Executive Coaching Engagements

The following are four examples about how Cheever Communications has helped our clients.

Developing Awareness About How you are Perceived

  • Situation – Marie’s situation was very typical of what Cheever Communications has encountered with many women executives.  She was a recognized expert in her area of Marketing/Sales and Market Research for a large technology company.  Yet, she had been passed over for promotion several times.
  • Challenge – Marie needed to decide whether she would remain as an executive in this company, or leave. What did she need to do to get promoted?
  • Cheever Communication Approach – Through interviews and analysis we determined that Marie was not seen as a “player”, but rather as a competent implementer.  With this new awareness, Marie harnessed her frustration and re-approached her function.  She re-prioritized and began allocating time to internal networking, influencing management and taking leadership positions in her industry. She also learned to refuse expansion of her responsibilities if concurrent recognition/power did not accompany it.
  • Outcome – Marie was promoted. Also, due to an acquisition, she has expanded responsibility and recognition.  She now assesses work situations from a new and more empowered perspective.  Her enhanced status, renewed confidence and ability to better manage her career have paid huge dividend in her personal and professional life.

Transitioning to a New Environment

  • Situation – Mark was a valued HR professional assigned in a research company, recently acquired by a large pharmaceutical company.  While his HR experience was extensive, his knowledge of biotech and pharmaceuticals was not.
  • Challenge – In order to be effective, it was imperative that Mark quickly demonstrate his competency to the management of the new company.  He needed to be viewed as a business leader that could be trusted to lead this newly acquired business in the direction and to the heights required.
  • Cheever Communications Approach – The research company president wanted to retain some autonomy and he saw retaining Mark as a key resource in doing that.  The President, Mark and Liz Cheever collaborated.  The three of them spent time delving into the company’s current business strengths and challenges.  Liz coached Mark to prepare for these three way conversations.  Through coaching, he was able to convince the president of his vast business acumen, as well as the value added from his organizational development background.  Knowing this, the president was confident to present Mark to the management of the new company and advocate for his retention.  As Mark had done with him, he stressed Mark’s ability to attract and retain quality talent, smoothly enhance the integration and leadership consultation, all of which contributed increase in the bottom line.
  • Outcome – Mark was not only retained, but eventually embraced as a respected member of the acquiring company’s executive team.  Mark and Liz continued to work together as he facilitated the team towards new products and significant financial success.

Learning Communications Skills to Influence New Management

  • Situation – Jennifer was the Vice President of Audit for a mid-size company recently acquired by a large financial institution.  Her competence in her area was obvious and consistent over a period of eleven years.
  • Challenge – Jennifer’s style and image as well as her form of communication were not congruent with (that of) the executive team of the acquiring company.  It was clear that she needed to project a different executive style, both in writing, verbal and nonverbal communication. Although her interface with external customers was excellent, her management style and her relationships with peers also needed adjustment. There was urgency. She had to alter her behavior within a few months time in order to be accepted as credible by her new employer.
  • Cheever Communication Approach – Liz Cheever assessed Jennifer’s strengths, clarified the expectations of the new executive team and thereby identified gaps. By eliciting the support of her new manager the CFO, and other strategically identified individuals, a support network was created for her. The colleagues in this network aligned their success with hers. Through one-on-one coaching, role-play and videotaping, Liz worked with Jennifer on her verbal and nonverbal communication skills. Frank discussions were had with direct reports and Liz interviewed a sample of Jennifer’s peers. The information elicited raised Jennifer’s awareness of how some of her style/behaviors were misinterpreted. Jennifer was stunned by how she was perceived. Due to her courage and get it done attitude, she immediately made meaningful adjustments. They also elicited the services of an Image Clothing Consultant.  Her wardrobe and hairstyle now more accurately project her competence and leadership ability.
  • Outcome – For Jennifer, being embraced by her colleagues and feeling more part of the team than she ever had in the past was her true success. In addition, the original objective was met. She continues to work on influencing and marketing her ideas in a more skillful and still forceful manner. She continues to progress and is now reporting to the CEO. At a recent client conference, the CEO’s comment was “Jennifer is a huge asset and a premium leader for our organization.”

Developing Leadership Effectiveness through Awareness

  • Situation – As a recently promoted Director of Product Quality for a prestigious consumer product company, Bob was charged with establishing and ensuring compliance with quality standards for all the US and international subsidiaries.  He got off to a poor start.  Bob was viewed by purchasing agents, vendors and regulators as “inflexible, unapproachable and too detail-oriented.”  Others stated he “approached everything as a battle, was abrasive and unaware of businesses consequences.”  In reality he was just very passionate about quality.
  • Challenge – To reverse Bob’s negative image and develop his effectiveness as a leader, influencer and implementer in a highly matrixed organization
  • Cheever Communications Approach – Initially Ms. Cheever needed to establish Bob’s trust.  He indeed was somewhat inflexible and unapproachable.  He felt wronged and misunderstood.  Through one-on-one coaching, Bob eventually engaged in the coaching process and raised his awareness of new approaches that would be effective without lowering his principles.  By becoming more aware, he also interpreted the behaviors of others in a new way.  While his colleagues may not have had his expertise regarding quality, it certainly did not mean they didn’t care about quality.  This information allowed him to begin to negotiate with more neutrality.
  • Outcome – Cheever Communications began their engagement by interviewing significant colleagues; they ended the engagement by interviewing these same executives.   The results were astounding.  Every individual had a new and profoundly positive experience of Bob as a person and professional.  Some quotes included, “I feel I can trust him, he is still intense, but I know he is doing the right thing for the right reasons.”  “He is easier to work with now that I know him better.”  “He is smarter than I thought.”  Bob was also promoted from Director to VP.