Hands-On Coaching for Excellence in One of Mexico's Fastest Growing Enterprises
By Irene (Quiti) Vera
Founded in 1943, Corporación Moctezuma (CM) is a well-known, respected, and financially solid business whose objective is to supply the construction industry with top-quality cement and concrete.
In the last decade, CM has positioned itself as one of the most highly recognized corporations both nationally and internationally. As a corporation with higher levels of growth than any other company in the cement field, its shareholders have continued to invest in cement production plants equipped with the best technology available worldwide.
Due to its extremely fast commercial growth in recent years, CM found itself working at breakneck speed. Keeping up with and innovating in technology-related areas led, in some cases, to the neglect of strategies and policies associated with the management of the individuals who make up the company's highly effective teams.
In late 2007, CM hired AIAC´s Executive Coaching Team to initiate a comprehensive program with the Budget and Finances Department, the members of which were showing clear signs of exhaustion. CM then contacted AIAC Mexico (Interamerican Coaching Academy) to coach and train several other departments of the company in hopes of devising a plan to address some of the stress-related issues their executives were facing.
After several meetings with some of the directors who were in charge of the program and holding an initial round of interviews with those who had been selected to participate, our AIAC team drew up a four-stage plan:
- Stage I—Introduction: Kick-off event, series of workshops with the team based on an experiential model designed to usher in the program, establish the context for coaching, and create an environment of trust and openness. First round of 360 evaluations.
- Stage II—Coaching Sessions: Assignment of personal coaches for all involved, with the intent of strengthening them individually through a series of 12 coaching sessions (in the span of 10 months). Second round of 360 evaluations, and 2-3 coaching sessions to analyze the results and set up personal and work-related goals throughout the following stage.
- Stage III—PLC: Implementation of the PLC (Programa Líder-Coach), a one-year in-house coaching course aimed at providing executives with coaching tools and skills to be incorporated into their daily interactions as team leaders. The staff who imparted this course included master coaches and instructors from Mexico, Spain, Argentina, and Peru.
- Stage IV—Team Coaching (still underway): This stage is crucial as well as different in that it treats a team as a system, building on its strengths as a dynamic organism. It includes a series of monthly sessions (during real-life executive meetings) which allow a self-regulating space for positive feedback leading to more effective teams and team leadership.
The Value Added
Allow me to introduce you to Jorge Gutierrez Trejo, Corporative IT General Manager of Corporación Moctezuma who participated in the program. Jorge hadn´t had any previous contact or experience with coaching.
"I would like to share how I feel the coaching process has helped me personally in performing my duties and in my work relationships with other people in the company, as well as the impact it's had on personnel in the finance area, where this effort was originally initiated.
Before the coaching program started, the atmosphere between the different departments in the area was too "hostile" and the culture that prevailed was one of "looking for the guilty parties" rather than finding solutions. Unfortunately, such dynamics were the norm not just in the finance area, but in the entire corporation, and they hindered people from having a more open attitude towards improving in every area. In the long run, it dampened motivation among the personnel.
During the program, a gradual change could be felt in everyday interactions, as each one of us began to acknowledge these opportunities from our perspective and we started to change the way we related and interacted with one another. We began to generate a better working atmosphere that eventually permeated all the other levels, as our interactions are now more amiable and understanding. This change has brought about greater openness and willingness to improve, to perform better, and therefore, to achieve better results.
I believe I'm not only speaking for myself when I state that the change has been remarkable, and that, as just one area, we've made a difference in the rest of the corporation. It hasn't been easy, as we're the ones spearheading a process that is as foreign to most people as it was to me before we began. Nevertheless, I feel that it's essential to spread this culture towards all the other areas so that, as a company, we will be able to work in an atmosphere that promotes innovation, teamwork, and improved service levels, both internally and externally.
Thank you for having given us this new vision and the means to help us improve, not just as co-workers, but as human beings and in our personal lives."