In this Career Coaching Case Study, you’ll learn how coaching helps a business professional achieve a higher-level leadership position while also benefitting the company.

Martina is an experienced, mid-career financial leader with depth and breadth of capabilities beyond finance including business strategy, change management, as well as complex Mergers + Acquisitions. With a warm and engaging personality, she and her husband have lived and worked around the world and she’s gifted in 5 languages.

Martina was initially referred to me for coaching by supportive superiors in her company familiar with my work in coaching for leadership clarity, relationship building communication skills and career development.

Given the times, the company was going through many international challenges and organizational changes. Feeling that Martina was of great value to the company, her Directors on up were looking for the right next role for her skillset.

At the same time, Martina had successfully risen in the ranks of this multinational company. First-round discussions were of a lateral move repeating work she was familiar with and could do well, but I could tell it did not excite her.

We set out on our coaching work to identify 1.) What she really wanted and needed for this next phase of her career, 2.) Any impediments in her way and 3.)  Additional skills she might need to achieve her goals once identified.

Phase 1: Coaching for Clarity

As an early 40’s, mid-career professional, through coaching conversations about Martina’s history and career growth, her current role and relationships, as well as her future dreams, we identified:

  • She was entering into the next 10-15 year phase of her career. She was ambitious, wanted to be challenged in her growth, and fully saw herself at a VP or CEO level in time.
  • She wanted to be challenged by and excited about her next position.
  • She knew she wanted to be in a new role by early 1st Within 4 months or so.

In a few coaching sessions as a couple, Martina and Dmitri agreed:

  • They were fully supportive of one another’s careers and had always communicated fully.
  • Martina’s career always took the lead because, in Dmitri’s industry, skillset and remote capability made his job opportunities quite flexible.
  • With coaching encouragement, they deepened their conversations about where in the world they’d really like to live. This meant an international move back to the US, by 1st Q of the coming year. This set them about researching mortgages they held, would sell, and what/where to purchase.
  • I also asked them to list together what they wished to accomplish in their current European stint before they moved back to the US. The Coronavirus had prevented a lot of exploration and now things were starting to open up. They embraced the assignment!

Delving into why the US once again and what was important in the next city within the US, Martina identified:

  • The lifestyle particulars she remembered and wanted again. Close to ambitious women friends in high-level positions in their companies or organizations who shared personally and professionally, supporting one another’s dreams.

She wanted the energy of New York where she and Dmitri had lived before.

She was fine with commuting/traveling part-time for her work. She and Dmitri were both used to traveling in their work and communicated well even when apart for some of the time.

Phase 2: Confidence and Communication Coaching

Gaining clarity about what she truly wanted in her lifestyle also began to be reflected in Martina’s confidence in her capabilities.

  • She was coached to speak with recruiters and to apply for a few very high-level positions in other companies she admired. She reached out to former mentors, supporters and requested they keep her informed.
  • I coached her to accept offers for interviews to see the response and to update her interview skills. She had a few high-level interviews and interests, but the timing was not right for the companies involved. Martina maintained open communication and both sides agreed to stay in touch.

Phase 3: “Framing It—Her Needs and Expectations” for Her Current Company

As Martina grew in confidence she eventually found another high-level position with another company she grew in confidence to be totally open to negotiating with her current company—listening fully and exploring options they presented, but also speaking about her expectations and criteria.

When I first met her, Martina initially looked to her many supporters, mentors, and superiors in the current organization in discussions based on the various positions they could offer or imagine.

By this time in our coaching, the roles discussed were clearly A or B.

  1. Finance and a strong treasury, financial leadership future
  2. Leadership of a Business using all her skills, and developing new markets and products


It became obvious to me just how much they valued her and wanted to keep her. I coached her that this gave her leverage to keep strongly negotiating for what she wanted.

  • No lateral move
  • 1st Q change
  • Moving back to the US with her chosen cities as home base
  • Some travel and WFH flexibility
  • And first and foremost that she be excited about the position and people

Because the A) Finance role vs. B) Business Leadership roles were so divergent, I coached her to “feel her way through all the discussions/interviews,” which were many, all very supportive. Having achieved such clarity and confidence through our coaching, Martina managed the many conversations with grace and confidence, while she also waited for the company to create the best role possible for her skills.  She could fully understand the arguments for the financial path, but her heart was not captivated to pursue the consequences of this choice.

Unspoken except between us, her final elimination was the major Finance position because it did not feel like a future that excited her. I encouraged her to bide her time a tiny bit longer while they sorted out the business role.

Fully informed of her choices, a week later the company offered her a Business Leadership role with everything she wanted. She could determine the timing, the development of the role, where she lived and from where she worked, etc. She got a title and a substantial raise. More importantly, she advocated for herself and her future happiness and people in the company respected how she communicated. She was rewarded with the next major position. The company will be rewarded with a competent, capable gracious female leader who will most likely continue to grow in the ranks. A Win/Win for all!

Congratulations, Martina, on negotiations well done. And now we enter into Phase 4—Coaching as she onboards her new position and creates the position she desired!

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Dr. Jan Hoistad