Case Study: How Psychological Coaching Influenced Duunitori's Leadership Team
By offering Laavu’s Psychological Coaching for its leadership team, Duunitori is a pioneer in taking action to enhance the psychological performance of its team. The coachees’ psychological and emotional skills have improved because of Laavu’s coaching – in a way that has been recognized by their team members, too.
November 8, 2023
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Impressed by Laavu’s professionalism, tangible progress and concrete results
Martti Kuusanmäki, the COO and Co-Founder of Duunitori, was a long-time user of Laavu's service before deciding to extend Laavu's Psychological Coaching to the entire leadership team.
Duunitori is a modern recruiting marketing company and job board. The Helsinki and Stockholm-based company helps employers to reach the best candidates and provides job seekers the easiest way to find jobs and career advice, all in one place.
What caught Martti's attention was Laavu's unique position in the market. "The timing of discovering your services was perfect. The focus on psychological well-being was growing, and discussing mental stuff had become more commonplace. Moreover, the fact that your service specifically caters to founders and top management was a perfect fit for me. It piqued my curiosity," Martti explains.
Having tried various services in the past, Martti chose Laavu because it aligned perfectly with his needs.
"Right from the start, my coach Lasse impressed me with his professionalism. Even after each session, I feel a sense of tangible progress and clear next steps on how to move forward."
Martti also highlights the advantage of Laavu being a startup, as it enables them to better understand the unique challenges of the "startup world." When Lasse proposed the idea of extending coaching to the entire leadership team at Duunitori, Martti was ready to embrace the opportunity.
Psychological Coaching to enable better leadership and teamwork
Duunitori chose to use Laavu's service mainly to enhance leaders' self-knowledge, thereby improving their leadership skills and overall well-being. When founding the company, Martti together with the other leaders of Duunitori quickly realized the importance of self-knowledge for effective leadership. He wanted to share this insight with their newer leaders, too.
At the same time, they also established a leadership team comprising 10-15 members with significant responsibilities, leading to a desire for a shared language. The aim was to establish a common ground within the entire leadership team and encourage reflection on their experiences.
Individual coaching + team coaching sessions
Laavu & Duunitori approached the situation by combining individual coaching sessions with team coaching. This was due to the hypothesis that this would have the greatest impact.
“Both, individual and team coaching work nicely solely, but the most effective solution is the combination of both.”, Lasse Karjalainen, the Head Coach of Laavu Performance, says.
Team coaching about self-knowledge and emotions
Laavu & Duunitori decided to organize two (2) team coaching sessions.
The first team coaching session focused on self-knowledge, emphasizing the importance of understanding one's own strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. The second session centered around emotional leadership, exploring how emotions impact behaviour and performance.
“We chose emotions because it is such a difficult topic. You can lead time, energy, but emotions… That’s a tricky one. In addition, to succeed, we need to get the whole team onboard – and they need to have the will to work towards the goals. Just telling them won’t do anything.”
Martti points out emotional factors in self-knowledge, too. “It is crucial to understand why we develop certain emotions and how these emotions influence our behaviour and performance.“
Digging deeper in individual coaching sessions
In addition, each coachee had individual coaching sessions with one of Laavu’s Performance Psychologists. The focus on individual coaching sessions varied: some of the sessions addressed the same topics as team coaching sessions (self-knowledge, emotions in leadership) but there was room for other topics – such as personal growth – too. Each session was tailored to meet the individual’s needs, as usual in Laavu’s coaching.
“During the pilot, we found the best value in individual coaching, says Lasse. “Thus, we decided to focus on these after the pilot.”
Why individual coaching? Lasse says they decided to focus on individual coaching because, in those, the coachee has the freedom to choose topics relevant for them – and proceed with their own space. “Team coaching is a great add-on, and can be used to enhance the team’s collaboration. However, the best value was found in individual coaching.”
Better performing leaders
When it comes to the outcome of Laavu’s and Duunitori’s collaboration, Lasse reports that coachees have experienced "aha-moments" about their personal leadership style, stress management, and overall well-being. Because of Laavu’s coaching, the psychological and emotional skills of Duunitori’s leaders have improved: they’ve received positive feedback from other team members saying the leaders using Laavu's Psychological Coaching lead better now.
“We were able to find a common ground and improve our leadership skills. At the same time, Laavu provides a valuable space for our team members to share their thoughts and worries with a professional. In certain positions, the daily life can feel lonely and like there’s no one to talk to.”, says Martti from Duunitori.
“We’ve received positive feedback from other team members – that these leaders using Laavu’s Psychological Coaching are better as leaders now.”
We interviewed one of the coachees, Duunitori’s Marketing Director Saara Holma.
Before the first sessions, Saara was a bit suspicious about whether Laavu would be a good fit for her since she didn’t have any specific “crisis going on”.
Aha-moments and better stress management
“I didn’t have previous experience with this kind of service. At the same time, I wasn’t sure if I’d benefit from it since I didn’t have any acute issues. But after the experience, I’m glad I tried it anyway. There are always matters to address.”
After 6 months of coaching, Saara says she sees significant, noticeable results.
“Because of Laavu, I now have concrete tools that have already improved my well-being. I feel inspired and relieved.”
In addition, Saara has learnt a lot about herself, and about the thought patterns behind her actions. “I have experienced aha moments like “now I understand where this feeling is coming from.”” This suggests that the coaching sessions with Laavu helped Saara gain self-knowledge and insight into her personal leadership style and emotional well-being.
ROI for the company
When asked about the value coaching has provided for Duunitori, Saara is certain the results are visible.
“When our brain and capacity works as it should and the team’s wellbeing is at a good level, it most certainly shows in the results the company achieves”.
Saara mentions the influence on other team members, too. She hopes the better leadership skills learnt in Laavu’s coaching influence the teams, too – so that these individuals can perform better.
What types of companies can benefit from psychological coaching?
Lasse sees that Psychological Coaching provides the best value for companies that
1) aim to optimize their growth and development while
2) want to do it in a psychologically sustainable manner.
While coaching is suitable for any business, growth companies tend to operate in hyper-competitive, challenging environments, thus the need for ensuring a team’s psychological performance and well-being is high.
“Personally, I’m sick and tired of reading news about the increasing numbers of burnouts and other mental well-being-related issues. We can do so much better., Lasse says. "I feel very pleased that thought leaders like Duunitori take actions to change this culture.”
Lasse adds, that to build a psychologically sustainable work life, it is critical for the leaders to improve their self-knowledge; to understand their strengths and weaknesses as leaders, and to save time for regular reflection.
Saara sees Psychological Coaching as suitable for any company wishing to prevent burnout and other mental health-related issues within the team.
“We go to the gym to stay physically fit. This is the same thing but about mental fitness: we do this to stay mentally fit. In this way, we feel better at work and can avoid or at least decrease the amount of sick leaves.”