Case Study 4

A $5B Annual Revenue Retail Company, Publicly Traded on the NYSE

This coaching initiative was to develop readiness of an IT Director to take on an executive role. The initiative focused on strategic thinking and collaboration. Results of a 360 assessment and interviews with key stakeholders indicated that the Director demonstrated excellent internal customer service skills and high technical expertise. However, others did not see him as taking a strategic approach to business issues.  IT peers saw the Director as technically competent, but felt his collaboration with other IT teams was limited.

The Director, his direct supervisor and the coach agreed upon the following objectives: (1) Identify a strategic opportunity within The Director’s area of responsibility, design a solution, implement it and communicate the impact; and, (2) Increase collaboration with other IT functional areas.

Initial coaching revealed that the Director focused on internal customer service, increasing his technical expertise and developing his direct reports.  He realized he could be more effective by shifting from tactics to strategy.  He also recognized that his direct reports were following his lead, focusing on customers outside of the IT department, but not considering how to work with their peers within IT.  By considering organization objectives and how the organization communicates quantitative information, the Director identified an opportunity to reduce response time in a critical area of the business. He evaluated the historical success rates of current methods and researched industry best practices. He developed and implemented a plan using metrics and language consistent with that used by business operations.

Coaching to support collaboration within the department explored how the Director built successful relationships across the organization and how these practices could be applied to his relationships with IT peers. The Director met with his IT peers and shared his collaboration objectives. He and his IT peers identified means for their teams to share information and work together more effectively.

The outcomes of this coaching engagement were very positive. The Director achieved a significant reduction in response time (his strategic opportunity).  The articulation of these results and their impact in terms the business valued helped the Director and his boss showcase his strategic approach to this issue. Additionally, employee engagement survey and 360 results showed an improvement in cross functional collaboration with his team and the other IT departments. Within a year of the coaching completion, the Director was promoted to a VP role.