Case Studies

Coaching interventions are occurring in increasingly busy, complex, ambiguous and paradoxical business environments. Consequently a clear evaluation of their impact can be blurred by other variables. However, the following are based on assessments given by business people like you, who have experienced the benefits of Aspecture coaching on an individual, team or custom initiative. See also  'Inspiring Stories Using NLP'.

Individual Coaching

Sales Director, Outsourcing Industry

An executive coaching client had been with a £2.5Bn FTSE 100 company for a number of years as Group Sales Director. He had developed tremendous respect around the globe for contributions in the sales process. The spotlight on this experience meant that the client’s operational and strategic contributions were often overlooked.  Additionally, a tremendously positive and jocular persona meant that the client was experiencing a promotional glass ceiling, being described as “needing more gravitas”.

By gathering feedback, it became evident how the client was ‘pigeonholed’, leading to frustration on his behalf at unfulfilled potential.  It was also clear from some of the other comments that there were other areas on which he needed to work.  During the initial one-to-one meetings, some ‘big picture’ issues were also examined to establish what provided the client with purpose.

This reflective process then led into an action phase where the client began presenting himself differently and decided to move sideways into an operational turn round role. The client has subsequently been promoted into a significantly more senior role.  

At the end of the coaching programme, the client completed a questionnaire and was asked to rate various aspects of the programme.  The ratings included 9/10 scores for the quality of the coaching, the way the client has handled new challenges, and the enjoyment of the coaching. The client would highly recommend Malcolm to any colleagues looking for an external coaching programme. 

The changes were not only subjective. Feedback from the CEO included the telling phrase, “Now when he speaks, I listen”.


MD, Capital Investment Division

Engaged to work with the Managing Director of a Capital Investments business in October 2006. The MD came with a blue chip track record of success and brought to his roles significant personal and technical qualities.  However, as often happens in careers, strengths can start to hold people back as success formulae or methods of operation that have worked in a career to date become inappropriate for new circumstances.  His success had been built on having an eye for detail, commercial creativity and the one who would get things done.

Part of the coaching process adopted with the MD was to gather 360 degree feedback from peers, colleagues and managers.  His feedback was very complimentary to him as a leader and his technical competence was highlighted from several of his colleagues.  However, it was clear from some of the other comments the areas that he needed to work on.  These included; having more confidence in his own ability, spending less time on the detail, delegating more, engaging more with the rest of the business and becoming less of a specialist and more of a generalist and a need to move from being a manager to being a leader.

 At the MD’s first coaching session with Malcolm, they discussed the 360 degree feedback. Each area was looked at and a combination of approaches were discussed that could be used in the coaching.  He then gave the MD some practical tools and techniques to use to help with some of the areas that needed to be addressed.  After each coaching session, Malcolm sent through follow up notes to remind the coachee of the actions that were discussed and he also sent through useful articles for reading between sessions. 

During the coaching sessions Malcolm helped the MD reframe his beliefs and motivations, provided reflection time and assisted him with some action planning. 

The MD completed his coaching programme and is already gaining greater clarity about engaging people in a mature corporate environment.  He is also delegating more work to his team leaving him more time to focus on the strategic issues of the business and inspirational leadership.  He has recently been promoted on to the Global Management Team, which he attributes to the changes he made as a result of the coaching.


Pan European Supply Chain Provider

Working with a Pan-European supply chain solutions provider, with operations in seven countries across Europe, employing around 7,200 people,  working in partnership with many major blue chip companies in the Chemical, Consumer Goods, Industrial and Retail sectors.

Strategically, the company realised that to maintain their market differentiation in a commoditised industry, it was essential that their people were consistently motivated and developed – difficult in a low skills, low margin environment. They also knew that training alone would not be enough to achieve this.  They decided to source a coach who would understand the company  direction and to be able to develop their key leaders, who could in turn engage the discretionary effort of their employees. 

“As soon as I started to discuss the company’s future plans for growth and development and the changes that our key people would have to adapt to, I knew immediately that Malcolm understood what was needed to be done to help us get there”  said their CEO.

