The following story was described by Margaret Butteriss, senior vice president and regional coaching leader in the northeast United States, with Right Management.

Client: An environmental services organization.

Problem: A high-potential female leader who was successful in her role at the branch level was promoted to president of a global business unit. Within nine months in this new position, she was performing very poorly.

Diagnosis: The newly promoted president's failure resulted from poor communication, indecision, and a lack of clear understanding about where the business was strategically moving.

Method/Tools: Senior leadership decided to hire a coach for the president. They chose a group of coaches who they thought would be effective mentors. They allowed the president to review the coaches' biographies and choose one, and they also provided her with specific priorities and expectations for the coaching relationship.

The organization then conducted an assessment using an online 360-degree feedback tool and one-on-one 360 interviews. These tools provided specific information from the woman's supervisor, peers, and direct reports regarding her strengths, weaknesses, and needs for improvement, which included the need to set a clear vision for the organization, establish a strategy, communicate effectively, and delegate to her team.


Solution: Several outcomes resulted from the assessment and interviews. First, the president worked with her coach, team, and an internal facilitator over the course of six months to create a clear strategy for her business unit. She then effectively articulated to the executive team, her employees, and clients the direction in which the business was moving.

In addition, the coach taught the president specific leadership skills such as delegation, team building, and communication. The coach regularly informed the president's supervisor of her progress. At the end of six months, the informal 360 process was conducted again, and the feedback was phenomenal.

End Result: This president's business unit is now the most successful of all global business units. Her employees' engagement scores have also increased, and people view her as a visionary leader.