Client: The Bridge – a charitable organisation that aims to make a difference to the lives of women living or working in London
Project aim: To support the senior managers and the Board of Trustees with the major transition they were leading at The Bridge, including not just a change in premises, but also the introduction of a new vision and culture
What we did:
1. Clarified goals and the elements of the cultural transition: Emma held a series of meetings with the Chair of the Board of Trustees and other Trustees, and with the Chief Executive and Deputy Chief Executive, in order jointly to develop a set of goals for the transition/project. These covered: culture and attitudes; leadership and management; and outputs. Ratings of each of these goals provided a measure of where the organisation currently stood.
2. Provided coaching for senior managers: Emma provided each of the senior managers with 1:1 coaching sessions to help them progress the goals and implement the transition. These sessions allowed the managers to look at what they needed to do to achieve the transition, experiment with new behaviour and identify specific actions that would move forward both the organisation as a whole and their own development.
3. Facilitated a review of the project and helped plan next steps: Following the coaching sessions, the Chair of the Board of Trustees, the Chair elect, Chief Executive and Deputy Chief Executive again gave ratings of the goals to explore whether there had been a shift. All the goals received higher ratings at this second time-point than they had at the start of the project. Emma then facilitated a meeting to review the project, identify progress made so far and what needed to happen next.
* Clear goals: By facilitating the process of goal-development, Emma enabled the Bridge senior management to clarify what needed to happen in order for the transition to be successful.
* Organisational transition: The project supported a process of transition for the Bridge in terms of culture and attitudes, leadership and management. All the elements covered by the goals set showed an improvement over the duration of the project.
* Management and leadership development: The senior managers at the Bridge were empowered by the coaching to make changes to their management and leadership approach. By reflecting on what was needed and experimenting with new ways of doing things, they were enabled to learn and develop more effective ways of managing their teams and the organisation.
The coaching allowed the trustees to focus on how the changes they were expecting and needing could be implemented and led by senior managers. A few months on, I would say that one of the senior managers benefited hugely from the sessions. The other senior manager would have liked more coaching and a longer time frame: this was not possible for financial reasons. We have implemented significant changes (setting up a commercial wing of the charity, developing a commercial business plan which includes changes in the management structure) that also include elements of the coaching agreement that was reached with managers, the current and past chair of the charity.
I found working with Emma very helpful and challenging in a positive way. I was impressed by her commitment and her manner, which was open and helpful as well as firm. I would certainly recommend her to any organisation – with the added point that to engage with Emma sooner rather than later is also key.
Alexandra McAdam Clark, Past Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Bridge