Malcolm initially worked with two members of the leadership team.  360-degree feedback was gathered on each individual, and was used as a key part of their coaching. All the coaching sessions took place in a confidential environment away from the office on a one-to-one basis and the two members of the management team were also encouraged to maintain contact with Malcolm in between sessions to allow the programme to become an ongoing period of learning and growth.   After just a few months, when the business realised the impact that the coaching was having on these individuals, they extended the programme to include a further four senior managers.

Each of the managers who were coached reported being extremely pleased with the improvement in their individual performance and the CEO said he consequently had a cohesive, self-aware and empowered management team. Engagement with the business continued for around 7 years.


Leadership Team Coaching

European HR board, Leading Global Technology & Engineering Company. 

The organisation had recently implemented a global restructuring to make it a more streamlined and closer to its markets. This involved some tough decisions on implementation of structure and organisation, which included HR.

Coming out of one restructuring meant heading into another. Consequently individuals were highly committed, working exceptionally hard but as a group not 'world class.'

Malcolm was asked to work with the team and started with a process for 360 verbal feedback between the team members. This gave people a truer fix of how their contributions were perceived and areas for improvement. A subsequent set of structured interviews gave some data on how the group were working as a team, both behaviourally and on tasks......

One to one coaching sessions were set up to support the individual members as they worked through their feedback. This contributed significantly to levels of contribution and in some cases lead to radically different approaches.

Output include a different way of working together (more open and productive) a different type of deliverable to their teams and different points of input to the business.

Sessions are currently ongoing.


Care Company Leadership Team

A division of a major UK based care company, delivering in an increasingly commoditised market, was undergoing massive change at a market, funding, legislative, customer and delivery levels. The board had all worked in care for a number of years so were steeped in previous ways of doing things and were also experiencing significant pressure from their PE owners.

A set of board meetings backed up with individual coaching examining present ways of working led to the realisation that they were operating at a reactive and tactical level and not a proactive and strategic level. The resultant change in their focus led to a gap between their contribution levels and those of their direct reports. 

A subsequent tailored programme of one to ones and group training/coaching days for the approx 30 wider leadership team were delivered to enable the reports to up their level of contribution.

Outputs included better strategic vision and cohesion from the board and direct reports who felt valued and empowered to resolve crises without the board piling in; development of a coaching culture meant that low paid employees were starting to feel more valued.


NHS Hospital Trust Board

Working with the leadership board of an NHS Trust going through a period of significant and sustained change, both self generated (by the board) and centrally driven (by the NHS), which required change in procedure, culture and attitudes.

The Hospital approached Malcolm to work with twelve of its Executive and Clinical Directors, to enable them to deliver these changes and reinforce the culture change throughout the organisation. The HRD realised that Executive Coaching for these key members was crucial to build on their individual profiles, develop a cohesive board and ensure the future long term success of the Trust as a whole. Malcolm’s solution was a combination of one-to-one coaching and plenary sessions for the Executive Leadership Team.  Operational imperatives within the hospital meant that sessions had to be short, sharp and focussed. From these sessions board members were able to realise both the positive and negative impact they were having on the organisation - both individually and collectively, as a 'misfiring' board.

As the Trust was keen to gain some feedback from the Executives to measure Return on Expectation. They asked the Executive how the process had helped them as individuals, and as a board.

All the respondees rated their coaching programme as good to excellent.  All achieved their objectives and felt they were able to apply what they had learnt. Specific verbatim responses from board members included:

"It has made me feel more confident as a result of discussing my personal development and difficult areas of work."

"Great opportunity to share views and ideas in a confidential environment."

"Opportunity to discuss concerns with an independent person."

"Personal approach tailored to the individual."

"Focussed sessions, designed around me."

“The whole programme has been excellent”


Entertainment Industry Leadership Team

 Worked with the UK board of an International Entertainment Industry company. The board had a combination of new appointees (including a Financial Controller who was not being promoted to FD for various behavioural reasons) and longer term appointees. Additionally they were not working cohesively. This was apparent to the staff, who were consequently also displaying inappropriate behaviour.

A combination of one to one meetings and an offsite team build were used to a) enable the board to reflect on the impact they were having on the business and b) to develop new ways of working both as a team and individually. 

For one member in particular it had a profound effect at a personal as well as business level. The MD was delighted with the outcomes, promoted the Financial Controllerto Finance Director, and after settling the board in (helped by a follow up 6 month off site) was promoted to a Global role based in the USA.


