Nikki Gregg is a Worldwide Senior Leader for Modern Workplace Collaboration at Microsoft. Based in the American Midwest, she leads approximately 800 team members within the Microsoft ecosystem, as well as 317 employees in her role as a Localized Site Leader.
TRAILBLAZERS HIT WALLS (AND SOMETIMES GLASS CEILINGS), TOO!
Early on in her career, as a hard-charging, type A personality, Nikki thrived on the challenge of ‘keeping up with the boys.’ “I was identified as a HiPo (High Potential) individual at various times in my career,” she says, “and I had a hunger to improve myself.” However, as she rose through the ranks of the organization, she ran into an all-too-familiar obstacle: herself. “As a minority in a competitive corporate environment, being told I couldn’t do something or that I was wrong over and over, I began to believe it,” she says. “That negative, internal self-dialogue was limiting my ability to grow.”
FINDING THE RIGHT EXECUTIVE COACH
Nikki had read several John Maxwell books and appreciated the way Maxwell’s leadership principles and philosophies were rooted in shared values. When she reached out to The John Maxwell Company, she was impressed with the way they worked on matching her with the right coach. The process included a questionnaire on Nikki’s leadership situation and style, as well as a behavioral assessment. Her assigned coach, Brian Epperson, took Nikki through the results of the Maxwell Leadership Assessment. Together they used the results from the self-evaluation and evaluations from her managers, peers, and direct reports, to evaluate her strengths and weaknesses.
“Brian knew how to build the coaching program for me,” she says. “He understood the strengths and weaknesses of my drive and intentionally tailored my coaching to focus on both my personal and professional development.” Nikki and Brian worked to develop an approach that extended beyond her work life and into her personal life. “The coaching sessions were, at times, exhausting, but in a good way,” she says. “The unpacking of the baggage that I was carrying was often difficult. The amount of insight I didn’t have about myself was surprisingly significant. However, we dug deep to help me understand WHY I am the way I am and ultimately, gaining awareness in these areas was incredibly profound for me. It changed how I show up in life.”
PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL GROWTH
As Nikki’s career progressed, she noticed a shift in her leadership abilities. More and more, she carried the weight of her role and its responsibilities with ease. She felt she had greater control over situations and outcomes.
One day, a change in circumstances at work took that control away, and Nikki struggled to get back into a
place of feeling ‘in control.’ She once again worked on her challenges with Brian. “I was in a dark place, and I needed help finding my way back,” she says. “Brian was the perfect coach for me. His challenging but calm demeanor and his blend of science and faith-based values were helpful for me finding my spark again.”
EXECUTIVE COACHING MADE THE DIFFERENCE
The executive coaching sessions helped Nikki regain her joy at work and home but also helped her tap into her desire to help others. As a more mature leader, she began sharing her newly gained insights with her team, helping them realize their true potential. With her passion and potential fully unlocked, Nikki found new clarity in her work at Microsoft. Her current role leans heavily into the core of whom she is as a leader—driven to achieve while passionate about the progress of everyone on the team.
“I made a shift from me to we, and I’m now passionate about paying forward what I’ve received,” she says. “I sponsored and funded two of my direct reports to have John Maxwell Company Executive coaching as well!”
She recently turned down a significant promotion due to the purpose and fulfillment she has found in her current role. “As cool as that role would’ve been, it didn’t light me up,” she says. “I’m now chasing distinction through being known for lifting up others, and Brian played a significant part in that journey.”
High-potential executives can be impeded by any number of personal or social limitations. John Maxwell Company Executive Leadership Coaching helps you break down those walls and unlock their highest potential.