2016 was our third full calendar year of operation and, as such, as good a point as any to review the types of clients with whom we are working and the nature of the assignments we are delivering.
It was a year in which our work fell largely into two categories: executive coaching and HR transformation. We also delivered team coaching & development work and some facilitation – although less of the latter than in previous years.
Executive & leadership coaching
Chelsham’s client base is diverse – however within that there are one or two clear specialisms. One of these provided a significant proportion of our work again in 2016, namely legal and other professional services firms.
Representative assignments from 2016 include:
Board member of international business: a combination of transition and leadership coaching as this impressive & charismatic player arrived into their first full Board position. Seeking to build on a track record of success, she agreed with our analysis (following an interviews-based feedback process) that there were areas of leadership which were a strength (to be maintained and built upon) whereas there were other areas where she could usefully increase his focus. Structured coaching sessions extended across a 12 month period and the coachee commented that “you can put this assignment down as a success”. Her area of the business delivered a record-breaking performance, her focus and approach had noticeably evolved and progress had been made against all agreed objectives. The business is now asking us to coach others.
Partner in major international law firm: elevation into a leadership position within the partnership had led to this individual (unnecessarily) questioning their leadership capability, with confidence issues at play (‘imposter syndrome’) and a recognition that what had made them a success ‘to date’ would not drive future success. They were also navigating various changes and no small amount of internal politics. Our work focused on devising a new leadership agenda, identifying and working to remove interference and creating the ‘best possible me’. The player has now turned in a creditable financial performance, is clear on how they want it to be around them as a leader (and what they are doing to ensure it is the case) and has worked on the various elements of interference. Profound development by/for an inspiring new leader.
Functional leader: transition coaching as this marketing & sales professional navigated from management to leadership. A period of uncertainty for him and his team – with business & market challenges thrown in for good measure. The coaching was intended to support on leadership development and we agreed to set it up as a transition into a new era. As such some of the sessions were recognisably similar to those you might find when coaching someone into a new business. Feedback: the player has successfully transitioned into leading as opposed to managing, in part evidenced by seeking and attaining a landmark promotion.
Business owner: a classic scenario where, a handful of years after start-up, a business owner and specialist is grappling with leading a business which has taken off. A variety of Inner and Outer Game points are at play as he enters into a new era. Whilst recognising the success we decided to adopt a ‘blank canvas’ approach to devising the future direction and are working through an array of business challenges relating to growth. Our role is a combination of coach, mentor and HRD.
Team development & coaching: an assignment focused on generating positive dynamics and collaborative behaviours in a newly formed team. Against a backdrop of significant business challenges they were delivering but more as individuals than as a high-performing team. Workshops were structured around a combination of facilitation, provision of content to stimulate ideas and team coaching. A step change has been observed against the agreed objectives with extremely positive feedback on Chelsham’s work.
(Note: these case studies are heavily disguised for obvious reasons.)
A range of other coaching and facilitation assignments meant it all added up to a fascinating year. As ever there was some inclusion/inclusive leadership consulting in the mix. It is, and will remain, a priority and a passion for us.
Receiving coaching supervision and ongoing CPD also featured across the year. Chelsham stands for ethics, standards & quality, achieving results and respect for boundaries – this is how we will always see coaching & consulting.
A client assignment which ended up covering seven months, running alongside our coaching & facilitation work. Tony acted as de facto HR Director for an international professional services business, working closely with and supporting the agenda of the Senior Partner.
This comprised 4 key elements:
HR functional turnaround: many of the previous team had chosen to leave and the remaining staff were lacking direction. Service levels had degenerated to an unacceptable point. The immediate focus was on rebuilding the team in line with a swiftly agreed vision of a function which would become forward thinking, service-oriented and proactive. Functional style and ways of working were prioritised – with an emphasis on relationships with key stakeholders and enabling the business.
People and HR strategies: they are two things of course, often conflated. A functional strategy was devised and delivery commenced, whilst the priority areas for a nascent people strategy were also agreed which would support the organisation’s ambitious, and challenging, business agenda. Performance management, learning, development and resourcing featured. This also included directing a refocus towards culture, behaviours and leadership to complement work which had previously been focused on systems, processes and structures.
Partnering with leaders: there had been insufficient collaboration between the function and some key stakeholders in London and other offices globally. This was rectified via rebuilding relationships, ruthlessly focusing on where HR could add value and on finding a route to solutions (to Yes rather than No) to support business priorities. A typical comment received was “we haven’t had this before – this approach to HR is new and welcome”.
Delivery of existing priority projects: following some crisp reprioritisation the team set about delivering phases of a small number of crucial people projects, some of which were in a state of disarray and/or were running behind schedule. These priorities were delivered or on track by the time the assignment ended and we handed over to the new HR leader.
Do please contact Tony Jackson on 07710 069463 should you wish to discuss how Chelsham’s coaching & consulting services might benefit you and your business.