Beaton Executive Coaching

Transition coaching

Case Study 3


  • Robert has been an acting secretary in a government department for nine months.

  • He stepped up from deputy secretary into this role effortlessly and aspires to remain at this level, either
    in his current role or in another department.

  • Robert has explored a number of alternatives, including a CEO role in an agency and in a
    not-for-profit, as well as a senior role in one of the major consulting firms. None of these options is
    as attractive as the secretary role, but Robert might have to move out in order to move up, i.e.
    vacate his present position for the sake of accommodating his aspiration.

Robert is aware that he faces a number of challenges:

  • In the acting role, he lacks authority to implement the changes that he believes will lift the performance of the
    department. Therefore, he has not been able to demonstrate his full ability at this level.

  • Robert feels that he does not have the full support of the search consultancy handling the selection process. This may
    have a negative impact on final decision makers.

  • At interview, especially when he feels he is being judged, Robert tends to over-prepare and does not sell himself well.

  • Robert recognises that in order to get the top job he needs a sponsor – someone who will benefit from his being in the
    role and who will therefore advocate strongly on his behalf.

  • Accordingly, Robert realises that he needs to explore the market more systematically. Ultimately, he needs to identify a
    suitable vacancy in the right department with a willing sponsor.

  • Robert does not want to relocate as he and his wife have two teenagers who are settled in their schools, social networks
    and sporting activities.

Transition coaching assisted Robert by helping him develop job-search strategies to:

  • Systematically gather market intelligence by drawing on and expanding his current network using the technique of
    information interviewing.

  • Enhance his ability to sell himself more effectively by enriching his ‘story’ with anecdotes that highlight the critical
    incidents of his career journey and that illustrate the quality of his achievements.

  • Rework his LinkedIn profile and his CV to align more purposefully with each other and with his aspirations.

  • Strengthen his confidence by preparing for interview questions using advertised selection criteria as a guide and
    practising the narration of fitting exemplars from the ‘story’ of his career.

  • Role-play his interview responses with his wife and me.

As a result, Robert:

  • Successfully positioned himself as a potential candidate both for a CEO role in an agency and for the secretary
    position in a department that resonated with his ambition and skills sets.

  • Was offered and accepted the CEO role, seeing in this an opportunity to do something different and a stepping-stone
    down the track to a secretary position.