4 coaching missions

Coaching missions

Making strategic arguments with poise

At stake

The CEO of a major American corporation, along with his staff, announced his annual tour of all the European subsidiaries for the mid-year review. In France, the Sales Director had to be fully prepared. All of his strategy was going to be closely examined. His team was mobilized to provide the right numbers, the arguments and forecasts for the coming year.

This French director had only been in his position for a few months. The CEO had fired his predecessor, so he knew he had to be convincing on his new orientations and potential, segment by segment, for the next meeting.

The approach

Leading up to the mid-year review with intensive sessions, James DILLON helped the director clarify his arguments and add tonus to his presentation, highlighting key points. He especially knew how to get the director to let go of his Powerpoint slides to create a constructive discussion in a climate of confidence.


The Director was congratulated by the CEO. His dynamic presentation was immensely appreciated and his strategy was accepted. On a personal level, he said, “I really got a lot out of this experience.” Following his Review, his company grew at an impressive rate in France.

Result: 21.742 million Euros 10.500 million Euros in profits


Success following an apparent failure

At stake

An experienced airline pilot went through the selection process to become a pilot for Air France. After succeeding with all of the aptitude and technical tests, his application was turned down because of a particularly biased psychological evaluation. In spite of all the hours he had logged as a pilot, the verdict could not be appealed. Disappointed by this failure for arbitrary reasons, he decided to be a candidate the following year and to be accompanied by a coach.

The approach

During his coaching sessions, he was able to overcome his anger and frustration. His parents were immigrants; he had grown up under modest circumstances. He felt that he had neither been recognized nor evaluated for his real competence. Coaching helped him highlight some rather extraordinary sacrifices he had made over several years to pay for his training and pilot licenses. He also became more aware of how to present himself in terms of the selection criteria and to stress his leadership qualities. In particular, he remembered different critical situations when he had shown his ability to remain clear-headed in the cockpit, but that he had never mentioned during his previous interviews. He realized that he possessed exceptional self-mastery when he had faced emergencies during landings.


He was selected the second time and obtained the status of pilot for long distance flights for Air France.

Salary at the beginning of his career with Air France: 4000 Euros per month, with a potential of 15000 € per month by the end of his career.


Taking calculated risks

At stake

The European Sales Director for a sporting goods company realized that his career was stagnating and he didn’t see much opportunity in his company for promotion.

The approach

Coaching allowed him to evaluate his situation, especially to understand his personality and certain aspects of his character that may have blocked him from executive job offers. Very attached to his values, he lacked diplomacy and showed his anger when his superiors didn’t share his point of view. The time had come, he considered, to explore his potential as entrepreneur, to give greater scope to his abilities. He made a market study and began looking for international opportunities. He was careful to analyze different options and to build up and renew his network. Then he invested his own savings and created a start-up in southern Europe. The market niche involved a certain risk, but coaching allowed him to measure it, both for himself and his family, and to prepare his business plan completely and carefully.


He has since become CEO of a company with a capitalization of 4.74 million Euros.


Executive coaching to create a new team spirit

At stake

The multinational corporation, whose business was consumer goods, decided to diversify by setting up a new business unit for luxury brands. The spirit of the team was, in fact, generally positive; yet people had trouble adapting to the demands of luxury market. Employees soon returned to old behaviors and attitudes that were the norm for the head company, summed up by the formula, “Look out for N° 1”.

Results did not meet the ambitious goals set and it was time to review the initial strategy. A new Executive Director was named to re-focus the unit and to improve results. He was especially attentive to finding new ways to motivate his team and to manage them differently. He did not call their business skills into question, but he hoped to give them the taste for real, sustained cooperation and collaboration.

The approach

Between sessions with Mr. DILLON, he launched informal spaces that were expressly dedicated to creative exchanges. During more formal meetings, he encouraged his teams to replace the expression “feedback” by “feed forward”. In other words, he challenged them to add value to an idea or proposal instead of immediately finding fault with it. Along with James Dillon, he co-facilitated “games” inspired by Steve Jobs at Apple, assigning people to “pirate teams” who concocted dynamic scenarios the other teams had to find responses for.

He pushed his collaborators to look outside of the company, to study the luxury market and their competitors, in order to enrich their solutions.

As for himself, he decided to renew his own presentations on his business strategy or results by integrating story-telling techniques. He cited successful examples that expressed corporate values. He became more adept at giving signs of recognition to different collaborators for their contributions.


The way the team had of communicating became totally changed. Collaborators were stimulated and creative, used to working in a cross-functional way to share their best practices. Gone were the days of distrust and withholding new ideas!