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Case Studies

+Talented emotional manager to respected leader
“I sailed through what otherwise would have been difficult times.”

“I sailed through what otherwise would have been difficult times.”

What was the issue/scenario at the beginning and how did it unfold?

When I first worked with Dawn, I was new to Senior Management and we worked on developing my management style and levels of self awareness. I soon encountered some difficult management challenges and Dawn coached me through them all. These included an influential member of my new team who I had leapfrogged to Senior Management and later a grievance for bullying and harassment. Dawn helped me to manage my emotional reactions to these situations and by focussing on my levels of self-belief ensured, I sailed through what would otherwise have been difficult times.

How did you improve?

As my career has progressed, I faced many other difficult situations with a difficult new boss, a disruptive direct report, and a bullying peer and Dawn has helped me survive them all and come out the other end a stronger person.

Lately, our work has focussed more on my personal development, working on limiting beliefs and self esteem issues which impact both my personal and professional life, identifying my personal brand and somatic coaching.

How did we work together?

Dawn and I have mainly worked using quarterly 2 hour sessions. On occasion, I have contacted her by phone when seeking guidance on specific issues, and we have had one day of intense NLP activity.

What were the consequences from both a personal and business perspective?

Dawn has definitely had a huge impact on both my personal and professional life. My development from a talented but highly emotional and occasionally erratic manager to a credible, calm, respected senior manager can definitely be contributed in part to the work we have done together. From a personal point of view, she has helped me tremendously in terms of my self esteem and emotional stability.

+Increased personal impact and empathy
“I now fully embrace my style…I was able to fill my managers shoes, improve results and engagement scores.”

What was the issue/scenario at the start of our working together?

The relationship between my immediate line Manager and myself had become more challenging as the business was going through a particularly difficult time over an extended period. This coincided with my line Manager having some personal issues that contributed to a changed dynamic in our working relationship.

Due to this I wanted, and needed, to change my approach and my thinking to manage upwards differently, take on greater responsibility, and delegate more effectively. I also wanted to change the nature of the relationships I had across the wider business and create a calmer work environment.

How did you improve?

Throughout the period we worked together I learned to stand back from situations rather than ‘jump in’ to provide the solution or take on lower level actions from my Manager. This was a challenge at first, and became easier as time went on. I learned that ‘less is often more’ allowing my team, and indeed myself, to grow.

This allowed me to better utilise the skills of my team and peers more effectively, and take on more responsibility during a period where the workload increased.

I worked more proactively with stakeholders within the business. I made a conscious effort to consult with them, build more trusting relationships and allow them to see more of “me the person” rather than “me the Manager.”

To achieve this I needed to be conscious of not working longer hours and maintaining my own wellbeing. This was something I invested time in to ensure I could maintain this over the long term. I achieved a better working pattern and habits, so I could keep re-energising myself.

How did we work together?

We were able to build and establish a good relationship where I trusted you as my mentor/ coach. In the early stages, this included some self-analysis, completing the Hogan questionnaires, which was extremely insightful & helpful, and 360 feedback from key stakeholders and peers around the business.

We met numerous times over an extended period that allowed me to take stock of my progress. We discussed how I had approached previous situations and how I might best approach future situations. Your objective and unbiased view and perspective really helped including demonstrating to me the importance of how things were said and when they were said i.e., within the right environment or situation. I was able to achieve better outcomes to issues, problems and situations.

What were the consequences (benefits/tangible results) for you and the business?

My own confidence and self-belief increased significantly which allowed me to fully embrace my own style as a leader and better engage others. I now have a greater awareness of the positive and negative impact I can have on others and I’m now able to manage this more effectively.

In addition, during this period my manager was absent for several periods. The increased confidence I gained allowed me to step up to Board level, with the belief and courage that I could take on extra responsibility to the do the job my own way.

From a business perspective my staff engagement results improved with greater buy-in from my team, others around the business, and timely decision-making.

Business results improved when I was required to fully step up and ‘fill my Managers shoes.’ This then created increased confidence and trust from Board members which has helped to change their perception of the value I am able to add to our business & the role I play within the business.

+Increased gravitas and exponential team performance
“I’ve moved away from fire fighting to managing the strategic agenda.”

