Telecom Leader Accelerates Business Growth Through Coaching
A global telecommunications provider engaged Brimstone to design and facilitate leadership development cohorts, build an inclusive global Sustainability Plan, and coach leaders across the US and Europe.
One of the leaders, the head of the organization’s US-based Operations Group, had been identified as a candidate for coaching by his manager. The leader had worked with the organization for over 15 years and had long been seen as a star performer. In recent months, however, his performance and engagement had slipped. To support the leader and show he was a valuable member of the organization, the manager asked if he would be interested in a six-month coaching engagement. The leader jumped at the opportunity.
Over six months, the leader and one of Brimstone’s executive coaches worked together to identify challenges and opportunities and explore habits and behaviors that might hinder success. Recognizing that looking at the whole person is critical, the engagement did just this.
The leader identified shared that the previous year had been challenging for him on many levels. In the wake of the George Floyd murder of May 2020, he had felt both a desire to learn more about inclusion and equity issues facing many of his employees and a concern about ‘saying or doing the wrong thing’. In addition, he had been working between 60 and 70 hours a week and felt that his workload was ‘getting away from him.’
During this period, he also became a single parent of two teenagers. He was exhausted.
The coach helped the leader to get curious about the drivers of his exhaustion. Was he working efficiently or just working hard? Was he delegating the right work to people, and did members of his team need coaching, training, and/or encouragement to take on new or challenging tasks and projects? Additionally, the coach helped the leader to reframe his view of leadership from thinking he needed to ‘do it all himself’ to the view that his role was to encourage and inspire others to grow and take on more.
This became a virtuous cycle of the empowerment, efficiency, and pride that accompanies a shared workload and a superior outcome.
The coach, an individual with a background and deep industry experience in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), also worked with the leader on DEI. They had several discussions about intention vs. impact, mindfulness, and the importance of getting curious about the bias we all carry in a myriad of forms and about not letting the occasional discomfort of dealing with differences get in the way of learning or trusting people to shine at work. Empowered by this learning, Bob attended internal DEI programs sponsored by his company and requested his HR support team to push them all hard throughout Talent Reviews and hiring practices. And, the leader began to take five minutes before team meetings to think through ways to ensure all voices and ideas were heard and valued.
Even before the six-month engagement was complete, the leader and his colleagues recognized a change. Better able to manage his time and energy, the leader was no longer exhausted. He was able to spend time with his family while at the same time increasing his engagement and productivity. Members of his team felt more comfortable speaking up and identified increased inclusivity.
One year out from the start of his coaching engagement, the leader’s group became known as a true ‘employer of choice’ in the industry. Interviews of potential candidates were conducted thoughtfully and with an eye toward inclusion. Under the leader’s stewardship, managers in his organization began to work harder to test their own assumptions and biases, working together to not automatically ‘believe everything they think.’ Efficiencies in Operations processes were also streamlined over time, in part due to the fact that the leader had begun to delegate more and more of his daily to-do list to willing and capable employees, giving him more time to ‘lift up’ and look across the process flows for waste and redundancy.
The leader recognizes the virtuous cycle initially created by his willingness to learn, to question his own practices and behaviors, and to acknowledge that he didn’t need to ‘go it alone.’ His team, his family, and the organization have all benefited from his courage and openness.