work? Our portfolio of select client success stories will give you a sense
Our Success Stories and Testimonials Speak For Themselves!
of the challenges for which we are chosen to address, the range of our assignments, and the bottom line impact of our work.
You may well recognize some of your own challenges in one or more of these stories – and invite you to envision similar outcomes for yourself and your organization and the difference it could make for you and your company.
Success Stories & Testimonials about SUCCESSFUL Leaders:
The Director for a line of business within a financial services company had been part of the company since its inception. An engaging and outgoing individual, he was also a decisive leader who tended to make decisions without all the needed input and buy-in. He was good at deciding what had to be done, clearly communicating the decisions, but not guiding and developing his staff when they fell short of their objectives.
The challenges for the entire business were significant. Having grown from a start-up company in 1998 to a $7B global company in 2004, the revenues from his line of business at $150M were at risk due to the challenging economic conditions along acquisition of three other companies – including all of the processes, systems, and cultural issues inherent in such corporate combinations. Now, having to lead a global team of almost 300 where each regional business unit viewed itself as a stand-alone enterprise, this SVP needed to build a high performance global leadership team with his 12 direct reports and be able to consistently meet the very aggressive financial goals.
Working together, we identified the specific leadership behaviors that would be needed to realize the team goals and business expectations. We explored the challenges of relinquishing his command and control leadership style to a more collaborative one along with capitalizing on other strengths that would facilitate this change along as well as the counter-productive ones that would undermine it.
Initially, his team was bewildered by his new focus and behaviors. However, as he consistently exhibited his new collaborative leadership style – along with asking his direct reports for feedback and suggestions as to how to continue to improve, the global team began to ‘gel’. After six months his line of business began to consistently over achieve its financial objectives because it was finally team-centric.
“SJ, I can’t thank you enough! All the results – people and numbers – speak for themselves” Director for the line of business.
The Executive Counsel in the Legal Department of a global conglomerate was assigned additional responsibilities which included becoming a team leader and also more frequent interfacing with senior management.
Since he wanted to continue to be successful in his expanded role, he focused on essential relevant behaviors to strengthen his communication skills and enhance his executive presence.
Working together, we identified his own Core Operating Principles (COPS) so that he could be aware of them, let them guide him, and let them shine through as he interfaced with others up, across, and down in the organization. We focused on his continuing to consistently demonstrate authenticity, trust, and respect along with paying attention to the attendant subtle cues that can support or diminish each. We identified several individuals as role models within the organization, and connected him with a mentor who would help him navigate the political landscape. He is flourishing!
“As I became immersed in my new role, Sara Jane occasionally sent me little reminders to ensure that I was using the strategies and techniques we had generated to strengthen my executive presence. After a while I found that the approaches and behaviors we had discussed had become a natural part of how I conducted myself…so that I was then able to spend more of my energies focusing on how others were exhibiting their executive presence so that I could learn even more. I’m being effective with senior management (being included in key meetings and getting their buy-ins) and getting positive feedback from my upper management – and feeling confident!” Executive Counsel – Global Conglomerate.
The Division Medical Director of Pathology within one of the top-ranked and largest health complexes in the world was brought in to build and grow the Outreach Laboratory into a nationally recognized business providing state-of-the-art testing and service. As a physician, he assumed the role with the requisite credibility. Being bright, experienced, a quick study and having an outgoing and engaging personality, his assimilation into this new role was relatively easy. While everything was seeming to go well, as his career progressed he increasingly suffered from panic attacks and sought coaching. As a result, some important behaviors that potentially served as impediments to progress were revealed.
Personality and behavioral assessments revealed that he had a high need to be the center of attention, be dramatic, and dominate meetings and conversations. These findings were corroborated by individual interviews with key stakeholders.
Working together, we identified venues outside of work where he would be able to get his attention-seeking needs met and reduce his anxiety at work. We also focused on strengthening his listening skills to stay more “in the moment” and honed his communication and presentation skills to be more concise.
He will always have to monitor his extroversion and his stress responses so that they do not interfere in carrying out his leadership responsibilities. The governor to monitor this tendency is consistently getting feedback from his stakeholders – who, as it turns out, are now impressed by his courage to confront and deal with this behavior and also in his dramatic progress.