What was the issue/scenario at the beginning?

I had been in my role for around a year and had been told I was underperforming. I was also under considerable stress and it was obvious to me that I was not fully happy in my role. This resulted in real difficulties in communicating with my boss, team and peers and challenges in my setting the direction for the team to meet our agenda. The business just wasn’t getting what it needed from me or my team. My boss recognised that there was great technical ability however; her concerns were that I was not assertive enough or had the gravitas to have my voice heard in the business.

How did you improve?

My communication with my boss, peers and team became more focussed, decisive and action oriented. Previous ambiguities had disappeared. I was using some very simple phrases, had changed my posture, voice tone and style which really helped with my messages. People around me really noticed a difference. The results I got really helped build my confidence. I constantly reviewed what I was doing and built on what I had achieved to the point where it has become embedded in what I do on a daily basis.

How did we work together?

We worked together really well. Dawn structured the coaching sessions and we started with setting some very clear goals and measures relevant to me, the business, and my boss. Dawn suggested we involve my manager in the first meeting which I was initially concerned about, however, it was in hindsight, absolutely the right thing to do. In our initial session, we talked about posture, which felt very artificial and I did wonder whether this would work. It did! It was the right place to start. It was very practical and gave me some good building blocks to start with and some real success to build on. My peers saw a difference very quickly.

Dawn got me to check in at the beginning of each session and share my progress. I was often challenged on my thinking and Dawn’s questioning and observations were very insightful. I did have to work at what
I wanted and while there were some serious topics, we did have some fun on the way.

What were the consequences (benefits/tangible results) for you and the business?

Firstly, I am far less stressed. Secondly, I am much more structured in my approach and objective driven to deliver my agenda. Thirdly, the performance of my team has improved exponentially. They have all raised their game and morale has improved which was evidenced through our staff engagement scores.

I have moved away from fire fighting around tasks to managing a strategic agenda in a planned way. People around me know what is expected and deliver to that. My performance rating has improved and my manager has commented on the difference she has seen.  I am more confident and am sought out for advice and guidance from commercial teams in the business.

There is a greater belief and trust from the business in what we do and that we add to the business. I’m not intimidated by people any more and more willing and prepared to have face to face communications.

+Stepping into your leadership potential
“It’s been life changing…I completely changed the way I approach things and got promoted!”

What was the issue/scenario at the beginning?

I had a profound lack of self esteem and self belief.  People around me had great ambitions for me yet
I didn’t and couldn’t understand what they saw. I was always worried about whether I could do things and subsequently would put a lot of pressure on myself. I was very good at putting things off I saw as problems and would then get stressed by leaving them, which often made me irritable!

How did you improve?

I started to live again! Whilst people saw that I had potential, they didn’t see what was going on inside of me. People now see me as happy and less stressed. The biggest things I’ve noticed myself is that I don’t fear things anymore. I do still get nervous about things that are important, however I don’t get stressed, and I don’t beat myself up. I’ve learned to look at the positives and not be intimidated by senior people.

At the time, I had my coaching, I was on a development programme and at the end one of my colleagues made the following observation ‘Of everyone on this programme you are the one who has transformed the most.’

I put the majority of this down to the coaching.

How did we work together?

I was put at ease very quickly. Dawn seemed to understand where I was coming from and showed she had had experience of dealing with similar situations. This gave me great confidence and I was able to trust her very easily, which in turn allowed me to open up quickly. We had some really ‘gritty’ stuff to deal with, which at times was difficult for me; however, I also felt safe and taken care of.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have doubts at the start, and yet it worked. It’s been a life changing experience and completely changed the way I approach things.

What were the consequences for you and the business?

The biggest change is that I was promoted to a Global role. I’m now able to share my views openly and not worry about what others may think. I recognise that I have a lot of knowledge I can bring to the organisation and able to have a greater impact in meetings, influencing on important matters. I was also given a lead role on a global project and have now become the subject matter expert on this area.

I have responsibility for 12 clients worldwide, and I expect that as a result of the coaching I will be able to develop stronger relationships with these clients which will in turn directly impact the bottom line.

+Becoming a confident leader and presenter
“I became more confident, took on more responsibilities and increased my level of productivity.”

