We are talking in the case that we are dealing with of a company's operational management, which is very important since it has some 4,000 people. Within this operational department, the Chairman and the Chief Executive Officer must bring about in-depth changes to the operating rules of all high- tech ; this is a very far-reaching change.

The president and the general manager have very different profiles : the president is an expert in the field but not in the business and he is new to the company. The managing director has a good knowledge of the company; he is an expert in project management but he has no experience in the field or in the profession. He is in fact considered a bit of an intruder . The idea of ​​the binomial set up within the framework of the objective defined above responds to a logic of complementarity.

Furthermore, relations between the CEO and the management committee are very tense. The CEO perceives his management committee as not very collaborative; most of its members have asked for their mobility or are thinking about it. They see in their CEO an authoritarian man, with little expertise and who does not commit. He also refuses, they say, to be helped.

Mistrust has therefore set in on both sides.

One day, the GM's assistant complains of harassment . Very quickly, the DG is "categorized" as a narcissistic pervert. The HRD is alerted because it is becoming essential to put an end to this situation because mobility, apart from being impossible, would not solve anything.

The president then supports the idea of ​​a coaching action for the CEO and the HR department launches an internal investigation into violence at work.

It is at this moment that our Cabinet is seized

Our analysis of the situation

When we meet the DG "object" of the coaching, we face a man who is convinced that he does not have the required profile.

A driving force in a collective situation, he is a tense leader. He avoids debates as soon as he finds himself in a demanding situation and does not want to talk about his own difficulties. At the same time, he tries to reassure himself, focuses on details. He tries to be positive as much as possible; he is in control.

The management committee remains on its own and continues to see in this general manager a narcissistic pervert , someone who is not up to the task, an impostor. "We don't know if he is Mister Jekyll or Mister Hyde". His loss of authority, which naturally neutralizes cooperation, obviously weakens the president himself.

The trap in which the general manager finds himself is as follows : he tells himself that he is up to it, that he must therefore obtain what he asks for but does not succeed and goes from disillusion to disillusion; "he is sometimes perceived as a predator, sometimes like a dog in a bowling game, a hunted animal".

The president is weakened by the event and already fears having "lost" the transformation project; he makes these events a collective event and seeks at all costs an exit for the members of the management.

The departure of the assistant is traumatic for everyone . The DG will have to get out of this situation very quickly. The president is then more flexible and offers his help but he realizes that the DG does not follow his advice. The latter will on occasion ask a lot of those around him for feedback and he is of course perceived even more as someone who is worried, which further increases resistance to change.

The HR Department is seeking to establish the truth by collecting the words of all the witnesses to the event, with the project of carrying out a collective restitution which will make it possible to understand what happened. This action is led by the internal coach.

This survey brings up different opinions on the CEO; we quickly converge on the emergence of a scapegoat . If I had to find an image, I would say that we are facing a horse that is racing and that it is necessary to open the arena so that the horse deviates from its trajectory, is hampered in its gallop and brakes ....... for regained control.

Our Cabinet is again in demand.

What have we done ?

The operational diagnosis phase leads us to recommend the constitution of a relevant system made up of the president, the CEO, the HRD and the internal coach.

Then, we set up coaching for the CEO, who we perceive to be very demanding. He indeed feels very badly (we learn that he had been president of CHSCT) but able to negotiate the link with all the members of the relevant system.

In the diagnosis, we specified the issue: restoring the authority of the CEO, an absolute necessity because we are in a company where we do not "change" and, in any case, if this executive leaves, the change will not can take place. The stakes are therefore high and unavoidable.

To do this, we must put in place a framework that allows the maintenance of a link with the interlocutors who can act on the situation.

We had initially advised against collective action, but the process had already begun and we found ourselves in a stage meeting where restitution was even closer to producing more disorder than to restoring the situation. Quite naturally, the idea of ​​a seminar was retained. This seminar brought everyone together, as participants, so that there were no evaluators or observers. We worked in tandem with the internal coach.

The HRD's request was to coach the CEO weakened by an accusation of harassment. We transformed this request into "how to oblige the management committee to invest in the change?"

We negotiated on time. We were told: "How long do you need for the CEO to overcome his difficulties?" We have in fact taken the time to mobilize all the actors of the relevant system.

The restitution highlighted:

  • the priority centered on the CEO
  • collective work in a second time

During the seminar, the restitution reflected the individual points of view of all. And we have come to the closure of the truth about the past.

We applied problem solving techniques, we focused on current problems oriented to the future; we have softened the attempts at solutions and moved from their past-oriented logic to a future-oriented logic.

This seminar generated intense emotion. The CEO attended – he had prepared for it during 6 sessions with Lact – a hearing of the multiple accusations made against the scapegoat he had become.

But, during the poses, the participants gradually came towards him until they formed a swarm and the president then noticed that he had regained his position as leader, captain of the boat.