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Strategic Executive Coaching: A Success Story

Strategic Executive Coaching® (SEC) improves clients’ bottom-line results by enhancing executives’ effectiveness, aligning their actions with the organization’s vision and strategy. Our success story, featuring a Fortune 100 company, emphasizes confidentiality and highlights the collaborative partnership between the client organization and Executive Coaching Network®, Inc. (EXCN). In Phase 1, Careful Contracting ensures a successful, collaborative relationship, setting clear success criteria upfront.

A Success Story

In this instance, our client was the CEO of a recently spun-off organization, referred to as NEWCO, which had emerged from its parent company. EXCN’s mission involved aiding the CEO of NEWCO in navigating the spin-off from the parent company and fostering a competitive organizational culture. The tasks at hand were formidable, given the significant challenges and opportunities associated with preparing for the spin-off and initial public offering (IPO). Additionally, there was the enduring challenge of maintaining sustained results post-spin-off.

The spin-off of NEWCO from its parent company presented an excellent opportunity to implement the strategic component outlined by the SEC. It also offered a chance to provide individual coaching to executives throughout the entire process.

The Strategic Component

Before the spin-off, we conducted a global strategic analysis through interviews with employees at all levels. It revealed that NEWCO’s vision was unclear, and there was a gap in understanding how certain decisions aligned with the strategy. Leadership qualities for success in NEWCO differed significantly from the parent company, focusing more on innovation, urgency, diversity, and financial risk management.

To address this, we collaborated to create the NEWCO “mindset” (values and leadership practices), validated through employee feedback. The CEO effectively communicated this vision globally, emphasizing the importance of delivering results while embodying NEWCO values.

The NEWCO mindset formed the basis for a 360-degree assessment, finalized after rigorous validation. The CEO and executive team participated in executive coaching, using the NEWCO 360 for feedback. The CEO’s commitment to “walking the talk” set the standard for results-driven leadership, aligning with the NEWCO mindset during the IPO leadership phase.

Conduct Individual Executive Coaching

To kick off the executive coaching, the executive team met for a one-day, off-site meeting. The CEO started the program by sharing the individual action plan developed during the coaching process. Because there were many other executive leadership topics on the agenda, only a portion of the day was spent on the executive coaching process and how the executives could best utilize their coach.

During the off-site, each executive had an initial face-to-face meeting with his or her coach. As part of the meeting with the coach, each executive received their NEWCO 360 assessment feedback report. Since this was the first time the executives had viewed the reports, it was not expected that they would complete their action plans during the meeting. The coach and executive used their discretion to determine when they would meet to finalize the plan. The content of the action plans developed varied by the executive, but the focus was always on the strategic intention of the organization, even if the executive was focusing on interpersonal issues.

The goal of the second major meeting between the coach and the executive was to finalize the action plan and prepare for a meeting with the CEO, who would review the plan’s contents and provide any additional suggestions. After this meeting, the executive was expected to meet with her or his direct reports and peers to validate the action plan.

For a period of six months, the coaching continued through a series of sessions. All sessions were driven by the strategic intent of NEWCO and the individual executive’s action plan.

Assessing the Impact

EXCN’s impact studies indicate that:

  • NEWCO has continued to outperform others in the industry.
  • NEWCO has been named as a top-10 stock pick.
  • NEWCO’s CEO received a standing ovation on Wall Street.
  • NEWCO’s CEO has exceeded all expectations set forth by the Board.
  • Employees revere NEWCO’s CEO (as evidenced by unsolicited letters and e-mails).
  • The quantitative follow-up research related to the individual executives indicates extremely positive outcomes.

How the Coaching Helped

The CEO was better prepared for the challenges facing a NEWCO CEO and as such, developed a vision, mission, strategy, and goals that were clear and communicated throughout the organization. The NEWCO management team participated in the communication of the NEWCO vision, mission, strategy, and mindset with face-to-face meetings. In addition, the CEO carefully identified all stakeholders and spent time with them.

Why Was This Process Successful?

Sponsorship was key. The CEO and senior management team were willing participants and the VP of HR partnered with the external coaching firm. Also, corners weren’t cut in the initial strategic components of the process. The entire organization was involved in the process and engaged in decisions that impacted them. The timing was right to use the SEC process in the organization.

In the end, the results are clear. The organization’s executive team led the most successful IPO in the history of its industry and its stock continues to outperform the competition. All stakeholders greatly admire the CEO.

While we cannot be totally sure that all of NEWCO’s success was a direct result of executive coaching, we are convinced that it made a significant difference.

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