From technical expert to strategic leader - CASE STUDY

Issue: The Problem

A member of a senior executive team (direct report to CEO) was experiencing difficultly in taking up her strategic role as a leader of a large division. She found herself being drawn into the technical details of the division which were familiar and comfortable. There was a lack of delegation and empowerment of team members. As a new member of the executive team she was also experiencing difficultly in fully grasping her role and how to be effective in this new environment.

Ideas: Our Thinking

The shift into a strategic and executive role requires adjustment. Some of the skills and capabilities that have lead to success need to be retired in order to be effective in the new role. This transition can be confusing. New executives often struggle to define their primary tasks, how they make a difference and what skills they need to develop for the role.

We recommended a 12 session coaching program to understand, design and take up their work role in more effective ways. 

Innovation: What We Did

The coaching program began with a series of role clarity sessions using role drawings, role biography and role history.

These techniques allow the coachee to

  • explore their strengths
  • recognise how they have taken up roles in particular ways (i.e. as technical expert)
  • define what is required in the new role

During this process the client fundamentally re-defined how to add value in her role. The coaching program then shifted direction to supporting her to take up her authority as a leader and to let go of a previous focus that no longer served her.

The client now uses the coach once every 6-8 weeks as a way of maintaining her key learnings.

Impact: The effect

In the process of gaining new role clarity, many of the behaviours attributed to her (i.e. micro manager, directive, and perfectionist) fell away. The coaching program proved very successful in created change by focussing on the role rather than the behaviour.

The shift into a strategic and executive role requires adjustment.

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