Custom Programmes

International Equipment Hire Company

Working in UK division of one of the world’s largest equipment hire companies, during a period of organic and aquisitional growth. Worked with the finance division in three distinct phases:- One-to-one Executive Coaching for the finance leadership team, a Cultural Change programme and an E-Learning programme for the rising stars.

The FD was implementing wholesale change in the finance division which was putting pressures on all staff. The division had reached a stage where they needed to pull together the procedural changes and overlay a cultural change programme.

The FD had been working with Malcolm on a one-to-one basis as his executive coach and ‘benefitted immensely from the work’.   Malcolm then worked with the finance leadership team in a variety of workshops and one to one sessions to develop a set of departmental values and a cultural change programme to support this. The values, which underpin the ‘Making A Difference’ vision, were launched in an entertaining way at their finance conference by the management team. This was backed up with a range of marketing collateral and re-designed appraisal process to incorporate the values into the appraisal system. Other initiatives rewarded appropriate behaviours on a formal and informal basis.

An E-Learning programme was provided for 10 rising stars, a combination of on line and one to one activities which enabled them to focus on their personal and corporate goals.  

The finance division was consequently more able to deal with subsequent change initiatives, and raised its levels of performance to become far more customer centric and efficient, improve working relationships and measure appropriate behaviours. In fact, it was referred to as having led the cultural changes within the organisation.


Entertainment Industry

Household name international entertainments & electronics business. Time differences as well as cultural and strategic differences with the west coast based head office were causing disengagement amongst many European staff. Solution included 'drop in' coaching sessions for mid- senior leaders across the European organisation. Additionally workshops on the ability to live with complexity,  ambiguity and paradox improved engagement and slowed down staff turnover.


European Leadership Team, Network Technology Company

Engaged by the VP, EMEA for a worldwide provider of hi tech equipment for performing analysis on new technology network equipment. The company needed to transition from an engineering and technically driven organisation to a sales driven one, selling conceptually at a board level within customers.

The first engagement was to work with two of the company’s Country Managers who were managing the operations of entire countries. The first was running one of the largest European offices, but was losing the respective of his staff.

Part of the approach was to gather  3600 feedback.  This allows Malcolm to understand what immediate issues are to be addressed.  In the case of this manager, the feedback was extremely poor and a first task was to work with him on some behavioural issues to regain the respect of his staff.

After just a few one to one sessions with Malcolm, it was clear that he was deriving great benefit from the coaching and his attitude and style dramatically changed.  “He was a lot more positive, his inter-personal skills changed and he became likeable and easy to get along with.  After he had completed the coaching programme, I was so impressed with the changes and increase in productivity that I promoted him to manage the Middle East.  Since he took up this role, we have seen a 50% growth in business there”, said the EMEA VP. 

The other manager was exceptionally good but was heading towards ‘burn-out’.  He was very stress-orientated and needed strategies to cope with it. His time management was also poor and he was struggling to prioritise.  Malcolm worked with him for 12 months, leading to a significant improvement in performance and helping him to understand his priorities. The VP said that Malcolm had taken the ‘raw meat’ and developed him into a senior manager of high competence.  Having worked very much as an individual, this manager is now successfully managing a team of 10-11 staff”.

Subsequent European team workshops focused on psychometric reports, self awareness and working in a cohesive fashion, which meant the leadership team was better able to cope with disruptive changes facing both the industry and their structure.

The VP subsequently reported to the Global board that “This whole exercise has proved to us that executive coaching can help increase productivity, reduce stress levels in individuals and improve their quality of life both in the office and at a personal level.  The hardest thing is choosing which individuals to select for this valuable and life changing exercise”.


Future Leaders, International Financial Services Business

A three year programme to develop 18 potential future leaders from across Europe in a financial services business. The process to date has included a competency based structured interview, two one day offsite courses with full leadership training material, a two day offset programme run with associates including outward bound activities, assessment and team based activities and an ongoing series of one to one coaching sessions. 

The programme is ongoing and receiving excellent ratings and feedback from the owners and participants.


See also  'Success Inspiring Stories Using NLP'


These are just a sample of many Aspecture case studies. If you would like further information, please contact us at +44 (0) 1932 267597.