Coaching With The SDI: A Wise Business Investment

By Judy Hemmingsen Managing Director of

Personal Strengths, Canada

A General Manager, reporting to the company’s Senior Vice President, had 15 years experience with this large manufacturing organisation, and a total compensation package in excess of $240,000.

During his tenure, this high potential executive was consistently rewarded with numerous “fast track” promotions and cross functional experience. Over the years, he consistently achieved superior performance ratings and was recognized for his demonstrated drive, intellect, commercial judgement and passion for the business. As a result, he was positioned as one of three high potential candidates for the CEO role.

Then, suddenly, his career took a turn. People began to question his ability to manage his relationships up, down and across the organisation. His ratings, particularly on “leadership behaviour” began to drop – signals that there were issues with what some referred to as his “aggressive” communication style. Most recently, he began to “lose composure” in team meetings, whenever he disagreed with the perspectives of some of his colleagues. His credibility was eroding, and there was concern that termination would be the only alternative, unless he could get his career back on track.

Fortunately, the GM recognized his need to change, and willingly agreed to work with a professional coach in the effort to save his career. Using the SDI, including Strength Management and Feedback inventories, the Coach provided him with critical insight into how his behavior was perceived (and sometimes misunderstood) by others. He developed the skills to choose behavior more consciously, to re-frame preventable conflict, and to actively manage disagreements in ways that would produce more productive work relationships.

Coaching with SDI Results:

Through insight and practice, the GM got his performance ratings back to where they needed to be, and the company avoided the high costs of an executive’s termination. The GM described the experience as one that “humbled” him. In his own words, this was a “life altering” experience at both the personal and professional level.

From the organisation’s perspective, the corporate client reported that members of the management team noted a clearly visible change in his behavior. Coaching with the SDI provided a cost effective solution to a potentially expensive issue. Termination of the GM would have amounted to costs in excess of $500,000, when considering severance payments, transition support services and the expenditures associated with replacing the intellectual capital of this highly experienced resource. By comparison, SDI Coaching services cost the company $10,000 – a wise business investment!