“The Heart of Coaching” Executive Success Stories

Following are excerpts from executives’ own success stories with The Heart of Coaching (THOC), featured in The Rise of the Coachable Leader by Thomas G. Crane.

By Terry Tierney, CEO, Daiya Foods

The central tenet of THOC coaching cultures is that feedback flows in all directions—UP, DOWN, and SIDEWAYS. This feature absolutely resonated with our beliefs—that coaching can happen anywhere between anyone. We have worked continuously to make the process of giving and receiving feedback absolutely a two-way conversation, and in those conversations reinforced to strong cultural beliefs: 1. It’s OK to make mistakes, 2. Getting feedback is a good thing—truly a gift, and 3. The first response of anyone who receives feedback is expected to be expressing gratitude to the provider—whether one agrees with the feedback or not.

In large part our success as an organization is the direct result of our feedback-rich coaching culture, supported by THOC. It is our X factor—our cultural advantage—that we continually fine-tune. It’s this simple: it comes down to giving real-time feedback to people who have the opportunity to adjust as they go, rather than getting hit in the face once a year in a dysfunctional performance review. View full story

By Terry Curry, VP Talent Development, FYidoctors

Every leader has been through THOC training to enable them to use the same communication approach day to day. Our intention has been to make this an ongoing, living, breathing communication process that stays top of mind. It was never approached as a training event—it’s an ongoing developmental process for the whole company.

The challenges we faced with our leaders have been largely overcome through these four years of working with THOC. It does not happen overnight. Our senior leaders have maintained a consistent focus on the importance of coaching. This message has been reinforced continually at all of our gatherings. You really can’t get away from the core message—coach and be coached. View full story

By Bill Johnson, CEO, Farm Credit Mid-America

Since 2011, FCMA has maintained a five-point strategic plan. Four of the objectives change from year to year, but the fifth—coaching culture development—has been a constant from year to year. One of our most important strategies is to provide an exceptional customer experience. We have focused on implementing best practices in the customer experience field by ensuring that our crucial coaching conversations maintain this focus. We use the THOC coaching toolkit to create the customer-centric empathy needed to be a good servant.

We recognize that our most successful teams within the company are those teams where their leaders are very coachable. It is our experience that if you have a capable team, they have trust in their leader who listens to them and takes their coaching. This evolution in individual and team performance success is—at its core—a leader being willing and able to be coached. View full story

By Glenn Stang, CEO, Synergy Credit Union

It turns out that the more we ask (for feedback), the more we get. The floodgates are now open to more and higher quality feedback flowing between people. It is our openness that led to constructive input where the employees, experiencing our openness, have become more constructive and willing to engage.

I imagine that when we reach the point of fully coachable leaders across the entire organization, life will be nicer, simpler, more relaxed, more fun, and less resistant to change. Everything and everyone would move faster. This is where we want to be! View full story

By Tim Decker, Director, Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services

In embracing THOC as a collegial coaching roadmap, we have created a far more systematic and uniform way of talking about performance. We see coaching as the clear replacement for traditional performance evaluations. The Results Cycle has helped us depersonalize feedback by focusing on a behavior (what someone did or said), the impact of that behavior on other staff members and families, and how that in turn has impacted the organization. It is hugely useful to use this as a framework to have a feedback become more specific—and actionable.

I have always described this work with THOC as a movement. It is aligned with our core set of beliefs and promotes exactly the kind of working environment we want to create. As we shift in this direction of more and more leaders and team members becoming open to receiving and responding to feedback, we all sense forward progress. People want to be part of the movement forward in finding better solutions. View full story

By Tom Kohn, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, Chemical Bank

The Leadership team, having gone through THOC first, was challenged to completely “own” the process of what it meant to be a coach. We purposely took a full year to work with our senior leaders to optimize the ownership and integration of the thoughts, beliefs and behaviors embedded in the THOC methodology. So, spend all the time you need to make sure you have that degree of ownership at the very top.