“My anxiety over desire be a success and ‘pleaser’ undermined my confidence as well as my effectiveness as a leader. Almost immediately upon meeting with Sara Jane I could feel my anxiety diminish and my control and focus return. With a return to a healthy baseline and a new outlook, we were then able to undertake the work of improvement. Sara Jane’s coaching was CRITICAL to my success at work as well as my subsequent hiring and promotions at my next company. In a few short years, I have doubled my salary and have achieved more job happiness and success than I thought possible. At the same time, my relationships with my wife, children and friends have also benefited. Sara Jane is not merely an effective executive coach but, moreover, a life coach and for that I will be forever grateful” Division Medical Director – Healthcare Complex.
The Senior Vice President within a major money center bank had been assigned significant additional responsibilities. She clearly had the confidence of her upper management and was also highly regarded by her peers. Feeling the challenge and stress of these new responsibilities, which included leading 4 additional teams in technical areas that were foreign to her, she decided to obtain a coach to ensure that she would continue to be highly effective.
Working together, she shared with me the specifics of what made her feel stressed and the (few minor) dysfunctional behaviors she exhibited as a result. For those times, we crafted ‘pause strategies’ so that she could ‘re-center’ herself, as well as making sure that she always delegated as much as possible. We also put a plan in place to get her up-to-speed as quickly as possible in the new functions she was leading.
After three months, while overwhelmingly busy, she was confident that she was going to be OK!
“SJ, while the strategies and tools have helped me – the insights about me that I gained from our conversations were, for me, the biggest take-away from the coaching. I will carry those insights for the rest of my life. Thank you.” Senior Vice President – Money Center Bank.
The Managing Director in a Professional Services Firm had been referred for coaching to improve his ability to resolve conflicts and obtain buy-in for (re)solutions. Since he had been trained as an attorney he had strong beliefs and opinions about right and wrong – and certainly needed to adhere to the law in any and all solutions.
While he understood that he was the legal expert on projects, at the same time, he did not (fully) recognize the need for his team-mates to understand the legal ramifications of those solutions.
So, we crafted a strategy for one particular project meeting in which he communicated differently – connecting the recommended solution to both the problem being addressed and the legal requirements, and he showed the positive benefits to the organization. The result was that there was almost no discussion – and there was no conflict at all!
Using that positive experience, we developed a template that he subsequently used in all such situations.
“Wow, Sara Jane, that was easy and fast! I am somewhat embarrassed that I had been missing this connection and approach – and am certainly grateful for your help.” Managing Director – Professional Services Firm.
The Vice President – Professional Development in a division of a global pharmaceutical company had been brought in to ‘professionalize’ the division’s team members. The head of the division was dissatisfied with the results of the employee survey as well as the overt friction and negativity he kept heating about, and, of course, the results within the division. He believe that if people conducted themselves more professionally, it would turn things around.
As she was assessing the situation, she learned that there were 4 key leaders within the division who had been trying to block her entrance into the organization – and she anticipated that they would, therefore, block her efforts. Since external coaching was available to her, she afforded herself the opportunity. She did this because she needed an external, objective sounding board – and some new ideas.
Working together we generated several approaches to confront – without attacking – the individuals who had tried to block her entry into the organization. The purpose of the approaches was to ‘open the doors’ so that ‘easy’ collaboration could take place. These approaches also included assurances to those individuals that they would be retaining ‘control’ over their own professional development and training budgets – and that the VP was there to collaborate with them to increase the results within their own units.
The approaches worked, to varying degrees. So, to further strengthen the still tenuous relationships we had the VP enlist the support of a well-regarded and influential EVP in the organization…which tipped the relationships to collaboration and cooperation!
After that, the VP was ‘freed-up’ to spend some time learning about the professional development efforts (or lack thereof) within the division, as well as the professional development strategies within other divisions in the company.
She then put together an overall plan for professional development – which varied between each of the units within the division – and got the needed-buy-in for them. Over the next six months, the plans were implemented – and the results of the next employee survey were skyrocketing – and, of course, the division’s business results had also improved.
‘Sara Jane, I am so glad to have had the opportunity to work with you. As I look back on what we did together, I cannot even imagine what would have happened (to me) if I had not had your counsel. Of course, I had known about executive (leadership) coaching but never thought I would need it, myself! Thank you!” The Vice President – Professional Development Global Pharmaceutical Company.