Coaching Senior Tech and Operations Staff
The Chief Operating Officer of an $85B private equity firm recognized the need for her senior staff to quickly increase professional skills in light of the firm's recent transition from organic growth to an aggressive acquisitions-based growth model.
Recent and projected growth put pressure on both newly-hired and existing staff to improve personal effectiveness.
The client requested individual coaching from Ann Oglanian for four key staff members--the COO, Head of Infrastructure and Information Technology, Head of Investment Operations, and Chief of Cybersecurity--to assist with their performance in light of fast-changing expectations in mission-critical functions.
We conducted an initial assessment of each person's professional mandate, as well as personal strengths and weaknesses, from multiple perspectives, including their bosses, colleagues and their own view of their performance. Together, we designed a set of targeted growth goals and a related time period for development.
During periodic one-on-one sessions, Ann and each client worked together to:
- Refine and strengthen critical interpersonal communication skills and management competencies required for effective on-the-job performance;
- Identify values, strengths, potential areas of development, and plans of action;
- Examine modes of operating in one’s personal/professional life, asking clarifying questions, and making empowering requests; and
- Maximize professional development and career planning in light of the firm's needs.
The coach and participants discussed current work, team, and organizational situations that arose during the coaching process and reviewed resources shared with each participant to support their respective coaching objectives. Ann and the participate provided progress reports to senior executive.
Each participant expanded his or her ability to contribute, and respond more quickly to the firm's extraordinary growth. Participants also shifted their own perspective about how their contributions were perceived, and were more confident in setting expectations both with their supervisors and their direct reports. Key areas of improvement included management skills, communication skills, project and vendor management, client service, risk responsiveness, and resource management. The expanded management skill set enabled them to better:
- align their teams' goals with those of the firm;
- set, manage, and measure expectations for themselves and their teams via clearer messaging and quantitative measures; and
- enhance the form, function, and tone of their executive reporting.
For example, the Chief of Cybersecurity could better manage change, measure success, and inspire collaborative and innovative service delivery from his team. The Head of Investment Operations greatly improved her ability to manage up and coach difficult employees in an assertive, effective, and respectful manner. She also increased her confidence and ability with respect to making sure her ideas were heard, and she was better positioned to manage projects and accept accountability.