Home Case Studies Public & Government Sector Developing Leadership in U.S. Government: Financial Institutions During Times of Crisis

Developing Leadership in U.S. Government: Financial Institutions During Times of Crisis

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Executive coaching is a well-documented strategy for developing leaders and for building (a) culture …(that) believes coaching will support the (organization’s)… strategic future by formally supporting executives and by strengthening, sustaining, and renewing the culture by focusing on identified leadership strengths. (Salmon, 2008, p. 13)

The program used both internal coaches and external coaches contracted from the Federal Consulting Group, then an internal consulting group within the Department of the Treasury, and now a directorate within the Department of Interior’s National Business Center.

The pilot coaching program began in the fall of 2005 with 18 executives who volunteered to participate. They completed the coaching pilot in April 2006. The program focused on enhancing high-performance, not on performance management issues. The program objectives were to:

  • Accelerate the development of the next generation of leaders by providing personalized learning at critical junctures, such as periods of increased responsibility, a new position, a recent promotion;
  • Maximize the contributions of high-performing leaders by developing their capacity to align vision, actions, and performance;
  • Work more effectively within their business line and network across the organization;
  • Support the organization’s strategic future by providing support that challenges participants’ assumptions and encourages innovation; and
  • Strengthen, sustain, and renew the organization’s culture by supporting the development of critical leadership competencies.

    An evaluation of the pilot program identified measurable outcomes and benefits to individuals and the organization. Participants and their coaches completed surveys to identify return on investment as well as return on value, a more meaningful measure based on improvements in communication across business units and other factors related to mission execution. The evaluations showed value-added benefits in four areas:

• Enhanced relationships and improved communication skills with supervisors and development of trust with staff;

  • Improved quality and focus on customer satisfaction, including development of resilience and adaptability to meet new customer demands;
  • Elevated leadership confidence, including the ability to create clarity around vision and mission; and
  • Reduced stress, including improved work/life balance.

    Several key enhancements were made before launching the agency-wide program in Fiscal Year (FY) 2007. There was an expanded emphasis on the targeted leader level and increase in the program parameters and guidelines. Greater emphasis was placed on supervisor involvement in the beginning by establishing a formal orientation for the participants and their supervisors, and outlining respective responsibilities. The evaluation process was expanded to include a mid-point check-in and end-of- program evaluations by both the participant and the supervisor.

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