Mary Herrmann is the Managing Director of Executive Coaching with BPI group.
Mary joined the company in 2010, bringing more than 25 years of experience helping organizations build better and more effective leaders. In her current role, Mary leads the global executive coaching practice for senior-level executives while serving as an executive coach herself.
BPI group is a global management and human resources consulting firm, focused on helping individuals and organizations navigate change. BPI group partners with HR and business leaders to align, engage, develop, and transition talent, providing solutions that span the talent management lifecycle.
BusinessInterviews.com: Do you think that the cultural shift towards collaboration demands different leadership skills than we required a decade ago?
Mary: Absolutely. The way employees work today is much different, and certainly requires a totally different skill set from leadership to manage that talent. Ten years ago, employees would have been expected to complete 80 percent of their work on their own, with only 20 percent requiring a degree of collaboration. Today that stat is flipped. In fact, we have been well into the collaborative model of working for more-or-less five years. At the core of being able to successfully collaborate at work are communication skills. There is a myriad of formats that support communication – such as Skype, conference calls, instant chat, etc. – that expound the degree of collaboration needed of both employees and company leaders. Taking this all into consideration, we can no longer have lone leaders attempting to function in a silo. Instead, successful leaders must engage with employees, have high caliber communication skills and fully embrace an inclusive culture in the workplace.
BusinessInterviews.com: How does your Shared Success Framework℠ help organizations and individuals to understand their mutual perspectives, and work together to meet each other’s needs?
Mary: The Shared Success Framework is a fulcrum for BPI group. It is a constant reminder that, as executive coaching professionals, our responsibility is to help find and establish a balance between the individual and organizational needs of our clients. While our consultants are expected to deliver business results, it is critical to remember that results are accomplished through the individual. Intrinsically, this is common sense. However, the reminder that executive coaching should be a collaborative, mutually beneficial undertaking for both the individual and the organization is critical. On an organizational level, the Framework quantifies the return on investment of a coaching program. For an individual, it demonstrates the value the organization places on investing in their professional growth, how they as an individual can become a better leader and how they can best serve the organization.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you talk about the process of providing a holistic assessment of an organization’s current effectiveness? What are some of the most common issues that you uncover when evaluating a business on this level?
Mary: When my team assesses an organization’s effectiveness, I focus in on the effectiveness of that organization’s leadership. It should come as no surprise that effective leaders are best equipped to inspire their employees, realize business goals and drive organizational success. Common issues that negatively impact leadership effectiveness include gaps in emotional intelligence, such as in the inability to express empathy in the workplace, and a lack of self-awareness regarding skills, strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, leadership effectiveness at a manager or even vice president level can be adversely affected when executive leadership inadequately communicates change directives or business goals.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you share with our readers why you’re so proud of BPI group’s ROI Dashboard?
Mary: I am proud of the ROI Dashboard because of my executive coaching colleagues using this tool. At BPI group, we are fortunate that our executive coaching team is selected from among the very best professionals. I feel a great sense of pride in the accomplishments and expertise of my colleagues, and am inspired by their professional growth and development. With this tool at their disposal, our cadre of coaches is able to provide an even higher level of finesse and skill to their assignments. After all, at the end of the day our industry is people-centric and it is our people and their level of professionalism that ensures successful deliverables for clients.
BusinessInterviews.com: What advice would you give to a manager who is trying to navigate their team through a transformational change like a merger, acquisition or divestment?
Mary: My biggest piece of advice to a leader navigating their team through a transformation change is to ‘know thyself.’ Meaning, a leader is more likely to realize success when they are cognizant of their own leadership style. The better the understanding a leader has of his or her skills, strengths and deficiencies, in addition to self-expectations and demands of others, the easier it will be to successfully lead employees through change. It is imperative for leaders at all levels to strive for this self-awareness.
BusinessInterviews.com: You’re currently witnessing a trend of seeing an increased demand for executive coaching from companies across the globe. Can you expand on what this increased focus on global development means to you and your colleagues?
Mary: The increase in demand for executive coaching on a global scale is very exciting for me and my team of executive coaches. From country to country, after cultural nuances are taken into consideration, we consistently see that cultural coaching needs are more similar than different. To us, this increased demand signals the success of our approach – we have a deliverable that can be successfully applied anywhere in the world. The business world continues to demand that talent be utilized in different ways, so BPI group has undertaken an expansion project to meet international talent needs. This effort enables us to operate not just in the United States, but also in New Delhi, Paris, Warsaw and beyond.
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