The Interim Manager as Coach
There is an ancillary benefit to the use of interim managers in marketing and sales functions. The on-demand executive is often in a position to provide coaching to less experienced managers in the company. So, while the interim conducts his/her specific duties formal or informal advice and mentoring can occur.
Small and mid-market companies that have a philosophy of hiring and developing managers for the long term are well-suited to leverage the “seasoned” nature of interims. Larg companies, the Fortune 500-type, have large enough management hierarchies to support internal mentoring programs, but smaller companies don’t. The experience and depth of the organization chart doesn’t support such programs.
The coaching can be up or down the management food chain. For instance, an interim that is engaged to be CMO for a season is frequently on a peer level–in terms of experience– with the CEO of a small or mid-market company. The intermim CMO can provide invaluable advice and coaching to the CEO. And the CEO can listen knowing that the advice is untainted by internal politics and bias.
In most cases the coaching is down stream. An interim VP of Sales with 20 years of enterprise sales experience can be an extremely valuable coach to the less experienced sales managers in a company trying to sell into the enterprise market. While the interim VP of Sales is implementing processes, realigning the sales organization and its commission structure, she can also be coaching key sales managers that the company has identified as having long-term potential with the organization.
Many executives pay big bucks for coaches. How sweet it is when an on-demand executive can provide that service and fill a leadership gap at the company, too.