What was the issue/scenario at the beginning?

The issues were a lack of self-confidence and an inability to verbally articulate a logical train of thought
in a concise direct way. This made public speaking or interacting in a group particularly difficult to the extent that I would sometimes withdraw. As this is a core part of my job, it was a potential inhibitor to my performance and career progression.

How did you improve?

I became more confident in my own ability and aware of some techniques to use around posture and voice projection. This in turn meant I was able to take on more responsibilities and increase my level of productivity. My level of self doubt and negative self talk reduced considerably.

How did we work together?

We worked together on the basis described below.

Time-line therapy was used first which identified the cause of the factors contributing towards the major issues (e.g. embarrassment, competitiveness, and anger). It proved difficult in some situations to actually locate the initial cause; however, the benefits were immediately recognisable.

The second approach was technique-based. This entailed methods for overcoming the issues e.g. for public speaking, methods of ensuring a clear loud voice, a solid stance, shoulders back and an upright posture.

On a relationship aspect, at no point did I feel ill-at-ease and Dawn made me comfortable at all times. She quickly adapted to suit my style of meeting which is fun-based and not too regimental.
Furthermore, Dawn knew when to ‘draw the line’ and stop me when I got carried away and moved off-topic.

What were the consequences (benefits/tangible results) for you and the business?

The results of the training have been noticeable. I feel more confident in myself, my level of expertise and in dealing with unknown situations when outside of my comfort zone. In addition, I can now deliver public speeches in both personal (Readings at weddings) and business situations (presentations) calmly and with confidence.

+Culture Change in a Leading I.S. Function
“Our engagement scores increased significantly in 6 months and we made significant savings without losing productivity and delivery standards.”

What was the scenario at the beginning?

As a leadership team we had spent several months developing our strategy for the next 3-5 years. It was an ambitious programme and whilst we were clear where we wanted to be the scale of change was quite daunting. Not only were we wanting to change the way we were organised, we also wanted to be more efficient and effective which meant changing how we did things. From a structural and process perspective this was relatively straightforward even though it meant a significant amount of change. The BIG challenge was going to be how we changed the well-established behaviours across the function.

Historically any change we had attempted was incremental and evolutionary and our record on staff engagement was pretty poor. What we were embarking on was transformational and we needed to take people with us, recognising it would take 2/3 years for us to do so.

What did you do?

Our approach was to break the whole change piece into bite size chunks utilising our own team to drive the change with some external support on the organisational design piece and culture change.

The starting point on culture change was to run some focus groups to understand what people knew and what their needs and expectations were given the change we were embarking on. This was quite revealing. It informed us of where to focus our attention, around improving team meetings, one to one sessions and being more honest and transparent in our communication.

Whilst we made in roads into these areas we also introduced some change champions. Their role was to help us, the leadership team, improve how we managed and implemented the change. They became our eyes and ears on the ground.

To drive the culture change we decided that the only way to truly embed new behaviours and change was for us as a leadership team to own it. The work had to start with us.

Using an Organisational Culture and Team Inventory we were quickly able to define our existing culture using archetypes. Using the same tool we then defined our desired culture and the behaviours that went with it. The gap we then identified was significant, requiring major shifts in three areas:

  1. How we built relationships in the function, with internal customers and suppliers
  2. How we developed our people,
  3. How we brought about innovation and continually improved how we operate.

To begin the work as individuals we reviewed our own archetypal profiles to understand how we aligned to the new culture. We then identified how to utilise our strengths in support of it. This was all then translated back to our internal leadership model and development plans put in place.

Our next step was to cascade this to the next leadership level; explaining to them the changes we were looking for and getting them to develop their own development plans in support of the change. We are still working our way through this stage and will be determining what, if any, development programmes we need to put in place at this level.

How did we work together?

There was a lot of change and the leadership team were sceptical in accepting any of it in the beginning.  You were able to build the trust and support of the team and raise the issues that we needed to talk about, even if at times it was a little uncomfortable for us. Your input kept us on the straight and narrow to see this through. You were tenacious and persistent in following through and were prepared to spend time with the team individually when needed.

