Case Study - Airline Industry
Executive Career Coaching Helps Downsized Executives Successfully Transition Into New Careers

After September 11, airlines saw an unprecedented reduction in business, resulting in widespread downsizing and cost-reduction in the airline industry. The effects rippled beyond the airlines themselves and into the businesses that supplied them.

At the beginning of 2002, one such company was forced to slash its team by more than 40 percent, due to revenues that had essentially been cut in half.

As senior director, employee relations, Diane Hawkins wanted to ensure that everyone the company had to let go had the best possible opportunities to succeed in their careers. That was particularly true for key executives, some of whom had been with the company for 20 or 30 years.

"We wanted to make sure that we did the right thing for our people," says Hawkins, who is now director of people and performance for Meeting Professionals International, the largest association for meeting and event planners.

Because the number of companies serving the airline industry is small, these executives faced the challenge of either finding a new job in a very limited market, or transitioning into an entirely new career. Many of the executives had never worked anywhere else.

"The right thing to do was to allow our former executives an opportunity to walk out with their heads held high and help them transition into new careers," Hawkins says.

To achieve that end, Hawkins offered the executives a choice of three executive career coaching companies. Ten former executives selected Executive Career Consultants (in affiliation with Pearson Partners International) for their one-on-one executive career coaching service.

"They were going to spend a lot of time with their coaches, so we wanted them to select someone they felt comfortable and could work closely with," Hawkins says. "It becomes a very personal relationship because it's so individualized, and they had to be very open with their coaches."

Executive Career Consultants' executive career coaching is a high-touch, high-impact approach that helps executives assess where they want to go next in their careers. Over three to six months, candidates worked individually with Executive Career Consultants' Managing Director, Lisa Thompson, to assess their skills, envision their dream job, research options and target their job search.

If candidates needed to take time off from the intensive coaching service to attend to personal matters, the service was put "on hold" temporarily, giving candidates flexibility and a chance to re-energize.

Thanks in part to Executive Career Consultants' career coaching services, all of the executives went on to successful careers. Some started their own businesses, while others found jobs in other industries, including a few who were hired by Pearson Partners' other client companies.

Hawkins received nothing but positive feedback from the former executives using Executive Career Consultants' executive career coaching services.

"I believe it helped them transition well," Hawkins says. "From a corporate standpoint, it made a statement about us as an organization and that we value our human capital. It meant a lot to the people who stayed to know that their former colleagues were well taken care of and treated with dignity."