What we did
Our first step was to assess the potential of the recently appointed Production Manager, Claire Woods, to understand whether she could quickly take the step into a broader operational role to effect change, or whether additional leadership would need to be recruited.
The Chairman was also concerned with the present team dynamics and certain cultural issues that appeared to be hindering organisational performance. He wanted this assignment to provide deep insight into the current psychological state of the business so that leadership performance could be rapidly accelerated.
During the first phase, Intramezzo used their Change and Transformation Team to assess Claire’s leadership approach and the organisational culture. The range of work included using Occupational Psychologists to conduct leadership profiling, behavioural symptom analysis interviews and a values mapping exercise; the purpose was to identify and separate the driving and resisting forces for change. Having done this, Intramezzo created a Leadership Development Programme to kick start the transformation.
The task was then to identify a coaching approach that would ensure that Claire would be able to quickly build an authentic leadership brand capable of shaping a culture of collaborative team innovation that would convincingly increase business performance.
The Chairman was concerned that the proposed coaching intervention presented a high level of risk. Intramezzo was able to manage this risk by using our search and selection capability to present the Chairman with a short list of Executive Coaches to de-risk the project by ensuring a coaching experience that would overcome the multi-level resistance. Intramezzo facilitated ‘test’ coaching sessions so that Claire could select her preferred coach; Claire described this as highly empowering and engaging – it had the effect of fast tracking the process of change.
From the outset, Claire was coached within a ‘safe space’ to help her explore and raise awareness of what had created the ‘steady state’ performance for the business. She was able to identify her strengths and a pathway to an authentic leadership style, capable of supercharging the business growth strategy.
A fundamental outcome of Claire’s coaching was to create and sustain trust with the operational team. As a relatively recent graduate, Claire had feelings of ‘imposter syndrome’ and felt awkward revealing her vulnerabilities. During the early coaching sessions, all of which took place off site, Claire was challenged to face up to her perceptions and, through a careful balance of challenge and support, she quickly broke through this barrier. Her coach helped her identify a range of alternative new behaviours that she was able to test and embed within the team, which enabled Claire to rapidly gain their trust.
As the coaching progressed, Claire was given the space to unpackage her typical preferences, that of being the expert and hardworking person, who would normally do the work. Her coach enabled her to see options for delegating more effectively and this led to an acceleration of the overall change effort. Not only did she delegate more, but the operational team were quick to respond positively due to the increasing levels of trust and clarity being demonstrated.
Claire’s coach helped build confidence by pointing out the obvious – in previous roles, she had experienced disciplinarian managers / leaders and so felt she was, to some extent, living in the shadow of previous managers. The latter part of the coaching enabled further awareness of her impact on others. So, using a ‘a step by step’ process Claire developed a braveness to progressively try and test new ways of leading. She was asked “what’s the worst that could happen?” She came to quickly realise that she was in a safe place and so could face her truth with greater confidence. She was able to complete her new authentic leadership brand by knowing that she was already successful in leading and could hold a balanced concern for results and people by applying a coaching approach to problem solving.