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Developing Leadership Style - Case Study

By developing leadership and influencing management style, an

individual can be transformed, credibility increased and business
performance ignited.
Business Context

Coaching Approach

Having experienced rapid worldwide growth, an

international arts business with operations in 43
countries was undergoing a period of
consolidation due to the uncertain economic
outlook. As part of an expanded marketing team,
our client was promoted to International Head of
Marketing Strategy, a highly strategic role focused
on defining a radical and more cost-effective
marketing strategy for the organisations 85 global
offices. A major part of the role was to motivate
the rest of the team with an inspirational vision,
encouraging regional buy-in to a fundamental
global strategic shift. The clients success in such a
challenging role was wholly dependent on her
ability to engage key business leaders and

Our approached consisted of eight meetings over

the course of twelve months. It encompassed
multiple starting points that reflected the complexity
of the role and the organisational context.

The Challenge

An analysis of key business stakeholders was

undertaken, with conscious decisions made
about where time, energy and focus should be

Prior to her promotion, our client was exceptionally

effective in an operational role, with powerful
strategic and analytical skills. However, despite
delivering great results in her new role, her
passionate and exuberant nature could
sometimesby her own admissionmanifest itself
as autocracy. This leadership style would then
override the need to influence and collaborate with
others. She agreed that her effectiveness could be
enhanced by building an ability to engage the
business. Together with her line manager, the
International Marketing Director, she agreed a
number of personal objectives based on building
better personal relationships, developing a more
flexible style, listening more and delegation. These
formed the basis of our coaching, along with an
agenda to develop a talented functional expert into
an effective business manager.

Early in the process, 360 feedback was

gathered, discussed and explored to pinpoint
key strengths and weaknesses.
The client constructed a business success model
that gave her an opportunity to consider the key
business drivers and hard outcomes of the role,
and to link this to the leadership style required
to deliver results.
Critical incident coaching was used to prepare
the client to handle key situations, with a lot of
emphasis placed on review and learning.

Outcomes and actions were reviewed at each

session, with brutal honesty about successes
and failures. Learning was then discussed.
The entire programme was reviewed in the final
session, following a process where the client
gathered examples of both business and
personal impact from key stakeholders, such as
her boss and peers.
A scorecard was used to rate performance
against key objectives at the start, during and at
the end of the programme.

Developing Leadership Style continued

Business Impact
Through developing the clients management skills and influencing her leadership style, she was able to make a
significant impact on company performance, as reported by the International Marketing Director:
She operates at a new level of sophistication and skill. She has established the authority and credibility to
make change happen; she has impact and is listened to. The entire approach to marketing changed. We are
fully up-selling, cross-selling and re-activating our customers. She has created a marketing strategy rather than a
promotional strategy. The budget has gone from being a cost line into a profit line. Costs have been reduced
by 82%, and run into millions. The value of sales has gone up by 25%. She has managed to reach out to
people who otherwise would not have bought.
From the clients perspective:
The spirit of this coaching programme was one of deep understanding. We built this early and trust was
complete. The coach brought with her a hard edge of challenge. This was sometimes delivered with speed and
disarming simplicityand sometimes imperceptibly. I came to notice things that were previously unseen. She
made suggestions; she listened. Everything was discussed with deep empathy and from a position of great
care. My team is more engaged and the change of approach created the base line for me to become
responsive, listen to the business and to implement change.

Movement during coaching

Stakeholder Feedback

(1=poor, 10=excellent)


Senior level personal


However good you are, you have to engage

with the business. She operates at a new level of
sophistication and skills. Marketing experts have
come and gone but the business now listens to
her because they are comfortable with her and
how she engages Line Manager

Flexibility of style and

therefore influence

She has invested time in influencing and

persuading others and won them over to new
ways as a result

Inclusive /
collaborative style

The new approach to marketing has been

institutionally engrained within the organisation.
The data driven CRM strategy has gone from
theory to practice. We now believe it and own it
Senior Business Head

Listening and concise


Less of the machine gun verbiage


The difference between campaign XXX and

campaign YYY was noticeable and a huge
improvement because the team engaged with line

Work-life balance

Bar some exceptions I dont work weekends any

more. This was unthinkable 3 years ago

For more details please contact:

Lisa Williams

Head of Executive Coaching Practice

T: +44 (0) 7776 460604

Sheena Porter
Director, Chief Operating Officer
T: +44 (0)7831 421566

The Oxford Group