Case study: Transformational Coaching


To fix the system, I first must see that I am part of it


As a senior leader started on his coaching journey, as part of the team’s overall transformational journey; he was frustrated. Together with a select few trusted team members that he felt could keep up with his pace of thing, he had put together a robust plan that would bring the company into a leading position in the industry. He had worked hard and set many initiatives in motion – and yet no one seemed to be pulling their weight in the transformation.

“Why can’t people just get on with it?” he asked, “How typical that we get slowed down by the organization.” If only people would get on board and just execute on the plan. But they didn’t.

Recognizing that this had happened to him before – being part of a transformation that faded because the entire organization did not mobilize to make it happen – he knew he had to find another way.

The coaching journey explored the root causes of the complex challenge that he and the organization faced and identifying what parts he owned and could impact.


Many insights emerged – all starting by him realizing that he was just as much part of the organization – the system that he was pointing fingers at and that challenged him. That he himself also contributed to not using the organization’s full capacity because he held a belief that involving others would slow him and the work down.

As much as the silos in the organization frustrated him, he was in his own way creating a silo – rather than inviting other perspectives and listening to those that challenged his plan for transformation, he ran fast ahead and just expected others to fall in line.

He realized that transformation was not something that could just be done from a design point of view – it also required that he transformed personally and lived it every day.

By opening up to trusting the organization more, not only did people become more engaged in executing on the transformation agenda – they also contributed much more into it with their insights solving problems at the place of origin. From believing that involving the organization would slow it all down, he came to appreciate the capacity that the organization together had.

He had always been an impressively competent performer, but this transformation really elevated him to an outstanding leader.

  • From having a strong bias towards the harder side of transformation and appealing to the just the rational side of people, he became more balanced in also working with the softer side and connecting also to people’s heart
  • From holding back from voicing things he saw as not working in the organization because he was concerned with how people would perceive it, he put his fears aside to voice the opportunities he saw even if they might not be popular
  • From defending or withdrawing when people disagreed with him, he would listen curiously to the responses and voices around him appreciating that differences in opinions and perspectives are actually a great opportunity to co-create something even greater.

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