Susan is a senior executive (chief operating officer) and a passionate leader with a strong track record and radically ambitious business goals. What she and her manager were observing on her team was a sense of disengagement and often-outright resistance, as well as high turnover. Susan knew she had to change her own behavior in order to build the level of teamwork that her challenging goals required.


  • A DISC behavior model profile provided insights into her natural and adapted styles.
  • Leadership style inventory ~ A self-assessment highlighted how she perceived her own strengths and challenges.
  • A 360 feedback process provided critical feedback from others on how Susan’s style was serving her well and when it was having unintended impact. Her style often left team members feeling overwhelmed with the frequency and velocity of directives, muscled into agreeing with her decisions, and that their own contributions were unheard.

Susan’s main coaching objective:

Balance her passion, inspiration and drive with active and authentic listening to evoke ideas, input and support from others.

Most Powerful Learning Strategies in Coaching:

  • Comparison between her perceptions of her style and behavior and perceptions of others.
  • Identification of and reflection on specific behavior that was having unintended impact. “Here’s what you literally do or say and this is the impact it is having.”
  • Identification of the “payoffs” that her current behavior was providing and the risks and concerns she feared when thinking of changing her approach.
  • Practice identifying what’s reasonable and helpful from others’ point of view.
  • Experiment with non-verbal behavior: body language, vocal tone and pace of speech.
  • Practice listening skills and reduce tendency to interrupt others through self-observation exercise.


A touch base with Susan and her manager as well as a follow-up with 360 participants six months later indicated that Susan was listening better and effectively eliciting input from others. Her team felt more supported by her and reported being on track toward their goals.