Nyat, the CEO of a Fortune 1000 company, needed coaching support for Mark, one of her direct reports responsible for leading a major initiative. In our initial call she described Mark as “lacking solid business executive know-how” and in dire need of stepping up results on this critical project. “Our success with this project directly impacts our revenue goals and market credibility – we cannot afford to fail.”


I spoke with Mark separately, and then together with Nyat. Through our conversations we concluded the issue was more complex than Nyat first imagined. We reframed the focus of our work, shifting from addressing an individual leadership gap to better understanding what was needed to drive this project’s success. This enabled me to hold a number of productive conversations with people Nyat and Mark identified as having knowledge of and impact on the project.


Applying targeted diagnostics revealed valuable insights about the project’s strategy, goals, stakeholder readiness, and execution. Acting on this information, Nyat and Mark aligned on an updated strategy. Mark also set up a project SWAT team comprised of key stakeholders to inform the best thinking on decisions and to support execution with their teams. This strategic alignment will enable Mark and his team to learn valuable ways of operating, as well as set them up for success in the next phase of the project.



Jon reached out to request a team building experience for a new leadership team. Jon expressed his enthusiasm for “how well everyone got along…mostly.” That statement was followed by, “Except for Steve, the Head of Sales. Steve is always quick to point out problems and makes things harder to get done.”


In our initial call I asked, “What are you hoping to solve or address through this team building?” Jon shared the need to align as a team on what leadership culture should be modeled. As a next step I spoke with everyone on the leadership team and discovered a key theme: a low level of trust amongst the team. Building trust was established as a priority to address as its absence was negatively impacting the work of the teams. Through a series of group working sessions and 1:1 conversations with the leadership team, we uncovered a long-standing rift between Jon, who had previously headed up operations, and Steve. During the group work sessions, these leaders courageously agreed to work on holding more genuine, open conversations. One breakthrough interaction in particular was especially honest and vulnerable between Jon and Steve. The mood in the team seemed to lift, and their feedback indicated this pivotal moment was a turning point for rebuilding their trust level. Together, Jon and Steve aligned on new expectations for how to operate which respected each other’s roles and also provided clarity for their teams.


Building practices on truth telling, establishing role clarity and boundaries, and doing important repair work – like Jon and Steve modeled – allowed the leadership team to significantly step up their level of performance. An important outcome of this shift in culture is that they are observing more clarity and better execution from their teams. And two years later, with his retirement just a week away, Jon shared with me that this work produced some of his proudest moments in his 30 years as an executive.

Our Actions

Conducted interviews with the team, which revealed a lack of alignment on the purpose, vision, and common goals, as well as significant interpersonal conflicts. Designed a three-team accelerator workshop to bring clarity and provide targeted support and movement toward goals. Engaged in a series of small- and large-group exercises to work through key conflicts, build trust, make strategic decisions, and recommit to a shared purpose.

The Results

Improved team effectiveness by making strategic decisions faster and building stronger partnerships aligned on the customer experience.

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