Ann Bozeman
Vice President ~ Human Resources

Human resources executive Ann Bozeman was well-acquainted with the concept of executive coaching when she was offered the opportunity to become a certified coach herself, as part of her leadership role at a major food company. At the Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara, where Ann attained her training and certification, she met Lynn Schoener and eventually hired her as a mentor coach. “The sessions Lynn led at Hudson were great. She asked challenging questions and I really liked her style,” says Ann. “This was somebody I wanted to work with.” Ann contracted with Lynn for a ten-hour coaching engagement.

Around this same time, Ann’s company was going through a restructuring and she had a decision to make: stay through the transition or look for a new opportunity. “That became my work with Lynn. If I stayed, how would I re-engage, and if I got a new job, how would I set myself up for success,” says Ann. She did end up with a new position which included a move back to her hometown of Denver. “Elements of the new job were going to be ‘stretch’ assignments that I was excited about.”

While evaluating the opportunity, Ann appreciated Lynn’s high level of curiosity and how the questions she asked made the decision-making process more meaningful. “She asked interesting questions,” says Ann, “including ‘Why this job?’” Seems like a simple inquiry, but for Ann it was a powerful one that made her take the decision very seriously.

One focus of the coaching conversations was related to which aspects of the new job would be a “slam dunk” for Ann, versus which aspects would truly test her boundaries. She was excited about the global nature of the position and the challenges related to half of her direct reports and team residing outside the U.S.

Lynn supported Ann in the development of a 90-day “on-boarding” strategy to ensure a successful start in her new role. “What were my early wins going to be? What should I focus on? Who should I connect with? Am I getting ahead of myself?” says Ann, were key questions Lynn had her consider as she created her 90-day plan. Together, Ann and Lynn came up with three goals for each of the first three months Ann would be on the job.

“The first 30 days were about relationships. The next 30 days were about team building. By 90 days I was to have communicated my HR strategy and filled key positions,” she says. “I’d never have spent the time creating such a detailed on-boarding plan if Lynn hadn’t pushed me. It was so critical in calling out the early success factors. It set me up for success,” says Ann, adding that she still references her original 90-day plan as a way to stay grounded and focused. At the time she was interviewed for this case study, Ann had been at her new job for a little more than a year and incorporated the 90-day plan into an on-boarding program for new managers in her organization.

Lynn also encouraged Ann to identify where her learning edges were in the new position and how to leverage her strengths and avoid pitfalls. “I can get passionate about things and people appreciate that, but I have to keep it in check. I have to balance being passionate with coming across as too aggressive,” says Ann. This level of awareness helped her adapt her style to a new organizational culture. Ann also realized while working with Lynn that she had a tendency to be too hard on herself. “She helped me stay calm as a leader. I know I can manage, no matter what gets thrown at me. I wasn’t hired to solve all the problems, I was hired to lead the team,” says Ann. “Coaching helps keep things in perspective.”

As a coach herself, Ann learned valuable skills as a result of working with Lynn. “She listens with intensity and focus. She has a very curious mind. Lynn would ask, ‘May I make an observation?’ and I use that all the time now as a way to provide feedback gently,” says Ann. “She’s really good, especially when you’re up against resistance. Her style is unique and powerful.”

“I’d recommend Lynn to someone else by telling them about the challenges I faced. She’ll help you think about your strategy,” says Ann. “She’s fabulous and has the most comfortable style. She’ll push you and hold you accountable, but in a way that’s supportive. I’d hire her again in an instant.”

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