An Interview with Caroline Sheridan, CEO, Sheridan Resolutions Ltd
Our interview with CAROLINE SHERIDAN, CEO at Sheridan Resolutions Ltd, examines the importance of executive coaching and leadership development for companies. Executive Global investigate why an organisation is only as successful as its people, as we
catch up with one of the UK’s pre-eminent coaching and leadership development specialists.
EG: How may executive leadership coaching for senior management productively benefit an organisation at lower levels?
CS: Almost every organisation ultimately takes its tone from the top. So those at the top show a certain set of management behaviours, the next layer down will seek to demonstrate them too, and then the layer below that and so on. Effective leadership has well-proven benefits for retention and morale, which in turn obviously boost productivity and profitability, and hence the organisation’s ability to look after its people better.
EG: Why is it so important for board level executives to undergo an extensive coaching programme?
CS: Many executives are promoted because they are technical experts and integral to the business in that way. However, not all players make good managers. Board level executives must additionally be able to persuade, convince and deal with conflict, and the technical expertise which has got them to the Board will not always help them so much when they get there.
EG: Is there a great correlation between senior level executives who have undergone a leadership development programme and their continued success?
CS: Our experience tells us that there is such a correlation provided that both the content and delivery of leadership programmes are tailored to executives’ individual needs and those of the business.
EG: What has your extensive experience as a CEDR Chambers Mediator taught you about dispute resolution?
CS: Two main things. First, workplace disputes are often fed by issues arising outside the workplace. This may not even be clear to the complainant until the safe space of the mediation allows it to emerge and be taken into account as necessary. Second, far too many businesses see mediation as the end-point of a grievance process, where I think it is far more effective right at the beginning, before positions become too entrenched.
EG: How important is team coaching to strengthen morale and encourage a balanced collective outlook for management?
CS: Team coaching is on the increase and while not every team will benefit equally from collective coaching of this sort, there is certainly no need for there to be active problems before team coaching can be positive. It helps surface issues which all the team might each have seen as someone else’s to raise and helps different levels within the team see others’ perspectives. That won’t mean that difficult decisions or difficult conversations won’t be necessary, but where there is greater awareness there is greater understanding and that in turn brings less conflict.
EG: What are some of the greatest challenges have you faced in your career as a successful executive coach and mediator?
CS: Initially, the biggest challenge was just awareness – business leaders and employee representatives saw mediation as a “fad” and not as a means of resolving workplace disputes at minimum cost in time, money and important professional relationships. The industry has a way to go on that but we are definitely making progress! The same is true of executive coaching – it has taken a long time for it to be commonly accepted at Board level that coaching can be a more efficient developmental tool than pressure imposed externally through the threat of formal processes.
EG: Tell us about the positive impact your firm has had on organisations in the financial services sector?
CS: Sheridan Resolutions has directly influenced building a UK-wide inclusion cultures for major retail and international banks, implemented a global 360 degree review process for a leading Exchange and presented well received female leadership programmes within asset management, and its appointment as sole provider to Lloyd’s for all coaching services, enables us to surface organisational themes which might otherwise be lost by a less cohesive service.
EG: You have wonderful testimonials from some of the UK’s premier banking and academic institutions. What can clients expect when working with you?
CS: Thank you. We are always delighted when clients take the time to tell us what they think. Sheridan Resolutions prides itself on the commitment which clients will know that we put into their work. Our clients know that they will get a product tailored for them, that we will not offer them any service we cannot provide to the highest standards and that whichever of our associates they use, they will be getting among the best in the market. EG