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Unlocking the potential: how coaching empowers M&A teams to drive success

We are excited to introduce the first instalment in our new blog series featuring Team Coach, Kathy Thompson. In each article, we’ll dive into a different area of Kathy’s professional acumen, sharing some of the ways she’s helping shape, train, and inspire our M&A team.

A celebrated corporate coach, Kathy Thompson has built a remarkable reputation in the fast-paced, high-stakes environment of financial services. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge, tools, and proven techniques, all aimed at unleashing our potential and enhancing our capabilities.

Let’s hand over to Kathy now, as she shares more about her role as a coach and how she plans to help the team achieve new heights of innovation and success.

“While it might strike some as unconventional to see a coach become a permanent fixture within an M&A firm, this decision is typically LAVA in that it’s extremely strategic.

In a departure from the usual playbook, we’re sidestepping traditional constraints to deliver the best possible results in the high-pressure environment of mergers and acquisitions.

So, what’s my game plan as a coach? I see my role revolving around the principle of unlocking potential. It’s not about getting people back on track or boosting performance – although those are great side effects of the process. Coaching, at its heart, is about helping individuals and teams reach their full potential.

Author Timothy Gallwey eloquently captures this essence of coaching in his simple yet profound equation:

Performance equals Potential minus Interference

For those in M&A, “interference” can appear in many different forms. In my first article for the LAVA team, I’ll break down a few common obstacles and explain how I help turn these challenges into opportunities and areas of deep growth.

Overcoming communication blocks

Clear and effective communication is the key to any team’s success, but when it comes to the high-stakes world of mergers and acquisitions, this becomes even more critical. In these scenarios, the clarity, accuracy, and timing of communication can make or break a deal.

In my partnership with LAVA, we’ve really focused on improving individual and team communication dynamics, as well as interactions with clients. Using different psychometric tools like the Insights model, I’ve helped team members become more mindful of their conversation partner’s perspectives, whether that be a colleague, client, or other professional contact.

Together, we explore how they can modify their behaviours and choice of words to connect more deeply with each other and with clients.

This approach is particularly useful when the team is as rich in diverse personalities and skill sets as LAVA.

From the time we started our collaboration in October 2021, the transformation we’ve seen is remarkable. Team dynamics have significantly improved, leading to a more unified, collaborative, and efficient environment. LAVA’s team members are also now better equipped to provide strategic advice, manage projects effectively, and close M&A deals successfully.

Forming meaningful connections

Alongside fostering team dynamics, I’m working with LAVA on how to use presenting and pitching opportunities to truly engage an audience.

Everyone at LAVA is already a fantastic presenter, so we are looking beyond simply refining presentation skills. Instead, we’re discovering how they can communicate as effectively as possible with clients and adapt to varying situations.

Understanding the diverse needs of their clients is becoming second nature to the team, enabling them to quickly establish trust and make a lasting impression.

Thanks to our work together, the team at LAVA has grown more and more confident. They are even better at creating pitches that grab attention and building relationships that last. We’re making a real difference, and it’s helping LAVA move closer to its goals.

Using the future to shape the present

As a coach, I believe in the power of visualisation tools to drive real results. One approach that we’re currently working with is the “Fast Forward” technique, also known as “future history.”

By guiding team members to envision their success in the present tense, I help them align their actions and efforts effectively to achieve their goals.

From my past experience as a coach, I’ve seen firsthand how powerful this technique can be. During a coaching session, I introduced the Fast Forward technique to a senior leader of a large global firm. I asked him to imagine himself one year into the future and describe the achievements he had realised. Speaking as though these accomplishments had already happened, he shared his aspirations, and I carefully noted down every detail.

The impact of this exercise was profound. The senior leader felt inspired, and the vision he laid out during the Fast Forward visualisation became a solid blueprint for his actions moving forward. By visualising success in such a tangible way, he found clarity and direction to navigate his journey effectively.

By embracing the power of visualisation, the LAVA team is able to channel their energy towards achieving their goals with greater clarity and determination. By combining these visualisation tools with expert guidance, they are strengthening their belief in their potential and overcoming internal obstacles, reaching new heights of success.

Signing off…

To sum it up, by tapping into the potential of individuals and teams, we’re already showing such promising results in the LAVA camp – and this is only the beginning.

I look forward to sharing more insights, methodologies, and success stories in the months to come.

Stay tuned for more!”