We found it effective to use the phrase “in the spirit of coaching” to introduce a conversation and clearly frame our intention to help somebody improve. We all have blind spots; when we approached our direct managers for upward feedback, this stated positive intention and the act of requesting permission to deliver feedback helped the process work with people who were truly open to learning. View full story

By Andy Deakins, Director of HR and Safety, Young Touchstone

Our more progressive managers learned that this coaching roadmap from THOC could be used in just about everything that related to dealing with employees. The lightbulbs were turning on! We saw the biggest and most positive shifts where managers embraced what it meant to be a coach. They were able to move away from the top-down, command-and-control style to something that was far more engaging and collaborative.

Using THOC, team loyalty became tangible, and led to better decision-making and collaboration across the board. A dynamic of trust and faster conflict resolution resulted because personal relationships were cleaned up. And, a measurable reduction in turnover rates had a huge impact on productivity and efficiency. View full story

Workshop Feedback

The Heart of Coaching has become a game-changing event within our organization. Though this specialized training, I believe we are solidifying the components of trust, respect, engagement and communication that are integral attributes of a high performing team.

David Ramaker, Chairman, CEO and President, Chemical Bank

“The Heart of Coaching” professional development session exceeded my expectations. I have taken a lot of professional development in the last 20 years and the two days spent with Tom Crane was by far the best professional development event I have ever attended. I really appreciated Tom’s style and guidance through the two days. The individual and small group hands-on activities were very powerful. I plan to use the skills and knowledge gained with my team, the larger organization, external customers, and at home. Thank you for providing such a rich experience.

Beth Crawford, MA, The Ohio State University

Your recent team alignment workshop reinforced the need and benefits for a “feedback-rich coaching culture” and it was a great opportunity for staff to practice coaching on each other. Thanks again for a great workshop!

Gail Farber, Caltrans

As a senior manager with a major international manufacturing entity, I am continually educating my superiors, peers and subordinates about the value of developing exceptional coaching skills. After extensive research, The Heart of Coaching was the written vehicle we chose to develop these skills within our organization.

What sets it apart, is a focus on changing yourself and your own behavior rather than changing others. It is written with a simplicity that creates immediate understanding of the most effective behaviors of leaders who combine “heart” with results. The results in our organization have been astounding. Not just a change in the effectiveness of individuals, but a cultural evolution.

Jill Keller Bonneau, Michelin

Anonymous Feedback

Testimonials from participants from around the world attending the two-day Core Skills Coaching & Accountability workshop

Asian Clients
  • Good case exercises and examples to understand—good class and structured training.
  • It was a good program and had been conducted in such a way to facilitate understanding and implementation.
  • I learned new tips and techniques, and I am already an experienced coach!
Educational Clients—US
  • All the skills and the roadmap were helpful, the options for change were the most helpful.
  • In education, breaking “bad news” is hard, and the feedback loop helped me think about how to best break bad news.
  • The Transformational Coaching Roadmap provides a framework to use when working in any coaching situation.
  • Learning language that avoids blame, builds collaboration, and insures mutual commitment from both the coach and the coachee is powerful.
Hospital Clients—US/Australia
  • Well-designed group activities facilitated our exchange of best practices, and created an environment of camaraderie.
  • This approach encourages a compassionate interaction—one that we need in our organization.
  • This approach to coaching will continue to develop our team—and that will lead directly to the best patient outcomes and staff satisfaction.
Department of Corrections—US
  • This approach to coaching reminds us to share our experience, yet come from non-judgment when coaching peers, managers, and direct reports.
  • This has been the best class of our leadership development program.
Financial Services—US
  • This workshop, by far, exceeded my expectations. I came in expecting how to coach sales calls—I left with coaching skills that can be used in every facet of my life.
  • This experience has opened my eyes that we all need to take more ownership in coaching our staff.
  • I learned how to coach UP to my direct manager—how to start the conversation and how to maintain the forward movement.