We were asked to coach a newly promoted Director in the Group Shared Services Division of a Global Financial Services Company to help her deliver a large, complex, business critical strategic project and make a success of her new leadership role.

The Challenge

Reporting directly to the Chief Finance Officer, she was tasked with transforming how financial information was processed and reported across the Group. She needed to improve her team’s management of their key internal customers, improve their ratings for customer service on the balanced scorecard and take significant cost out of the business.

Morgan Clarke’s Approach

Our Director of Coaching, Philip Perry, met with the CFO (to whom she reported progress on the strategic project) to agree the full scope, establish the business outcomes required and how these would be measured. They were:

  • Implementation of a single financial process and reporting platform across the Group within an 18 month period
  • 10% improvement on the team’s KPIs for customer service within 12 months
  • A 100 day plan detailing the key milestones on the strategic project and the resources required to ensure on-time, in-full delivery (OTIF)
  • 15% cost reduction within 12 months

We recommended two coaches from our team whose skills and experience would match the assignment. They each met with the coachee who chose her preferred coach. They then met for six face-to-face coaching sessions over a six month period, with interim telephone and email support. Regular reviews were held with the sponsor to discuss progress.

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What is Achieved

The coaching was not without difficulties for both the coach and coachee! The Director’s default position under pressure was to express her frustration in angry outbursts and blame others when things did not go as planned – including the coach who she felt wasn’t telling her what to do!

As her frustration grew, she became more directive in her leadership style. The coach used his observation of this process to help the Director understand that her underlying emotion was anxiety and to see how her behaviour could intimidate those around her and ultimately disempower them.

Through this increased self awareness, her coaching enabled her to stay calm under pressure, help her team identify the key focus areas and build upon their individual and collective strengths to overcome difficulties and work cohesively as a team.

As a result of her coaching:

  • The strategically important financial project was delivered on time, in full and within budget “The coaching helped me to successfully deliver a high profile project that was much more complex than anything I’d undertaken before”.
  • She was less involved in the operational detail and invested more time thinking and planning, which allowed her to focus on the KPI of cost reduction
  • Her senior management team learned to 'step-up' as leaders
  • Internal customer satisfaction ratings improved by more than 10%
  • The coachee felt more assured as a leader and confident in her new role


“I am a much more effective leader because I now understand and handle my anxiety better, identifying the strengths of my senior managers and let them take responsibility for delivering results through their people. I really enjoy not being overwhelmed by the operational details!”

If you face a similar challenge please contact us + 44 (0) 1306 621600 or email us at [email protected]