Developing Strategic Leaders capability to deliver through others

“Caroline has an ability to take you on a journey where she allows you to face difficult issues in safety and then bring to a conclusion that’s often unseen. When you get there, you get an ‘Eureka’ moment.”

Jim Macleod, Ministry of Defence

When Jim moved into a new role, he quickly identified that while his six senior managers were all excellent in their respective areas, there wasn’t a sense that the team was greater than the sum of its parts.

“Each manager was the captain of their own ship. We needed to be on the same ship supporting the captain, going in the same direction.”

Jim proposed team coaching as a way to achieve that sense of collective endeavour.

The team felt a little jaded and skeptical following previous development initiatives but this quickly disappeared in the inclusive and safe environment provided by Caroline, the team’s coach.

“You could feel my colleagues relax into it and open up. From that initial and understandable attitude of ‘What am I doing? Why am I here? I’ve got loads in my inbox’ to ‘Actually that was really helpful, well worth the time to reflect and I feel better equipped for what lies ahead’. ”

Each manager was invited to share their own insights, and Caroline posed expertly-framed questions to understand each manager and their individual and organisational wishes at a deeper level. The team quickly developed a rapport with the coach when it became there was no script, no checklist of things to cover. It was a unique approach for a unique team.

The team appreciated that they were able to co-create and collaborate their own path forward. The team came up with the desire to design their own end state. We worked together to design a better way of engaging with our staff. Previously Jim had run all the “All Team” staff meetings, but we felt it would be more effective if it was done as an executive team, not just one person. Our staff saw us as a single body, the organisation felt more unified and the feedback was really positive.

This also helped us to keep blame culture at bay - being perceived as one team made the environment more friendly, more open, one in which people were more willing to help each other out. It takes time, but those first steps set us on the right road.

"Caroline has an ability to take you on a journey where she allows you to face difficult issues in safety and then bring to a conclusion that’s often unseen. When you get there, you get an ‘Eureka’ moment. She doesn’t follow a script or give advice - she’s there to support the team, to read the room and maneuver the narrative with smart questions, so that the team can take itself to where it needs to go."