Client Profile And Challenge
Organization: Advertising Technology. Headquartered in New York City with offices in Israel, London and remote teams across Europe and the United States. Founded in 2015, and scaling fast.
Coachee’s Title: Senior Director of Engineering
When our ad-tech client asked us to coach *Anjali, they described her as a rising star who was driven, ambitious and on the path to be promoted to Vice President in a year. Anjali was proactive and thrived on achievement. Her promotion was at risk for derailing unless she acquired a more polished approach.
We created a six-month coaching engagement to help Anjali refine her communication style, deepen her leadership presence and influencing skills.
Anjali’s coaching engagement followed TLS Leaders’ coaching methodology, which included:
Bi-monthly, in-person and virtual coaching sessions for six months.
A coaching team comprised of Anjali, the Coach, Anjali’s direct leader and their HR Business Partner. The coaching team met throughout the engagement to track Anjali’s progress, support her growth, and ensure that the coaching goals and activities were aligned with organizational goals.
Data-backed assessment tools to measure Anjali’s strengths and growth opportunities.
Evidence-based coaching techniques that supported Anjali while she pushed herself outside of her comfort zone and experimented with new ways of thinking, communicating and influencing.
Quantitative success measures were embedded into Anjali’s individual coaching action plan that tracked her achievements.
1. TLS Leaders’ proprietary 360° Assessment Tool measured Anjali’s strengths and growth opportunities through competency-based, in-depth interviews with 12 feedback providers.
2. Korn Ferry’s Influencing Strategies Exercise, an online assessment, identified Anjali’s preferred influencing behaviors and evaluated how effective she was at using them.
3. DISC assessed Anjali’s preferred management and communication styles.
When A Directive Leadership Style Is Warranted … And When It’s Not
A key discovery for Anjali was how her communication style was perceived by others around her. She had a direct style, which worked well to produce results in time-sensitive situations or when a quick decision was warranted.
However, Anjali was perceived as too direct by people who had a different communication style and in cases where she needed to achieve buy-in through nuanced relationship building. Her one-size-fits-all approach impeded her ability to move key business initiatives forward. Some also perceived Anjali as impulsive – she was too quick to act when more information was needed.
A New Product Launch Requires Strategic Influence
Anjali had a significant product launch in three months for which she and her team needed to achieve organization-wide buy-in for its success. This launch was a timely opportunity for Anjali to experiment with new ways of communicating and influencing.
Under her coach’s guidance, Anjali widened her approach. She learned how build trust and rapport with key stakeholders before trying to persuade them. She also learned how to listen better and engage others’ by asking for their ideas before presenting hers. These changes enabled her to build relationships across the company, which helped her down the road when she need buy-in for her new product launch.
Anjali deepened her interpersonal awareness by creating a “listening campaign” with key stakeholders. These 1×1 meetings enabled her to identify and address other people’s concerns and helped her to develop stronger active listening skills.
She deepened her executive presence and gravitas by learning to slow down and ask others’ questions that elicited their ideas, rather than asserting her own. Her stakeholders reported that Anjali learned how to validate their values and concerns, and address them, making them more comfortable with the impact that her new product launch would have on them. Several even came around and became early adapters and advocates.
Anjali also learned to choose strategically around issues that needed immediate action or restraint. She reduced her impetuousness and deepened her gravitas. She learned to recognize how others’ work styles and preferences differ from hers and how to bridge those gaps through strategic communication and holding off until the right time.
A successful coaching outcome kept Anjali on her path to Vice President. She was promoted just after the coaching ended.
Evidence-Based Outcomes Of Executive Coaching
Bridging The Gaps Through Strategic Communication & Influence Skills
When Anjali’s feedback providers were surveyed at the end of her engagement, they were asked on a scale of 1 – 5 how Anjali grew in the below areas. Eleven stakeholders gave Anjali 5s for all areas. One stakeholder gave her 4s for all areas.
1 = No Growth. 2 = Slight Growth. 3 = Moderate Growth. 4 = Clear Growth.
5 = Extensive Growth & Change.
- Cultivates formal and informal relationships through trust, strategic communication skills and situational adaptability. Has interpersonal savvy and is able to relate skillfully with different people.
- Executive Presence: Has rapport and trust with stakeholders, demonstrates confidence, judgement and gravitas. Carries oneself in a professional, approachable manner.
- Effectively overcomes adversity and resistance to change to achieve buy-in for new initiatives.
- Anticipates and balances the needs of diverse stakeholders; persuades effectively through strategic communication and influencing skills.