Transitioning to Senior Leadership: The Importance of Coaching


Frank, recently promoted as vice-rector of people and culture for the University of Callalily, discovers that a senior leadership position considerably differs from a mid-level leadership position in a faculty. Despite the fact that Frank enrolled in executive coaching with the help of Human Resources Services, performance results are not being met. Frank’s inability to adapt to his new functions resulted in his inadequate performance and poor relations with his direct reports.

Several hypotheses can be entertained in this case study to determine what went wrong with the coaching offered to Frank. In this case study, the reader is invited to direct their attention to assumptions that might have been made about: (1) Frank’s readiness to manage at such senior level, (2) Frank’s immediate supervisor’s expectations, (3) the coaching approach required for Frank in this specific context, and (4) the forms of support that might have been appropriate for this new senior leader. Different perspectives, individual and organizational, could be considered while reading the case study that may help to identify the pitfalls and opportunities in the support system for integrating a new senior leader.

This case was prepared for inclusion in SAGE Business Cases primarily as a basis for classroom discussion or self-study, and is not meant to illustrate either effective or ineffective management styles. Nothing herein shall be deemed to be an endorsement of any kind. This case is for scholarly, educational, or personal use only within your university, and cannot be forwarded outside the university or used for other commercial purposes.

2023 Sage Publications, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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