Coaching Makena Lane
Makena Lane has a gift for producing results, even in the challenging retail context of the 2010s, but she also has a knack for “ruffling some feathers” in the process. Recruited to a Fortune 500 grocery and pharmacy retailer after climbing to Associate Principal in McKinsey & Company’s retail practice, she successfully grew their high-margin yet highly competitive beauty category beyond anyone’s expectations. Yet then she was passed over for promotion, receiving the feedback that her “concerning” and “abrasive” interpersonal style had made it impossible to promote her. Instead of a promotion, Lane is offered an executive coach.
The case offers a uniquely in-depth (and intimate) view of how Lane approaches the one-year coaching engagement and the outputs from it, including her pre-coaching self-reflection, agreed-upon purpose and outcomes, 360 feedback, the coach’s advice to her, an in-depth coach’s final report, and Lane’s one-pager of lessons learned.
At the end of the year of coaching, Lane’s boss unexpectedly departs, leaving Lane with a direct path to promotion. Senior leadership now once again faces the difficult decision of whether to promote Lane, this time based on their assessment of whether Lane has authentically transformed through coaching or just taken superficial steps to check off boxes on the way to promotion.
- 2017 President and Fellows of Harvard College
Choosing a Book Format
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