Case Study

In an Investment Banking firm we worked with, we helped the organisation move from a 'can-do' attitude and approval orientation towards confidence in execution.  Evident gaps in trust with senior management were identified and steps could be taken to bring the team into alignment.


An Investment Banking Firm - Executive & Leadership Coaching series

Virtual team: Europe and Asia

Need: Development of senior executives to take on greater ownership and leadership to drive business results  


The leaders participating in this program will:

  • Gain insights into how they are perceived by others in terms of their effectiveness in living up to business outcomes and their ability to live the values of the business (this examined their ‘self concept’ – existing beliefs, thoughts - and their self perceptions)
  • Receive feedback about how others see them (the Human Synergistics LSI 360 degree tool was used)
  • Compare perceptions between how they see themselves and how others see them to draw out the gaps and the examine the consequences of the gaps
  • Diagnose which behaviour is defensive (passive or aggressive) and utilise coaching sessions to develop constructive leadership behaviours (eg “Achievement”, “Self Actualising”, “Humanistic Encouraging” and “Affiliative”)
  • Provide the opportunity for individuals to engage with an external coach openly and honestly in a confidential environment
  • Create the opportunity for the  leadership team to engage in a new way using a common language (using human development terminology and the reference point of the LSI output for each of them)
  • Measure progress by re-testing over time and integrate learning into their Performance development plan

Insights from coaching series - Causal Factors impacting on people and performance:

Strategy: The strategy was well communicated and discussed and still people were not confident that they can execute against the strategy

Structure: The structure was simple and yet in any organisation, especially in a small one, the informal structure is as important as the formal one of course and this fact created the opportunity to avoid making speedy and definitive decisions

Processes: The business processes were well documented and things got done well through the personal efforts and initiatives of individual team members and since the level of initiative varied considerably within the team there was a shortfall in hitting the potential expected

Targets: The business set tough targets for financial and behavioural performance for the business and individuals and this was well embraced by all involved with some unnecessary fear of failure that needed to be addressed

Rewards: Performance along values, cultures and behaviours as well as financial criteria were reported and rewarded but individuals came from background where they would rather be rewarded against financial criteria and this had not been resolved

Culture: The culture and values was supported by the performance measurement system and was well aligned and articulated and performance was reported against these in a very systematic manner and the gaps that remained were yet to be resolved to the satisfaction of all

Managing expectations: The business suffered from people wanting everything to work as if they were in a large well-established company and so the business was not maximising the value of its high growth phase

Empowerment and approval orientation:  People had been empowered and had failed to take the empowerment in the first round and then had been re-empowered and were slowly realizing the firm was serious.  There was a tendency to say yes because of a can-do attitude and there was also evidence of approval orientation rather than actually being confident to execute

Trust:  People had joined the firm based on the vision and the trust they had in the senior leadership yet there was an evident gap in style between some of the senior members of the team which had been discussed and was well understood but not yet resolved and this risked undermining trust further down in the organisation

Benefits realized:

  • Senior leadership’s vision was supported by evidence of strengths and shortfalls at the individual and team level
  • Clear and shared understanding amongst the team of the personal and team blockages to progress
  • Awareness of role of the individual in the functioning of the team
  • Individual plans to address personal issues produced and being followed
  • Individuals felt more empowered to deliver