Michael Scattergood - EY
After a period of frustration and anxiety with his role, a senior management consultant in EY’s international development division refocused on his career priorities with support from Mandala Leaders. Through intensive coaching sessions, the executive has reappraised his job and his ambitions. Instead of pushing him towards a plan, Mandala Leaders helped him to make his own top-to-bottom appraisal of his role and communications with colleagues while evaluating the wider impacts for government clients and citizens of his career developing national health care programmes.
Effective leadership coaching must gain a clear picture of the current state of play before seeking to make changes. A senior director of international development at management consultancy EY has refocused on his career priorities with support from Mandala Leaders, a consultancy dedicated to transforming the life of an individual and the communities they serve.
After years in a high-pressure job, delivering strategic plans for health systems to European governments, the management consultant was jaded. His energies were being drained by managing team capacity, workloads and unrelenting deadlines. “I was worn down and edgy. I was reacting to specific criticisms of my work from colleagues.” He sought a fresh perspective on his priorities and wanted to reassess the value his work was bringing for himself - and others.
In one-on-one coaching sessions with Mandala Leaders, the consultant was gently guided to reappraise his job and his ambitions. “There wasn’t a right and wrong; we developed a clear, objective discussion of my feelings and my relationships with colleagues. We examined the way that I was collaborating and communicating with them,” the executive explains.
In the first session, he was asked to articulate his beliefs about his role at EY, including the specific question of whether he was sufficiently valuing his own contribution. In striving hard to balance the delivery of complex projects, meeting divisional revenues and maintaining his team’s capacity levels, was he registering only colleagues’ criticism rather than their concern and support?
After getting the executive’s perceptions of his day-to-day working, Mandala Leaders also helped him examine the bigger picture. The coaching session then asked the executive to define his career purpose, his strategy for realising it and his vision of success, including the ‘forgotten’ key questions - how were people benefiting from his work and did he himself gain a sense of fulfilment from it?
In the final sessions, the executive was asked to state his personal values that defined his whole approach to leadership at work - and the likely legacy of his work for European countries.
The sessions helped the EY management consultant to disentangle the confused priorities, perceptions and impacts in a high-pressure job. He felt relieved and rebalanced afterwards - particularly as Mandala Leaders guided him to reappraise his role and his interactions with colleagues. The coaching identified the need for clear empathy and emotional intelligence when working with colleagues sharing unforgiving work pressures and deadlines.
The executive regained his perspective of his job – in particular, reflecting on the health care improvements that his consultancy work has brought to different countries over a period of years. He has learned to revalue his own skills and recognise the life-giving and quality of life benefits he and his EY colleagues have achieved for many millions of people across Europe arising from his ability to design national-level health programmes.
He’s refocused his day-to-day skills: “I’ve realised the importance of better communication with colleagues whatever the pressures. The coaching has given me a clearer perspective on my work ever since. I’ve committed to expressing myself more clearly and phrasing things in ways that won’t be misconstrued by others.
“The other side of improving my communication was being fairer to myself. In the workplace, one individual can place great importance on someone’s remarks when another puts little value on them. In a pressured workplace, it’s too easy to latch onto the wrong words; ones that can reinforce negative feelings a person harbours about oneself or others.”
He added: “I have a better perspective on the long-term benefits that we have delivered across Europe’s health systems and what needs to be done, in terms of leadership, collaborations and communications, to get the right results in the future. I don’t think I will be distracted or become worn down by internal politics like that again.”