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Executive Coaching Case Studies - Why & How It Works

Updated: Aug 18, 2021


Case Study 1 – Information Overload


Coaching helped a client reduce complexity and identify the organizational goals that would form the basis of business strategy.


I was working with the President/Founder of a retail manufacturing and sales organization who was having difficulty setting organizational priorities.


Without a clear objective for the company, the client was having difficulty developing and communicating a clear business strategy to the organization.


The client laid out all of the options he’d thought of. Any one of them could have been a top business priority.


With a single question though, we broke through the gridlock.


“If you had to pick only one, what is THE most important goal for your business this year?”


The client paused, and then confidently identified his primary objective.


With that new insight, the client began to see which other priorities fit into this goal, and which were unrelated, creating the foundations of a strategy.


We utilized the remainder of the session and subsequent sessions on the continuing development and execution of that strategy.



Open books with lots of information
Coaches help clients reduce complexity.

Case Study 2 – I Don’t Know Where to Begin


Coaching helped a client re-frame a perceived problem as an opportunity to achieve immediate efficiency gains while creating a foundation for long-term growth.


I was working with the CEO / Founder of a specialty products manufacturer ahead of a big office upgrade for their growing business. The client had never led an office move before, and presented with the classic, “I just don’t know where to begin” dilemma.


Two questions helped the client identify his path forward:


"What needs must an office meet in order for your company to perform at its best?"


"When you think about the activities that are going on when your company is operating at peak performance, what does an office that supports that level of performance look like?"


The client took the perspective of office space as an asset or resource that existed to support the company’s operations now, and in the near future.


With the rest of the session, we examined related topics such as what they liked about their current space, what they disliked, and what they’ve learned about their needs and workflow as they have outgrown their existing space.


The client was then able to identify and rank their key office space needs and priorities, and then communicate those effectively to their commercial real estate agent.



Case Study 3 – I'm Stuck

Running uphill
Coaches help clients find new perspectives

Coaching helped a client identify a new perspective which created new insights about how to support and foster organizational growth.


I was working with the same CEO / Founder who was stuck on how to approach recruitment for a key order fulfillment operations position. The client was struggling to create a job description and hiring criteria for this role or roles.


Because of some prior discussions we’d had, I knew that this client had unique visibility into their customers’ purchasing behavior.


I asked the client whether that information that visibility provides could be useful in helping them better understand the needs of this particular role.


The client said that they hadn’t considered that perspective, but then immediately began to brainstorm aloud before declaring that this would go to the rest of the leadership team for further discussion.



Coaches help clients achieve their goals

Case Study 4 – In Pursuit of Professional Growth


Coaching helped a client reframe a difficult professional conversation as an opportunity to improve overall communication and a development opportunity rather than a personnel issue.


I was working with an executive director in the public sector who wanted to discuss a necessary but challenging conversation with a direct report. As anyone in a leadership role knows, the anticipation of a difficult conversation can bring up powerful emotions for the people involved.


But effectively recognizing, managing, and using emotional information is a key factor in the development of leadership presence and emotional intelligence. Coaching creates a space where the client can safely identify and evaluate emotional information, and gauge its impact.


In the course of our session, the client realized that he had been so focused on the difficulty of the conversation that he hadn't even set a goal for the conversation.


Upon that realization the client paused, and then stated the primary goal for the conversation.


We used the rest of our session to explore possible strategies for the client to reach that goal while being mindful of the emotions that could arise during the conversation.



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Why Coaching Works


Coaching follows the maxim that clients are creative, resourceful, and wholly capable of creating their own solutions. Coaches are not problem solvers.


Rather, coaches facilitate the discovery of new perspectives and new learning from which clients create action plans to overcome obstacles and make progress toward their goals.


This learning and clarity helps clients gain confidence, enhance leadership presence, and raise emotional intelligence - all essential ingredients for high-impact executive leadership.



About the Author



Matt Beckmann is the Founder & Managing Director of Ascent Consultants. In addition to experience as a former Chief of Staff to the Missouri Auditor and as a Corporate Vice President and General Counsel, he has advanced training and certifications in law, business, and executive coaching. His blog content, inspired by his deep passion for unlocking his reader's best potential, consistently equips business owners and individuals with the knowledge and resources to overcome obstacles that may be hindering growth.




Ascent Consultants provides business and strategy consulting, executive and leadership coaching, and leadership assessments. By converting client growth goals into an actionable "game plan," we help companies and individuals unlock their full potential.

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