The Client: Ampersand Leadership Group partnered with a leading publishing, education, and media organization to provide Executive Coaching for a tremendously talented Operations leader, a 30-year veteran of the organization. To be considered for promotion, she needed to better align with the polished, results-oriented culture of the organization and its C-suite leaders.

The Challenge: The $12B, privately-held organization was growing steadily, but faced serious challenges in an ever competitive business environment. Our client was on the path to become COO of the organization during a time of significant transformation. There was hesitation from leadership around bringing her to the table; her passion was unquestioned, but there was a need for her to act more strategically and develop a more mature executive presence.

The Findings: We spent time determining the key objectives for the coaching relationship, with input from the executive, the sitting COO, and 360° feedback gathered from direct reports and key colleagues. Our consultant and the executive engaged in 18 months of high-impact coaching.

Our Contributions:

  • Enabling tough conversations and direct dialogue between the leader and her future boss.
  • Helping her to maintain her authentic self while also ensuring she was not diminishing her impact.
  • Bringing to light that this new role would require much more scanning the environment and strategic anticipation.
  • Creating opportunities for broader organizational and industry exposure to deepen her knowledge and establish her contribution as a potential COO.
  • Facilitating a stronger relationship and partnership with the CFO.


  • After 30 years as part of the organization, she successfully rebranded herself without losing the candor and authenticity that everyone loved.
  • She was promoted to COO in less than a year and led a very difficult operating transformation and company-wide reorganization.
  • We have continued to partner with her to complete her assimilation into the role of COO, provide follow-up coaching, and engage additional 360° feedback to ensure the change is sustainable.
  • The CEO acknowledged our consultant thusly: “If what you did there is the only thing you did in your career; you have made a huge difference.”


Our commitment to confidentiality prevents us from disclosing the identity of our clients and other confidential information. The information contained in this case study is not intended to serve as advice.