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How Mrs K & I worked together to help her find her voice

Updated: May 10, 2022

Mrs K, a Senior Director of R&D at Proctor & Gamble, has a problem.

She just started a new role, on a new continent, where she's heading up a team she has never met who are spread across the region and working remotely. Not only that, she and the team are struggling to be heard above the opinions and priorities of the other functions with whom they must work closely.

This individual came looking for support and guidance on being a voice for her team’s expertise at the highest levels of leadership. A long serving employee in Europe, our sessions began as she took on a director role in Asia during the Covid-19 outbreak.

We had three main goals for our 1:1 coaching sessions were:

  • Explore communication style for building strong rapport and relationships during remote working

  • Landing recommendations with gravitas to an audience with vastly different priorities and perspectives

  • Influencing outcomes and building the reputation of the R&D department.

Over the course of three months, we had six in-person coaching sessions. We discussed and dissected her mindset and communication behaviour. It is so crucial to figure out if your brain is holding you back with lots of assumptions and projections or holding on to old experiences.

We also wanted to bring to light the various ways that vocal tone, pace, body language and choice of words can influence our meeting outcomes. We worked through tailored exercises in presenting and conversing. These included some role-play, some written work for message structuring and plenty of speaking on your feet (with and without preparation!).

Upon completing the first phase of 1:1 coaching, Mrs K was feeling and looking much more confident, she felt she had found her voice. She completely refreshed the approach to structuring messages as well as the vocal and physical elements of delivery that persuade and influence in meetings.

Her voice is now stronger and her presence (though still remote!) more strongly felt. The sessions empowered her to remove unnecessary apologetic communication and instead lead with positive intentions and renewed belief in the value provided by the R&D perspective.

I was then invited by Mrs. K to coach her successor and her Japan-based counterpart. With these coachees, we have worked on:

  • Skills and strategies for coping with self-criticism, multi-function meetings

  • Being the voice of the consumer

  • Storytelling

  • Reducing jargon

  • Blending data with anecdotes

  • Asking for help

  • Asking for more time

  • Pacing for presentations

  • Objection handling

  • Asking open questions.

It's been a huge joy to see the evolution in these individuals. In just a few months, they've made so many new discoveries about themselves - and have started choosing to try things differently, and feel good about it.

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