Coaching the New Chief Operating Officer
Change is always a challenge when you are comfortable in a position that you are good at. For the Financial Director of an international company who had recently been promoted to COO, he became responsible for resolving standards and performance issues in a core part of the business that had not been his previously.
Coaching in this case was acting as a sounding board for the challenges discovered, and being someone to share and discuss leadership options with, from outside the company, but close to the business. When it became evident that major changes were necessary, the coaching focus became more immediate, and the planned action resulting became more specific.
Part of the Coach’s role in this situation was to help maintain a strategic view, to allow some frustration to be vented, but bring every conversation to the practical positive steps that could be taken to address, or move forward the situations discussed.
Coaching for Succession into an MD Role
Preparing the Operations Director of small retail group to take on her planned succession into the role of Managing Director took a couple of years of coaching and support, before and after the promotion.
Already well trained in senior management through our Professional Manager Development programme, and a course with the Institute of Directors, the challenge was to understand job and the company leadership aspect of the role. The challenges included changing focus from day to day operations to strategic planning, the need to re-evaluate personal time use, and the new expectations of the Management team and Staff.
Moving from a hands-on problem identifier and solver role, to a hands-off developer and enabler of managers and decision makers was not a straightforward journey. The coaching process involved questioning, listening, gentle but honest challenging and a thorough exploration of alternative strategies, approaches to issues, and behaviour.
The outcome we aimed for was clear at the outset, but the scope of the development required evolved and was dealt with issue by issue. Constant changes and business challenges during the same period became live case studies to work on as her skill, confidence and stature in the role grew.