Meet Rick: From Being Criticized by His Bosses to Being Celebrated by Everyone


I recently had the opportunity to work with Rick — an IT executive who was facing some significant challenges in his role. He had been told by his CEO and other C-suite members that he needed to focus more, engage in deeper self-reflection, and show greater attention to detail. This case study outlines how I helped him overcome these challenges and improve his performance and presence within the company.

Initial Assessment and SWOT Analysis

Receiving this kind of feedback was hard to take. And so the very first thing we did for Rick was to make sure that he did not take the feedback too personally… or to see the criticism he received as an indication of who he was as a person. As soon as the emotional part was dealt with and out of the way, we went straight into a review of his Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities,  and Threats (SWOT Analysis).

This process was crucial because it helped us identify his core strengths and areas for improvement. And then focusing on his strengths, we were able to see specific areas where he could leverage them more effectively in order to achieve better results. Focusing on his strengths also made it easier to work on the weaknesses more gradually.

Setting Clear Objectives Aligned with Company Goals

One key aspect of our sessions was aligning his work with the broader company goals for greater contribution. We reviewed the key objectives of the company and identified where his skills and responsibilities could intersect with these goals more effectively.

Developing New Processes and Systems

To address Rick’s need for focus and attention to detail, we worked on developing new processes that helped him maintain high levels of focus while executing complex IT projects. This included creating systems that identified high-priority issues, taking frequent short breaks, reducing the time between implementation and feedback, among several other things. This helped him become more efficient in his work.

Enhancing Decision-Making and Prioritization Skills

A significant part of our coaching focused on improving his decision-making skills and knowing when to shift priorities. Rick needed to trust himself again; and to know that whatever decision he was making was in the best interest of the company. This not only improved his performance but also increased his value within the team and the organization as a whole.

Improving Communication and Collaboration

Another area of focus was enhancing his ability to ask smarter questions and increase collaboration with his team and other departments. This led to more meaningful interactions with his peers and superiors, which in turn improved his presence and influence within the company.

Developing a Structured Response Process

To help him better respond (and not react) to unexpected information in the workplace, we developed a structured process:

  1. Stop and pause.
  2. Think and assess the facts.
  3. Process the information received, differentiating between facts and feelings.
  4. Ask questions for clarity about the data.
  5. Respond or answer based on this analysis.

Conclusion: A Transformed Executive

Over the course of our sessions, the transformation in Rick was clear. He became more confident in his role, more proactive in his approach to challenges, and more aligned with the company’s broader objectives.

The impact he went on to have in just 6 months was so evident that he was recognized and celebrated during the company’s annual get together.

I trust that this case study gives you some hope for yourself. Rick’s journey from an executive who was being criticized by his bosses; to a confident, decisive leader who was celebrated at a company-wide event goes to show the power of targeted coaching and self-improvement.

Over to you.

If you would like to have an experience similar to Rick, I invite you to schedule a call with me.