Client Stories

emma-west-v1Type of work: Executive Coaching / UK Charity

The CEO of this UK based charity felt himself to be derailing in-role. He had lost the support of his key stakeholders – the charity’s trustees, and he was in danger of losing his role. The brief was to support the CEO to re-engineer his leadership style in order to win the backing of his trustees.

It became apparent fairly early on that this individual was someone with huge potential but who was being held back by a number of barriers that were proving difficult to identify.

Through biographical interviews, psychometrics and by gathering stakeholder feedback – the key breakthrough was identifying the influences of the CEO’s background on their current leadership style.

Having worked in social work and probation, people experienced the CEO as either very supportive or very challenging – with almost no middle ground. This was causing confusion in the wider leadership team and frustration for the CEO who could not convert their own passion for the charity into sustainable leadership and followership.

Once the CEO realised the effect their background was having – and the triggers in the present day that could lead to certain positive or negative behaviours – the CEO became far more sophisticated in being able to adapt their approach to suit the person or issue being dealt with. This has created a greater balance of assertiveness and support, allowing the CEO’s passion, empathy and ambition to come to the fore.


Type of work: Team Development / FTSE100 FMCG company

A recent project was to coach the UK finance team of this global multinational. This involved working at the individual level and also with the team as a whole. The organisation had just conducted its annual employee engagement survey, which had reported a significant decline in results, not only against the external FTSE 100 benchmark but also year-on-year. The finance team were suffering particularly in this regard, with a sharp skew between motivation and engagement at the top of the function and the bottom. Senior leaders felt committed but overstretched. Junior managers felt misunderstood.

The Consultancy was contracted to provide team development and coaching to improve discretionary effort and to restore engagement levels to their previous highs.

Through analysis of the survey, and working with the individuals concerned, it became apparent that the function lacked any sort of coherent purpose. Everyone was responding to requests for information in a slightly panicked and ad-hoc way, rarely knowing why they were doing what they were doing.

The first piece of work was to establish a crystal clear purpose for the function, which would resonate not only with the organisation’s strategy but also the individual drivers of the extended team. By asking the team to pause and reflect upon their purpose, I was able to remind them why they joined the organisation in the first place and what really made them tick.

We created a functional purpose which focused on active partnership with the sales organisation, moving away from the manic, mechanistic reactivity that had existed before.

The main outcome of the intervention was that Finance became better able to negotiate priorities within the wider business and the accuracy rates – previously deemed as poor by the Exec – started to improve. In addition, the engagement survey results the following year restored the organisation to its status as a leading player in the field.