Acorn Coaching and Development

Improving business performance

HILL International

Hill International Senior VP and Acorn build a winning partnership

Hill International offers extensive project management and construction claims consulting with a total construction value of over $500 billion, and have managed all phases of the construction process, from concept through completion. Engineering News-Record magazine recently ranked Hill as the 8th largest construction management firm in the United States.

The Project Management Group is complemented by a world renowned Construction Claims Group, which has participated in over 50,000 disputes valued in excess of $100 billion. Hill helps construction owners to minimize risk and deliver projects on time, within budget with the highest quality deliverable.

Jeff Badman, Senior Vice President at Hill International Claims, first encountered Acorn Coaching and Development as Country Manager for Hill International in Oman. As he accelerated through the business, and his geographical and management responsibilities expanded, Jeff faced increasing leadership challenges. He called on Acorn for personal and strategic support.

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Coming from an engineering and commission management background, and with a remit to lead and expand the business operations in multiple countries, Jeff sought additional skills in the face of increasing leadership challenges.

Starting from a point of some self awareness and with good theoretical knowledge of leadership methodology, he wanted to increase his understanding of its practical application, his own style and the impact that it has on others.


Acorn’s Keith Longney initially worked with Jeff over a period spanning more than a year. The intervention began with a 360-degree feedback process, feeding into a 2-day Leadership programme for Jeff and his team.

Following this Jeff committed to monthly 1:1 coaching personal coaching sessions. The focus of the coaching sessions evolved as the business requirement changed, and included further development of the outcomes of the 360-degree feedback.

Keith also facilitated a team coaching day in which expectations were shared between Jeff and his Country Managers were shared.


As the one-year intervention progressed Jeff reports developing a deeper understanding of leadership theory, better awareness of his own style and practice, and a better knowledge of his team. He reports that the coaching assisted him in clarifying and developing direction, strategy and priorities as he took on ever-increasing leadership responsibility.

“I was reasonably aware of my strengths, weaknesses and limitations and knew some areas that I needed to work on” Jeff said. “The 360 degree exercise posed some interesting questions and the views of those that replied, subordinates, peers and superiors, confirmed my views of myself.

The 2-day leadership coaching that followed was very enlightening. As well as learning a wide cross-section of new skills, it gave an opportunity to observe members of the team outside of their usual roles, to see how they absorbed the training material, and assimilated and implemented the new skills during the set tasks. It was interesting to see how different people approached the tasks and assess the effectiveness of each in different situations.

The training was carried out in a relaxed environment where everyone was considered an equal, as company hierarchy was left at the door: this promoted an open dialogue.

The personal coaching sessions have allowed me to explore new ideas and help crystalise my thoughts on the management of my Country Managers. They have helped me maintain focus and reinforce the message to the Managers, to prioritise critical items, and to breakdown the forward strategy into manageable steps.

The team coaching session provided the opportunity to consider my expectations of the Country Managers and their behaviours, and to hear their expectations of me.”

Jeff’s coaching relationship with Keith Longney continues. He reports:

“I have now been taking part in coaching sessions with Keith for more than three years and continue to find his input to be invaluable in helping to crystalise my thoughts, prioritise and consider issues from different angles. This is assisting me to lead the various businesses and set the direction for the Country Managers.”

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HILL International

"I have now been taking part in coaching sessions with Keith for more than three years and find his input to be invaluable"

Jeff Badman, Senior Vice President - Claims, Hill International