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Case Story: Preparing for the Next Level of Leadership via Executive Coaching

by TLD Group

At any organization, change is inevitable — and necessary! Whether team members retire or take on new positions, it’s natural to expect roles to change over time as a product of growth. While change is the only constant, it can still create setbacks for both the individual and organization when those stepping up to take on new responsibilities, and those that will be impacted by the change, are not properly prepared.

When moving onto next-level leadership, executive coaching is the perfect tool to elevate existing skills, improve any areas of opportunity, and work toward a meaningful definition of leadership success supported by an action plan. Utilizing executive coaching as a development strategy to support succession can help ensure the entire transition process goes smoothly for all involved. 

We recently helped a client prepare to step into a leadership role through our executive coaching services. One of our expert coaches worked with our client to evaluate her background, skills, experiences, areas of expertise, and future goals to develop the skills necessary to position her for her next role. In this case story, we’re sharing the details of our work with the client and her success through executive coaching.

Preparing for a Step-Up in Leadership with Executive Coaching

Our client’s consistent performance and success as VP, Finance, coupled with her desire to move into a C-suite operations role, put her on the succession plan for the COO position. With the COO’s impending retirement, our client’s current boss, the CFO,  and other superiors within the organization agreed our client could be a great fit for the COO role. They also agreed that to best position her for success they would provide development support. The organization engaged TLD Group to conduct a thorough assessment, create a development action plan, and provide executive coaching for her potential succession to the COO role.  

Through in-depth interviews with our client’s current and future stakeholders as well as psychometric assessments of her leadership strengths and gaps in relation to the role of COO, TLD Group’s selected executive coach and the client created a plan to amplify her overall executive presence and operational “know-how.” We focused on helping her to use techniques such as active listening and reflective questions to shift her mindset from one of “finance expert” to operational leader and approach problems from a learner’s mindset. Our goal was to develop her leadership skills as well as those of her inherited team, along with identifying and creating strategies to thwart any potential blind spots.

Working One-on-One to Develop Key Leadership Skills

The executive coaching process began with understanding the organization’s mission, vision, values, and strategic priorities. This enabled the coaching to be aligned to cultural norms and organizational/department goals (aka coaching in the context of the organization). For our client, we then assessed elements of her background, experiences, and personal values, traits, and attributes to identify aspects of her personality and leadership style that was either aligned to or inconsistent with the type of leader she was striving to be in her new role. Together, we used this information to craft a North Star Statement to guide the coaching goals. 

Along with meeting with our client one-on-one, we spoke to her current and future manager, peers, and team members to gain a better sense of her relationship strengths and leadership interactions at work. Paired with her Hogan Assessment, we identified her strengths, leadership style, and any areas in need of improvement to ready her for promotion. 

With all of the necessary information collected, we worked with our client to set realistic goals and begin implementing behaviors to accomplish them. Primarily, we focused on helping her shift from working as a high professional, one with subject matter expertise in finance, to a high collaborator, one focused on co-creation of both strategy and execution plans within the broader organization. Whereas she had been working to execute financial plans and processes, she needed to shift toward leading with vision and strategic thinking. It was time to pass finance on to someone new and step into an operational leadership role.


Throughout the engagement, we assessed progress against the coaching goals through triad meetings with the client’s current and future manager and HR partner. These triads were focused on progress and ensuring our client’s goals and priorities were aligned with her new role within the organization. Our expert coaching helped her to transition into the high-quality COO and leader she was ready to be.

Final Thoughts

Executive coaching helped our client to develop her leadership skills and not only enter her new role prepared, but also make the transition confidently. Her high praise of her coach, overall experience, and organizational results indicate just how important executive coaching was to her latest career move. 

Executive coaching is the perfect tool for developing leaders for succession. Get in touch with us and see how taking on organizational change with our expert coaching can make all the difference.

Topics: Leadership Development, Leadership, Leadership Resources, Executive Coaching, Women's Leadership

TLD Group

Written by TLD Group