Meet Mark, Director of Engineering Escalations at Alkira. Mark has been leading his global team of 7 for the last two months, and it’s his first time managing a team after several years.
Mark is determined to lead with intentionality. As with most fast-growing start-ups, Mark’s colleagues are often too busy leading their own teams to mentor him. Mark has taken it upon himself to learn through books, leadership communities, and courses. However, these resources aren’t always actionable or specific enough to address his challenges.
For example, Mark’s team is spread from California to India. This array of timezones often creates little room for face-time and adds extra friction to real-time feedback. It also adds pressure during meetings to communicate expectations clearly, persuade teammates, and gather buy-in to initiatives.
For leadership questions, Mark uses Kona–the AI-powered leadership coach for remote managers.
“Kona is basically someone to bounce ideas off of,” Mark says. Without Kona, the alternative for him would be disruptive and time-consuming. "Without Kona, I would interrupt someone else's work flow to get that same outcome. Kona helps me get to a solution for my problem within 5-10 minutes, where I’d need to mull it over and talk to my manager for 30-45 minutes or more.”
“Kona helps me get to a solution for my problem within 5-10 minutes, where [without Kona] I’d need to mull it over and talk to my manager for 30-45 minutes or more.”
Mark went on to explain how Kona has made him more effective in his role: “I had been trying to express [a process change] to the team for a while. Kona forced me to really reflect and think about the situation by asking high-quality follow-up questions. ‘Did I really set expectations correctly? Did other people clearly understand what I said? How can we open this up to the team to see what other ideas they have?’ It was really helpful, and not something I had considered. Kona helped me become much more clear with my message.”
Mark didn't just find quick answers; he found long-lasting skills. “Kona used the Fierce Conversations framework and made it really easy to build a mental model around how to have difficult conversations… It's also improving my ability to come to the same conclusion in the future.”
This support has impacted more than Mark’s team. It’s improved Mark’s confidence as a leader to propose new process improvements across the company. “I was looking to give some feedback around how we can do public recognition better as a company to motivate the team. Talking to the AI coach helped me frame how to make that proposal to the person responsible for that.”
Kona’s AI Coach supports new managers like Mark with their leadership journey, on their terms. Built right into Slack and into remote workflows, Kona makes it easy to get expert-backed advice on a wide range of manager situations. From performance management to difficult conversations and more, managers can rely on Kona to lead the right way, every time.
“For me, [Kona is] very helpful, because I know the context around the problem I'm trying to solve. I know why it's important for me to solve it… You can definitely see that [Kona has] relevant experience and suggestions. It’s giving you frameworks or answers that help to think about a mental model in the future.”