Becoming a Team Player

Director of Internal Audit, Retail Industry

Suit of Armor
The CEO saw the potential in one of his leaders and valued her knowledge and experience, but felt that most people needed a suit of armor to approach her with issues, questions, or requests. So, the CEO offered Andrea’s coaching services as a means of helping the client achieve the next level of her professional development. Despite the positive context, the client was initially taken aback and wondered, “What’s wrong with me?”

Self-Reflection
After reflecting on the CEO’s suggestion, the client realized that there wasn’t anything “wrong” with her, but there could be some real benefit to working with a coach. The coaching process began with a thoughtful analysis of specific interactions the client had experienced with team members. Andrea helped her take a step back and see how her own behavior could influence other people. Together, Andrea and the client examined some of the feelings and assumptions that were driving her behavior. At the core of most situations, the client was her own harshest critic, and drove herself quite hard. For example, in a situation where the client was not invited to a key meeting, Andrea helped her think through some possible reasons why she was not invited, and coached her through constructive comments that the client could use to respond to the situation. In the past, this client would have assumed the worst-case scenario. Andrea’s coaching showed her that she could in fact think outside the box labeled, “worst-case scenario.” Through role-playing, Andrea helped this client practice her approach to working through specific workplace scenarios.

Emerging Opportunities
As the client gained insight into her own behaviors, she began to manage her department in a more collaborative fashion. In fact, based on positive feedback from team members, the CEO asked the client to direct the internal audit department. This meant that the client would be working with senior partners from an external auditing firm, and would be managing a very aggressive time line. The company successfully navigated the audit process, and the CEO made a point of stating that the client’s collaborative leadership approach was critical to their success. This feather in the client’s cap bolstered her confidence and demonstrated that she had in fact taken her professional life to the next level.

Client quote, “Andrea showed me how to see myself through other people’s eyes, and helped me build confidence in myself as a leader.”