First 90 Days Executive Coaching – 10 key Steps

June 12th, 2012 by Sarah Green Leave a reply »

At Zircon we use our sound psychological knowledge and business expertise in order to provide our clients with the support and advice they need to develop and grow their leaders for the future. One way in which we do this, is to provide executive coaching, to prepare leaders for a change in role or career direction.

According to Michael Watkins, author of The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels, there are ten key strategies, for managers and leaders to use to help them when transitioning from one role to the next. We have found that the following 10 strategies proposed by Watkins very useful when coaching clients in a new leadership role:

1. Promote Yourself. Even before you start your new role, begin to develop the mindset you need in order to be successful. Consider what will make you successful and what you will need to do differently in order to be successful.

2. Accelerate Your Learning. Begin learning about the markets, products, technologies, structures, politics, culture and systems as soon as possible. Prioritise and focus upon learning the key things which you need to know and which will be most beneficial to you when starting out in the role.

3. Match Strategy To Situation. Before developing a plan of action it is important to first diagnose and understand the business situation. Consider the potential strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and how you might leverage/overcome these.

4. Secure Early Wins. In order to build credibility early and engage your staff it is important to identify ways in which you can improve the business early on. By creating and showing how you add value you will develop energy and momentum for change.

5. Negotiate Success. Aim to develop a positive and productive relationship with your manager early on. Be clear about their expectations, your expectations, what you plan to do and where you plan to take the business in the future.

6. Achieve Alignment. Consider your role within the organisations overall strategy. Ensure you have the resources in place to support the strategy and provide constructive criticism if you think there is a better way of doing things.

7. Build Your Team. Get to know your new team, understand the strengths and development needs of each individual and ensure they are in the best position to perform well. It is important to make these changes to the team’s structure earlier rather than later.

8. Create Coalitions. Develop supportive alliances both within and outside of the organisation or your business area. This will enable you to negotiate and influence more effectively when making important leadership decisions.

9. Keep Your Balance. Whilst you are familiarising yourself with your new role, it is important to ensure that you have a network of individuals to support you in the decisions you make. By including others, and demonstrating respect for their knowledge and experience you will also develop buy in and engagement.

10. Expedite Everyone. Whilst it is important to accelerate your own learning and knowledge it is important to invest in others. Having a high performing team will ultimately help your own performance.

If you would like more information on how Zircon could support your business leaders to develop, grow and progress then please contact

Adapted from Source:
Watkins, M. (2003). The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels Harvard Business School Publishing: USA

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