Unexpected moments can trigger personal and professional transformation and have a lasting impact on an executive’s leadership practice.

Issue

Having worked in a highly structured and hierarchical organisation for 30 years where risk management was paramount, Frank had developed a tough, controlling leadership style. Frank’s ability to form effective relationships was seriously impacting his performance as a senior leader.

Action

As part of Bridges’ executive coaching program, Frank completed a diagnostic tool which showed that his behaviour was aggressive/defensive, highly perfectionistic and competitive.

A six-month program of coaching and skill development helped Frank to understand how he could improve the performance of his team. However he was finding the challenge hard going.

A breakthrough came after an interaction with this daughter. Frank tells the story:

“Arriving home from work, my daughter Peggy ran up to me excitedly to show me the card she had designed inviting friends to her eighth birthday party. Tired and without thinking, I pointed out the spelling mistakes, said that the colouring was messy and suggested that she re-do it. As I saw her crestfallen face and watched her withdraw, my heart sank and I felt sick in the stomach. Suddenly the work with the consultant fell into place.”

Impact

The next day, Frank had a team meeting. Team members nervously anticipated a negative response to their reports. However Frank was determined to put his new insight into practice.

As each member presented, Frank responded: “Excellent work, what do you want to do next and how can I support you?”

Frank noticed the immediate change within his team and was delighted.

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