Case Study – Bruce Allen, CEO, HETAS.

Background

HETAS is a national, not-for-profit organisation working for consumer safety and the wider public interest in safe, efficient and environmentally responsible use of biomass and other solid fuels.

When Bruce recognised that his business was growing, and workloads were increasing, he realised he needed to find a way to put the management capability and structure in place to meet the increasing demand.

The Problem

It’s great news when your business takes off, but this kind of quick growth can cause its own brand of problems. For Bruce Allen and HETAS, this came in the shape of a management team that needed more  leadership experience and structure to support the next stage of the business’ evolution. But in a complicated industry that requires a lot of specialist knowledge, it wasn’t quite as simple as bringing proven leaders in to do the job.

Having recognised the potential in two current members of his senior team, Bruce decided that the best approach was to develop the leadership capabilities he already had, particularly as both were keen to step up their roles.

So, he began to look for a coach who could draw out that potential and help these managers understand what they needed to do to help the growth of the business. He wanted someone who could explore the possible future for these leaders and lift some of the barriers to their success.

During the first meeting with Corine, Bruce recognised qualities that he hadn’t seen in the other coaches he had met with and he was confident that she would be able to challenge the candidates and motivate action in a way that fit with the company and the way they worked.

What Did We Do?

The two participants expressed a wish to work together, so we agreed that we would take a small group coaching approach with them.

We did a thorough initial evaluation and they undertook Emotional Intelligence assessments which included 360-feedback. This gave them a great understanding of what the emotional intelligence factors were that influenced their leadership. It also allowed them to understand what could be achieved for themselves and the wider business through the programme.

It was important to touch base regularly with Bruce so we could work in partnership with the participants and ensure the right support and challenge was offered. Even though he wasn’t directly involved in all the sessions we wanted to ensure he was an integral part of the process and that everything was heading in the right direction.

Corine worked closely with the two participants across the 8 months, giving them tools and models and exploring new ways of working, which gave confidence to become more actively engaged in the senior management team and worked through any issues or worries they were experiencing.

And the Results?

“The most obvious result”, says Bruce, “is a strengthening of the senior management team – the guys that went through the process are more confident in that environment. They’re taking their place and having their voice heard and they’re benefiting from that. There are more ideas, more strategic thinking and there are more actual outcomes from the meetings. In fact, it’s opened up the way we work in the senior management team”

So, the coaching benefited not just the two participants, but the senior management team as a whole.

But what about Bruce? Did he see any personal benefits?

“When we started the process, I was incredibly overworked because I was involved in too many different parts of the organisation. But now they have stepped up, they make more of the decisions and it’s relieved some of the pressure. I am spending less time being involved in the day to day running of the business and have more confidence knowing that the operational side is doing well.“

Bruce also found he enjoyed supporting them and giving them the opportunity to rise to the challenge – seeing them grow in confidence and ability. Having shown previously that they were willing to go above and beyond for the business it was nice to be able to give a little back to them.

“The door was opened, and they came in and took their place”

Summary

HETAS is a national, not-for-profit organisation working for consumer safety and the wider public interest in safe, efficient and environmentally responsible use of biomass and other solid fuels.

When Bruce recognised that his business was growing, and workloads were increasing, he realised he needed to find a way to put the management capability and structure in place to meet the increasing demand.

Engaging Corine to bring on the skills and confidence of two of the senior management teams brightest young members meant he could take a step back and allow them to take their place in the boardroom.

“Corine’s coaching has achieved very definite results. The guys that went through the process are more confident in the senior management team environment – they’re taking their place and having their voice heard and they’re benefiting from that. It’s strengthened the team as a whole. There are more ideas and there are more actual outcomes from the meetings. In fact, it’s opened up the way we work in the senior management team.

What Bruce Said

“Corine is open, straightforward and able to articulate the concepts and have some of the more difficult discussions. She’s able to challenge at all levels across the business.

I would recommend Corine. I think the business needs to want to do something and they need to be open to discussion about how it happens. But she’s someone who cares deeply about what she does and thinks deeply about what she does. And I think for Corine it’s about being involved in things that she feels she can make a difference in.

By the end of the programme the staff involved had certainly moved to a position where they were more confident and more leaderful, and it’s made a difference to them, to the business and to me personally. And I’m very grateful for that.”

Bruce Allen

CEO , HETAS

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