You personally helped me gain clarity of the culture and environment we wanted to create by structuring the conversation and asking questions that enabled me to describe it to others. The tools and techniques you used were right for us (archetypes) and you helped us link this back to our leadership model, without over burdening us with information and paperwork.

You were always there when we needed you and you would get involved where you thought we needed additional support, even if it was not strictly part of your assignment. You were easy to deal with.

What were the consequences (benefits/tangible results) for you and the business?

One of the real benefits was we were able to quickly identify the ‘from’ and ‘to’ requirements in culture and behaviour. It was then easy to really understand what would be the same, and also what would be different. It’s not been easy and I have had to consciously change the way I lead.

The reward has been seeing people rise to the challenge, particularly at more junior levels in the organisation, and seeing our engagement scores increase significantly in a 6 month period.

The change we initiated in terms of structure and process has resulted in substantial savings without any loss in productivity or delivery standards.

What I have personally learned is that you need to make time for this sort of change and you need to be ‘up for it’. It’s not yet finished. My guess is we are about half way through and it may well be an ongoing journey as we continually grow and evolve.

+Organisational Development in the 3rd Sector
“I have a more co-ordinated team who understands our values…we’ve grown the market, raised our profile on the national stage and continued to grow!”

What was the scenario at the beginning?

I was a trustee of a small family led brain tumour charity and was in regular contact with similar charities in the UK. Through some informal conversations we’d recognised that there was an opportunity for us to work better together to make a real difference for our cause.

I realised that we needed to develop a collective vision and quickly recognised this would be best accomplished if we used an external facilitator. I introduced Dawn into the equation as I had worked with her previously and knew she would be good. Our initial meeting included a number of small disparate charities and it meant we needed to coordinate to work together in a way that would allow us to see what we could do collectively on the National stage.

Subsequently we launched a new charity, Brain Tumour Research in 2009, led by representatives of many of the charities.  This charity has grown rapidly. When I began to establish a team I decided I wanted the organisation to stand out from the crowd. In my career I’ve benefited from personal development and wanted to incorporate this into the organisation, so I continually develop the team and run regular team development days.

What did you do?

A national charity in our own right, we also campaign with over twenty member charities.  Initially we developed a two-day workshop with the member charities that allowed us to have a common purpose. Since then we have organised annual events which have allowed us to build trust, share expertise and agree a way forward which everyone buys into.

I know the member charities trust me, and each other. They feel safe and recognise that we are working together towards a common goal. Each charity has their own geographical area and a unique offer, so whilst there may be some competition, the boundaries are quite clear.

When I got to the stage of recruiting and developing a team I wanted to establish a set of values that would support the charities Mission and Vision. Dawn helped me clarify these and subsequently develop a set of competencies that I now use when recruiting and during the annual appraisal process.

Since establishing my team I’ve run regular development days, facilitated by Dawn that support the team in embedding our Vision and Values as well as providing theories that help aid their understanding.

How did we work together?

Dawn has always spent time taking a brief from me to understand my needs and the outcomes I want to achieve on every assignment. We have always been very open and honest with each other. We have talked through the current issues and challenges that I’m facing, which has helped Dawn go away to develop a workshop and agenda that has delivered on my expectations.

In my role I have a duty of care to the charity to ensure everything we do is in line with the objectives and purpose of the charity.  I can trust Dawn to deliver on the day and when I’m in the workshops I am happy to play the role of a delegate as I know she will always check in to ensure things are on track and if they are not will always give me options to work with.

I know I can use Dawn as a sounding board if I have any doubts or concerns and she is also prepared to challenge my thinking.

What were the consequences (benefits/tangible results) for you and the business?

Our relationship enables me personally to share my aspirations with Dawn which she translates in a way that provides a forum to build trust with the member charities or the team as relevant and gets buy in.

I have a more coordinated team that work together more effectively and understand our values. Member charities trust each other, comfortable to signpost to each other and work together which has enabled us to grow the market for brain tumour fundraising and to raise our profile on the national stage, involving joint awareness and fundraising campaigns such as our annual ‘Wear A Hat Day’ and lobbying MPs including holding events in the Houses of Parliament.

Everyone is clear about our Mission and Vision and I am now focusing on the more strategic issues as we continue to grow!!

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