Acuity Global Development - 2 - Executive Coaching

Executive Coaching

Mindset Change to Existing Ways of Working

Client: Insurance Services


The individual’s ambition to achieve promotion to Managing Director was the overall Coaching objective and needed a multi-pronged approach focussing on mindset change.  Identifying key strengths and development areas in the current leadership style and approach and developing strategies to increase visibility and impact with key stakeholders was essential.  The need to pro-actively manage perceptions of senior people towards this individual’s achievements, encourage the Client to step out of her comfort zone and develop a medium/long term career plan, were also required.

How the Coaching was agreed:

Sponsored by the HR Business Partner, the agreement gave the Coach access to and input from two current Line Managers plus the HR Business Partner. Six 2 hour face to face sessions over a period of six months were agreed. The Client was offered three customised Coach Profiles, selected two to have a chemistry session with and then selected their Coach. A call between the Coach and the HR Business Partner ascertained further information and context about the identified objectives. In the first session the Coach, the Client and Line Managers agreed and aligned objectives. An interim tripartite meeting was held between the Coach, the Client and the HR Business Partner to review progress. A final meeting would summarise and reflect on the objectives reached and determine a new action plan for the Client to put into operation.

Coaching Techniques/Approach used:

  • Objectives connected to the organization’s leadership competencies, extensive assessment framework for promotion to MD level were reviewed, identifying gaps or areas for development. 
  • Discussion of data from her comprehensive 360 feedback review document revealed very high scores in all areas from peers and direct reports, lower scores in some areas from her Line Managers. In particular, one of her bosses was challenging around what he perceived as her ‘soft’ style.
  • Use of Coaching questions enabled the Client to recognize that her excellent track record of delivery in highly complex and challenging situations, involving very high value transactions would not be enough to achieve promotion. She concluded that she wanted to develop her impact and influence with the most senior stakeholders.
  • The concept of Dilts logical levels was introduced. She used the sessions to explore her motivators, the beliefs and values driving her behaviors, particularly those behaviors around being modest and self-effacing, which were being misinterpreted by her bosses. When challenged to reflect on whether she was sufficiently motivated by the end goal to go outside her comfort zone and establish new behaviors, she asserted that she was.
  • The NLP exercise of ‘perceptual positions’; physically standing in the shoes of her boss, her own position and an objective third party position was used. The Client’s mindset shifted during this exercise as she saw herself through her boss’s eyes, giving her the insight and impetus to behave more assertively and directly with him.
  • The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument was used to identify the Client’s preferred styles in conflict situations. The use of the TKI framework enabled her to reflect on the behaviors of other senior individuals and the choices she has in how to behave in response. The Client’s preferred behavior is ‘collaborate’, yet she concluded that her bosses both spend much of their time in ‘compete’. She experienced a mindset shift enabling her to see that this was probably causing her bosses to view her as weak if she did not compete and fight for results in the way they do. Questioning enabled her to decide that she wanted to keep her collaborative style, but find ways to persuade her bosses that her style is both deliberate and highly effective in producing successful outcomes in the complex work she leads, involving large numbers of senior stakeholders.
  • Discussed specific meetings beforehand. She planned her approaches, made choices about how she would influence those situations and in particular ensured she took credit for her achievements
  • NLP techniques exploring how she managed her ‘state’, the beliefs and values she would draw on to be successful, ways she would reduce the impact of self-limiting beliefs, and anchoring were used to provide both support and challenge in her approach to her promotion interviews. 
  • Using a range of techniques helped her produce her medium/long term career plan. Asking: Where are you now? Where do you want to get to? How do you get there?
  • Identification of her life goals as well as career goals, using the Wheel of Life, identification of personal values, practical conversations around specific career options all proved useful.


  • Client has achieved promotion to Managing Director.
  • Client and her bosses are having more open conversations and Client explains her (deliberate) approach to situations, which is often different from the approach her bosses would take. 
  • Client has changed her behavior, mindset and approach and communicates her achievements and is taking credit for them.
  • Client has grown in stature and confidence and career plan is in place.

Benefits achieved:

  • The organization has a highly talented individual in a more senior role and is able to achieve more success at a bigger scale.
  • The organization has retained my Client.
  • The Client has increased in confidence and motivation. She has found a way to have greater influence and impact in her own way – and her new behaviors align well with her personal beliefs and values.
  • The organization has improved its diversity at a senior level with someone who works in a different way from the prevailing culture. Other senior leaders have developed a greater appreciation of the success of different styles.