What problem did Alice help you with?
I have been working with Alice as an executive coach for a number of years. We started working together when I was seeking someone to conduct a 360-feedback project for me. One of the challenges being a CEO is that it is extremely difficult to get good feedback. I wanted to know how I was doing as it related to the various audiences that I serve. I wanted to know what were my strengths as well as what were the weaknesses I needed to address.
What were the solutions Alice offered?
The feedback was gratifying in that I was perceived to have more strengths than weaknesses. But some areas did show up that I wanted to address. Alice worked with me to recognize these behaviors that were getting in the way and helped me to be a better leader of my organization.
At this time I was also restructuring my executive team, creating a new C-suite team consisting of some current organizational leaders and bringing one new hire in from outside the organization. Alice facilitated a number of offsite retreats to help the team transition from being 5 individuals each leading their own functional area to being more cognizant of how their actions and decisions affected the corporation as a whole. Through Alice’s facilitation, we were able to create a leadership structure with aligned goals and objectives.
Alice also helped us better understand how each of us was seen by the other team members. We collaboratively identified and adopted commitment to use positive behaviors with each other that would grow our team cohesiveness. She also helped us identify ways to hold each other accountable to the commitments that we made.
One of the greatest values in having someone like Alice to coach and advise me is that she provides a nonbiased, well-traveled, third party opinion on my proposed actions. I faced a number of sensitive personnel issues that Alice helped me make sure were fair and reasonable. She has helped me chart an appropriate course with troubled people.
What were the results of your working with Alice?
The senior team now understands their responsibility as team members better. This is evidenced through their willingness to engage with each other more than before. They are cognizant of the fact that discussions and decisions can’t be made in dyads but must involve the whole team. They also understand that feedback to each other must be immediate and clearly communicated. Our off sites have resulted in a common vernacular around some of our prior team challenges. We use the phrase “white out” when we struggle making decision based on a team simulation we did at an offsite. Labeling the negative behavior with a quick phrase helps us break out of it and work better together.
I have also improved on my working relationships with some team members by having Alice co-coach use together. She observes and comments on how we act with each other creating a better communication bridge between us. With Alice present to guide the conversation and to provide her observation on our interactions, I am better able to conduct difficult conversations with key staff. We are not fully there yet because team development is an on-going process. But with Alice’s continued assistance and insights we’ll get there faster than we would have otherwise.
President & CEO