Case Studies

Navigating Office Politics

By 5th December 2018 No Comments

The context

Beatrice has just been promoted to her first Board role in a global bank, and is finding the experience rather unnerving. Politics, relationships and managing through others who are not geographically in the same office are all proving more difficult than she expected, and is affecting her performance.

Beatrice is clearly dedicated to succeed in this role and sees it as the fulfilment of a long held ambition. Learning to navigate the senior “club” is both daunting and exciting.


Beatrice’s coaching goals were:

  1. Knowing about the role (responsibilities, objectives, measures of success, contribution to strategy)
  2. Understanding how this role plays to her strengths and what she will need to develop, and setting out the actions she needs to undertake
  3. Getting to know her team (strengths and weaknesses, motivations, background and experience)
  4. Making her mark and formulating what she wanted to achieve and how to build support for her ideas
  5. Understanding the organisational culture, power bases, and decision making processes

The coaching programme

  • Beatrice’s coaching involved looking at the knowledge she was building up about her new environment, and how that influenced the criteria for effectiveness in her role.
  • We role-played a couple of difficult conversations and developed a plan of action to make sure they go well.
  • Beatrice also make a stakeholder map with an action plan to communicate with her key stakeholders in a more focused way. She crafted her message and ensured it was targeted to each stakeholder’s needs.
  • We also spend some time working out when she is at her best and how to create such situations for herself.
  • We analysed the basis for her past success and recent loss of confidence in relation to her beliefs around authority figures.

The result

  1. Beatrice reported that the coaching conversations, reflections and the actions she has implemented as a result have led to her feeling confident and in control of her outcomes.
  2. She proposed a major team restructuring to align the structure better with the strategy, and this was approved by the Board
  3. Her sales and service metrics improved.
  4. She feels she is adding value to both her own team as well as to the senior leadership team