How coaching creates value for Executive on boarding ?

How coaching creates value for Executive on boarding ? Coaching sessions are very supportive when on boarding in an Executive Board: decoding environment, providing broader view on new stakeholders, establishing priorities, positioning oneself appropriately… You have recently been nominated in an Executive Board? What are your challenges today?

Here is an executive story that may talk about you…Manfred has been nominated for the first time at the ExCo (Executive Commmittee) of his department in an International bank. It is a major step for him and it will give him bigger visibility as well as many challenges…


« My recent nomination was quite a surprise. Even if my expertise was appreciated within the group, I was not expecting it that early! It is a very big step for me and I wonder if I am the right person and if I deserve such a position … It will be my first time in a ExCo at that level and I will have to represent the Legal department in some key governance bodies. I will have to deal directly with the CEO of the group… and with our external regulators in a strategic moment for my Bank. This will make me very visible. I will have to position myself in the ExCO, I will face the challenge of managing my ex-colleagues, who are now my direct reports. I can easily imagine that some of them will not be very happy, since they were probably aspiring to this position and wonder why I have been chosen instead of them… 

 I have to rapidly gain credibility on technical subjects I hardly know about but also on some very touchy and political issues I have always tried to avoid… Many of my colleagues would have been technically more qualified and others are certainly more adept at political games ….
How can I deal with this new situation while remaining true to myself and maintaining good relationships with my former colleagues?”

Challenges and difficulties

The key issue for Manfred is accepting his nomination at this new position and feeling that he has a right to it. He will have to understand the new « codes » of this Executive Board and adapt his behavior and communication accordingly. He will also have to deal with the most influential Leaders of the company. Moreover he will need to quickly adopt an appropriate communication style. At the same, he will have to overcome his fear of losing the friendly relations he used to have with most of his peers. He had always been considered an excellent technical expert! This will be no longer the case, he will have to behave as a leader with a strategic perspective rather than detailed technical explanations. Last but not least, he will have to fully overcome his fear of not being reliable and capable of facing the challenge.

Systemic understanding

The first 100 days in a new Executive Committee or Board are always a touchy moment! Coaching sessions are the key to getting rid of loneliness even when one is already a member of an Exco. Many things are at stake, such as decoding of weak signals in the new environment, identifying key drivers of the ExCo’s members and other strategic influencers.

Coaching encourages stepping back and confronting different points of view thanks to the contribution of an outsider’s eye who can examine the situation objectively.

Coaching creates value for Executive on boarding as in Manfred’s situation:  

  • Decoding environment: stepping back and reflecting on the environment and on new stakeholders, identifying opportunities and points of attention to create trustful relationships and alliances with ExCo members
  • Establishing priorities to obtain a short term potential impact
    • Installing own credibility at all levels
    • Building/mobilizing his own team to get engagement and technical support on key topics in order to be able to delegate appropriately
  • Positioning himself in the right manner
    • Valuing his strengths and uniqueness, developing his political intelligence
    • Combining observations and assertiveness during the EX CO and other strategic committee meetings
  • Taking care of himself
    • Understanding how to manage pressure and stress
    • Allowing intuition as well as emotional Intelligence to be activated
    • Reflecting on his own values, motivations and aspirations
    • Taking bold action to lead the appropriate changes he would have to undertake or overlook

Coaching work and impact

Coaching creates value for Executive on boarding at 4 levels are at stake at the same time

  • Personal level : position and legitimize yourself as a leader, manage your emotions and master your communication at the right level (avoid the details you used to focus on as an expert). A typical challenge is overcoming the « imposter syndrome”
  • Management level: install constructive dynamics with your employees, pay attention to both coherence and cohesion
  • Strategic level: this is the appropriate moment to embed or renew a strategic vision and create positive dynamics around it; as a Leader you are expected to provide the conditions for a meaningful engagement and a clear direction. As a Leader, you are also expected to prepare the future and add value to your N+1 and the Board you have just joined ; a key success factor will be accurately mapping the stakeholders around you and their stakes
  • Operational and organizational level: alignment and coherence within your organization will be under observation during your first year, decisions will have to be fully coherent with strategy and the choice of the right persons around you will be the key to your success as well as the governance rules you will set up from the beginning

Coach’s recommendations to make sure coaching creates value for your Executive on boarding

When onboarding a new Executive Committee or a new function as a Leader, the main challenges are:

  • Rapidly adopting some types of behavior appropriate for a new leader and stopping those which are no longer effective (such over controlling everything, over justifying actions, giving many technical details, …)
  • Making sure that you understand properly the environment and the stakeholders’ landscape
  • Defining your strategic guidelines and its expected impact with 100-day quick wins and medium-term results
  • Onboarding your own team to create engagement and identifying the right person around you to install an effective delegation
  • Joining the Executive Board with Situational and political intelligence and appropriate communication and leadership presence

You have recently been nominated in an Executive Board.. What are your challenges today? Find the executive story that talks about you…

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