Coaching an Extraordinary Leader

coaching a leader


Sally Grisedale

When a client reached out to me to discuss coaching, I was excited. She’d recently taken an executive role at one of the top 50 Fortune 500 companies. She is at the top of her career and an internationally recognized leader in her field. What makes her an extraordinary leader, which we uncovered through coaching, are her strengths in the following four areas.

Able to Execute on a Vision

She has the ability to turn an idea into reality, and she does this by organizing all of the pieces and resources for maximum productivity. The ability to implement a solution and get people to work tirelessly to get it done makes her invaluable as a leader.

Influences Others Easily

She is great at influencing people. She’s a natural storyteller who puts her team’s interests first and actively promotes them at work and in the industry. This attracts respect and creates opportunities for her team that they would not have had without her support. This inspired leadership creates superb results from her teams who love her inspired leadership.

Great Relationship Builder

She consistently creates organizations that are greater than the sum of their parts. She cultivates the potential in others, noting their strengths and giving feedback, so that individuals derive satisfaction from these improvements. By learning the unique qualities of each person and what makes them excel, she is great at creating diverse teams that work together productively.

Big Picture Strategic Thinker

She has an incredible capacity for absorbing and analyzing information that she uses to help her team make better decisions. As a result, she expands their thinking about the future. By keeping everyone focused on what “could be,” she improves the productivity of her teams, because the goals they are aiming for are inspiring and actionable.

Where is the Problem?

The problem is, she took a job that wasn’t a good fit for her. We discovered through coaching that she values working for companies that are built on modern technology platforms, focus on customer experience and agile development, and have a flat organizational structure. That the company she joined had not made these changes came as a shock to her.

At the end of her first week, she wanted to quit. She knew deep inside that she is meant for greatness, and it hurt when the reality of her new role didn’t match her vision. Fortunately, before she quit, she reached out to me and we began working together as coach and coachee.

At first we met every week to help her mitigate the extreme challenges she had brought on herself by taking the role. After a month, she was ready to stay in her new role and see what the job had to teach her. This way she wouldn’t make the same mistake at her next job. These are some of the things we worked on together over the next six months, meeting once a week or every other week depending on her schedule.

Applying My Coaching Process

Who are you today? (Discover)
This included an assessment of where she was and how she could improve. Some of these issues included: learning to detach from outcomes, making decisions without being driven by fear, finding her voice at the new company, knowing with confidence that she is enough, uplevelling her leadership team, and prioritizing who she gives and does not give her time to.

Your vision for change? (Design)
Next we discovered who she was as a leader today. This had changed over the years, becoming broad and deep, and her underlying passion for her domain had never diminished. It remained her “why.” Around her passion we refined her personal brand to reflect her current skills, mindset, strengths and business value.

Actionable steps for progress (Deploy)
Lastly, we put together an ideal job description in the most minute detail of what she wanted. It included things like location, a complementary boss, her onboarding experience, her team size and make up, the type of company and its operational style, reporting structure, and what her role and title would be, along with the impact she would have based on her ideal responsibilities.

After six months of working on herself with my support, she was offered a role that matched the ideal role we had co-created for her. This role was worthy of her skills, talents, and experience, where she would have the impact she wanted to make as the great leader that she already is.

I feel honored to work with creative thinkers and extraordinary leaders who have the willingness and humility to invite professional third party support into their life to champion them as they make the adjustments they need to remain the absolute best leaders and thinkers of their generation.

If you are a smart, driven, and successful senior executive with a lot of responsibilities like my client, changing how you do things may not be high on your list of priorities!

Know that you don’t need to overhaul your leadership style or way of managing to work with me.

Invest in an outsider’s perspective on how to successfully support yourself and your unique challenges. I will show you best practices that are honed from years of leadership and operational experience gained at Facebook, Apple, and Yahoo!.

I support you in learning effective strategies for bettering your company, your teams, and yourself. Contact me for a complimentary discovery call.

Photo by Joanna Kosinska for Unsplash

the Leading by Design Newsletter

What Is the Leading by Design Newsletter? Great question.

Leading by Design is a blog for creative leaders working in tech. It’s not a “Why You Should Use AI in Design Thinking” or “How to Hire and Retain Product Design Teams with Impact” type of blog. There are enough of those.

I write about the challenges you can’t safely discuss as creative leaders working in tech. The stories come directly from my experience leading teams at Apple, Meta, Yahoo!, and some start-ups and from the executive design leaders I coach today.

I have written about the stressful magpie boss, hateful cross-functional peers, creative burnout, the shame of job loss and survivor guilt, and the fear of becoming irrelevant in the marketplace.

I publish once a week and offer strategies to reframe your challenge so you can return to being the creative leader your team loves you to be.

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