Better boardroom savvy

Boardroom Savvy Challenge

Alan* came to me because he had recently been made a partner in his firm and felt that he needed help to develop the skills to operate at Board level.

He was confident in his technical ability but felt insecure about his ability to interact strategically with the other Board members. He was also feeling stressed, which was impacting other areas of his work and family life.

What we did

In our first session we looked at Alan’s goals for the coaching, and identified that he wanted to work on reducing his stress levels. We agreed three areas to look at to address this – managing his workload, improving his work/life balance and increasing his comfort around interacting with the other partners.

We started by identifying Alan’s strengths and ways in which he could use these to get his workload under control. Every session we agreed small challenges which would encourage Alan to demonstrate that he was putting these techniques into action.

As we looked at Alan’s relationship with the other partners, we quickly identified that Alan already had all the strategic skills he needed. What was lacking was the confidence to deal with the politics of the Boardroom.

Over the course of a few sessions we worked on this, and there was a light bulb moment when Alan realised that he actually understood the other partners much better than he had thought; and could predict with some accuracy how they each would respond in certain situations! He also started to identify actions that would support the effectiveness of the Board as a whole, whilst suiting his own style of working.

The outcome

After a few months Alan’s workload management had improved and he gained confidence in his role as a partner. As a consequence his stress levels naturally started to ease which in turn enabled him to switch off more readily and to enjoy his downtime at home.

At this stage Alan recognised that he still needed encouragement to strike the right balance and support to continue the actions that would keep his workload under control and bring his leadership skills to the fore in the Boardroom. My role switched from coach to mentor, and we reduced the frequency of our sessions so Alan could continue to benefit from my on-going support.

* Client names have been changed to preserve confidentiality

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