Annie worked in a publicly traded global technology company that is a male-dominated industry and earned a great promotion to CXO level. But soon after her executive appointment she was delicately informed that her overall presence did not communicate a distinctly CXO demeanour. The board wanted her to cultivate a powerful presence that would allow her to take tough decisions with ease and navigate her teams through challenging change with command. They also wanted a coach who would provide practical and engaging ideas for improving her relationships, team dynamics, and helping people become better at what they do.
Diagnosis: Like always, we applied a 3 step holistic approach to evaluate the leader’s readiness and identify potential barriers to success- Stakeholder Insights, Assessment, and Gameplan flow. During the insight session the stakeholders shared the leaders’ business challenges and needs to increase performance and engagement. Guided by our proprietary research-based assessment of executive presence- Coach Vikram’s EPI, we measured the behaviours that would enable the leader to engage, inspire, and move people to act with ease. Finally, during the game plan design we determined priorities for coaching goals and measurements of success.
Mindset Shift: Annie as part of her coaching conversations confided in Coach Vikram that she was intimidated by the alpha males in the senior leadership positions. Coach Vikram helped leverage her internal obstacles into external assets and eliminated her blind spots that hindered her senior leadership performance. The coaching made her realize how she let her beliefs about her own shortcomings clouded her vision of the reality. Each coaching session started with a reminder of Annie’s overall goals, and focused on her current successes.
Behavioural Shift: Using simple techniques from ‘improv’, method acting, and role play, Vikram helped Annie realize her initial fear of powerful men was rather insignificant by comparison to her powerful contribution to the organization. She recognized how her own perception was affecting her ability to drive results. Vikram creatively inspired Annie with the priceless intangible qualities that stakeholders specifically look for in CXO.
The 12 months coaching journey had a huge impact on Annie’s thinking and decision-making. She also learnt to adapt her behaviors, using practical tools to connect more powerfully with key stakeholders and senior management leading to an even stronger support and buy-in than she believed possible. Today Annie displays strong leadership gravitas while dealing with ambiguity and complexity, stays calm under pressure, and brings out the best from her varied teams. Most importantly, she has delivered on the bottom-line growth and organizational change initiatives to position the company for the next era of growth and innovation.