Gary Villani, Principal Consultant, Chrysalis Consulting GroupGary Villani, Principal Consultant
Chrysalis Consulting Group was founded on the premise that there is no single way to be an effective leader. The company believes that the path to effective leadership is about discovering and being true to one’s authentic self. Being an authentic leader means pursuing a sense of purpose with passion, living by strongly held values, leading with both head and heart, and demonstrating self-awareness and self-discipline.

Following is the conversation that Manage HR had with Gary Villani, the Principal Consultant at Chrysalis Consulting Group.

What are the challenges existing today in the Executive Coaching space, and how is Chrysalis Consulting Group effectively addressing these issues?

There is no question that the pandemic experience of the past few years has significantly altered the way businesses operate. More than ever before, leaders need to find new ways to engage, motivate, and connect with team members who have settled into the new hybrid model of work. To be effective in this new model, leaders need to become more flexible and enable workers to do their job with more autonomy and in new ways. Leaders are also being called upon to be more people-oriented with a stronger focus on empathy, care, and well-being at work. Despite these trends, research shows that many leaders want a return to pre-pandemic business models and are still practicing a command-and-control style of leadership. Such leaders inevitably experience a disconnect with their teams.

We are addressing this issue by working with leaders to recognize and understand the shifts that have occurred in the business landscape and the new realities of the employer contract. In our coaching, we nudge leaders to talk less, listen more, and act with greater empathy toward their team members. In doing so, we are supporting them in transitioning from a business-centered leadership model (where people are viewed as a means to an end) to a human-centered model (where people become the purpose of the business and drive it forward).

The cornerstones of our coaching approach include:

• Holding up the mirror to help clients understand which behaviors are contributing to their success and which may be getting in their way

• Creating psychological safety with clients to encourage self-disclosure and self-discovery

• Helping clients feel heard, leveraging the therapeutic value of talk and showing empathy and support to senior leaders who may be experiencing solitude in their roles at the top

• Balancing support with constructive contention; challenging clients, and being courageous in truth-telling

• Taking a holistic approach that considers the full complexity of clients’ lives, not just their professional roles.

Each of our coaching engagements is rooted in principles and theory of adult development and change. Our process is typically informed by 360-degree feedback and/or psychometric assessment. We work in concert with organizational sponsors, providing transparency on the process, progress and client development plans while respecting the bounds of client confidentiality.

Although every engagement is framed around specific goals, we encourage our clients to view their leadership practice as a journey rather than a destination. Over the last several years, we’ve helped leaders to successfully onboard in new roles, build emotional intelligence, enhance executive presence, as well as identify and overcome blocks to success.

Your service portfolio includes a broader range of leadership development solutions that supplement and complement executive coaching. Please shed some light on these offerings, their features and their benefits.
Our company tagline describes our portfolio as “Transformational Leadership Solutions.” That promise has its genesis in a commonly expressed piece of client feedback. Our clients frequently use the word “transformational” to describe the experience of a coaching engagement or participation in one of our developmental programs. These programs include a range of solutions that typically address specific client needs:

• Executive Development programs that provide senior leaders with an opportunity to step back from the daily fray to reflect upon their leadership practice and learn new models and behaviors that can take them to the next level.

• Emerging Leadership programs that help clients identify and groom the next generation of leaders. These programs ensure that critical succession plans are fit for purpose in developing future-ready leaders.
  • In our coaching, we nudge leaders to talk less, listen more, and act with greater empathy toward their team members

• Action Learning processes that involve small groups working on real problems, taking collective action and learning as individuals, teams and as an organization. These programs help senior leadership teams develop creative, flexible and successful strategies for pressing problems.

• Management Training to address the common occurrence of high performers who are promoted into managerial ranks without the fundamental skills, tools and mindsets needed to help the team reach their full potential. Our curriculum equips new managers with essential competencies and provides experienced managers with a helpful refresh.

All of our solutions are customized for unique client requirements and carefully aligned with the client culture to empower its leaders.

Please cite an example of how you have enabled clients to overcome hurdles and attain desired outcomes.

We recently coached a senior executive of a global brand performance agency who was taking on responsibility for the North American region, the company’s largest asset. In addition to a significantly expanded remit, this client was also charged with overseeing the integration of an important new business acquisition. Navigating the robust merger presented a number of challenges, including defining a new business model and culture, as well as identifying and motivating leaders on both sides of the combined organization. While energized by the challenge ahead, the client had concerns about the need to make a number of tough decisions ahead under ambiguous circumstances with limited information.

We leveraged coaching to improve the client’s credibility and confidence and to refine their executive narrative. Over time, the client learned to better trust their experience and instincts and to fuel their decision-making dexterity. By the end of the engagement, not only had the client successfully integrated the two divergent organizations into a cohesive unit, but this leader also spearheaded double-digit business growth within the first year in the role.

What separates Chrysalis Consulting Group from the other companies?

All of the work we do at Chrysalis Consulting Group is built on a solid foundation of more than three decades of corporate and consulting experience focused on leadership and executive talent development. In our last corporate assignment, we created strategies to optimize the potential and effectiveness of business leaders across the company’s global network of more than 100 countries. This global experience is a differentiator and has enabled us to take a holistic view of leadership effectiveness that isn’t necessarily US-centric and is highly sensitive to cultural differences.

Another differentiator is our industry track record. Our client roster is heavily weighted toward the marketing communication and media industries. This allows us to bring insider knowledge and in-depth insights into the business landscape and unique talent operating within this sector. More recently, we’re proud to say that our book of business has expanded to include financial services, technology, biotech and non-profit clients. To each engagement, we bring the same informed perspective on leading-edge theory, best practices and a significant body of on-the-ground practical experience.