Client brief: This client specialises in Financial Services. A middle-size organisation with a good track record and an agile and reactive support function, it knew its space in the industry well. The HR Director called us because he was struggling with two problems that he couldn’t find solutions for. To start with, the Finance Director was becoming extremely disorganised, especially with their time management, and seemed to be rapidly losing their confidence. As well as this, board meetings were becoming fractious, with board members not sharing information as openly with each other as they used to. It looked to us that team processes had got stuck in numerous ways. 

What we did: With my colleague, we started by interviewing the HR Director, to appraise the context and situation complexity. In other words, we were looking at 'what kind of problems are we dealing with?' My colleague and I rapidly identified that the problem was twofold: the Finance Director needed individual coaching, but the board of directors needed team coaching. 

The individual coaching needed someone that could work with the Finance Director from the perspective we approach all of our coaching: ‘coaching for change’. Since we have strong partnerships in place with numerous highly-qualified coaches, we were able to immediately match him with someone that could help support him with his loss of self-confidence and self-organisation. 

The team coaching session was driven by us. We found out that the Board of Directors did not react collectively as problems came up; instead, everyone behaved much like a ‘soloist’. Having seen that the board didn’t work as a system, we worked intensely alongside them, facilitating their realisation that their strength lay in working with a systemic process; this was the place they had to arrive at. We ran 7 coaching sessions over a year-long period and were present at board meetings to help them progress towards their objectives and outcomes, acting as facilitators, not advisors. 

Outcome: The individual coach did an excellent job with the Finance Director, who started to be more self-confident and more positive-thinking oriented and capable with problems as they came up. We helped the CEO regain his leadership, and strengthened a dialogue-based co-operative working approach with the Board. They used their strengths to create a strong board, managed through a systemic approach. Through our work, they learned a great deal about themselves; and through this, they could work better with each other.