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Case Study : EXECUTIVE COACHING

Client Profile And Challenge

  • Organization: Multi-National Law Firm

  • Coachee’s Title: Global Head of Human Resources Operations

With 69 international offices and over 6,000 lawyers, our client is one of the world’s largest and most prestigious law firms. They had just promoted *Laura, a high-performing Human Resources Operations Lead in North America, to head their Talent Management efforts around the world. They sought our help to support her, and the Firm successfully make this shift.

One of the Firm’s differentiating factors is their expertise for cross-border work. A large part of their strategy to maintain their edge is their effort to cultivate and retain global talent. The purpose of Laura’s new role was to ensure that this strategy continued to succeed. Laura’s new, main stakeholders were the Firm’s Global Chair and its Global Committee Of Managing Directors. So, a lot was on the line for Laura.

TLS Leaders was tapped to assess Laura’s capabilities, provide one-on-one leadership coaching to on-board her and grow her capabilities so she could succeed in this highly visible role.

The Solution

A 12-month executive coaching engagement that followed TLS Leaders’ methodology which included:

  • A coaching team comprised of Laura, the Coach and Laura’s direct leader. The coaching team met throughout the engagement to track Laura’s progress, support her growth, and ensure that the coaching was aligned with organizational goals.

  • Data-backed assessment tools to measure Laura’s strengths and growth opportunities.

  • Evidence-based coaching techniques that supported Laura’s onboarding and leadership development while she experimented with new ways of thinking, leading, communicating and presenting in front of others

  • Quantitative success measures were embedded into Laura’s individual coaching action plan that tracked her achievements.

ASSESSMENT AND COACHING

In-depth interviews with 15 stakeholders were conducted using TLS Leaders’ proprietary 360° approach. Laura also discovered her preferred communication style and the preferred styles of the people around her.

The 360° assessment uncovered Laura’s multiple strengths. It also revealed three growth opportunities as she onboarded to her new leadership role – deepening executive presence and gravitas, improving her political skill and leading strategically. Those areas became the focus of the coaching.

Laura met with her executive coach bi-weekly for 12 months. With her coach’s guidance, she learned and applied verbal, vocal and non-verbal tools to deepen her executive presence during meetings and when she was presenting in front of key stakeholders.

Laura learned how to build a small group of trusted, internal mentors and gained insight into her organization’s political nuances and unwritten norms. She also learned how to delegate more effectively, freeing up her time to address the global, strategic priorities that were on her plate.

Quick, pulse-checks were taken by Laura’s Executive Coach throughout the engagement to gauge her progress. Her individual coaching action plan was updated after six months to deepen her growth further. Laura’s stakeholders were interviewed at end of the engagement to measure her full growth.

Outcome

Executive Presence

  • Before The Coaching:

    Laura was an excellent listener with an empathic approach. She preferred to let others’ share their P.O.V. before sharing her own. However, her new stakeholders valued assertive communication. They had little patience for someone who did not speak first or have quick comebacks. They needed someone who “takes up the space in the room” as one stakeholder shared.

  • After The Coaching:

    Laura experimented with presenting her ideas more assertively by being the first to speak up at meetings. At the beginning of our coaching, she had to prepare by getting the agenda in advance so she could produce a quick answer when challenged or questioned. She gradually learned to be more confident and to rely on her immense subject matter expertise. So, she had to prepare less as time went on.

  • Laura also used communication tools to telegraph a more assertive style. She learned to speak louder, increased eye-contact when on Zoom, used a more assertive, serious facial expression when presenting her ideas.

Political Savvy

  • Before The Coaching:

    Laura had discomfort with what she called, “playing the political game”.  She wanted to be known for her outcomes and performance. But in her new role, Laura needed to understand and harness the Firm’s unwritten rules for success because her new stakeholders operated through and within them.

  • After The Coaching:

    Under her Coach’s guidance, she discovered that the currencies that some people used to measure success were different than hers. Her stakeholders valued political influence and sway, not just performance. Through the coaching, she learned the inter-relationships across the Firm. She cultivated key business partnerships and alliances. She gained an understanding of the unspoken rules of engagement within this politically charged environment and learned what levers to pull to achieve buy-in for her ideas.

Effective Delegation

  • Before The Coaching:

    Laura held onto tasks because she thought that she could do them better than anyone else. She also didn’t want to impose what she considered mundane tasks onto her team.  This approach bogged her down when she need to free up her time to work more strategically and create early, new wins.

  • After the Coaching:

    We worked with Laura to delegate and prioritize more effectively. She saw that she was promoted to her new role to do higher-level, strategic work. She needed to get out of the weed and focus on global imperatives. She also realized that by not delegating, she wasn’t developing the talent below her effectively.

    Laura made a key shift in her mindset. She was empowered by her Executive Coach to delegate operational meetings and tasks to her team. She learned to delegate work that provided responsibility, visibility, and growth for her employees. This newly polished skill freed up her time to advance strategic priorities.

A Strategic Leader Emerged As A Result Of Coaching

When Laura’s feedback providers were surveyed at the end of her engagement, they were asked on a scale of 1 – 5 how Laura grew in the below areas. Thirteen out of fifteen stakeholders gave Laura 5s for all areas. Two stakeholders gave her 4s for all areas.

1 = No Growth  2 = Slight Growth 3 = Moderate Growth  4 = Clear Growth  5 = Extensive Growth & Change

1 = No Growth  2 = Slight Growth 3 = Moderate Growth 
4 = Clear Growth  5 = Extensive Growth & Change

1 = No Growth 
2 = Slight Growth
3 = Moderate Growth 
4 = Clear Growth 
5 = Extensive Growth & Change

  • Effectively understands, commands and influences an audience through skilled public speaking.
  • Demonstrates knowledge of and uses organizational culture, norms and unwritten rules to drive strategic priorities.
  • Cultivates new, productive cross-regional relationships, to achieve strategic goals.
  • Uses executive presence. Builds rapport and trust with stakeholders, demonstrates confidence and gravitas when speaking. Carries oneself in a professional, approachable manner.
  • Delegates work that provides substantial responsibility, visibility, and growth.

*To protect the confidentiality of our coaching clients, their name and some identifying details have been altered.

 

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