Leadership coaching as a culture enabler
Despite facing a shrinking market, a global premium spirits producer operating in a large, developed market continues to outperform its competitors, delivering industry-leading results and achieving double digit growth. This success was due to a recent business transformation that shifted the organization’s focus to innovation, developing a performance culture, and managing costs. To build a sustainable approach to this success, and reach their goal of becoming the best performing, most trusted and respected consumer packaged goods company locally, the organization identified the need to develop a leadership coaching culture. Creating a coaching culture would help the organization improve feedback, increase employee engagement, and decrease attrition—while preserving their existing culture. To bring this transformation to life, the company partnered with BTS Coach to develop a coaching effectiveness program, as a new way of leading both people and business performance.
Ultimately the program proved to be very successful and made a lasting impact on the business, receiving high levels of participation and positive responses from participants. The results showed that participants’ teams had significantly more effective relationships, increased collaboration, improved engagement, higher levels of trust, and more efficient operations as a result of the program. Furthermore, employee engagement increased and attrition was cut by nearly half.
The program was designed with several goals in mind. The organization sought to incorporate feedback as a natural part of leading, improve employee engagement, reduce attrition, and equip line managers with a coaching mindset that they could use to get more value from their people. To build this mindset, the company planned to complement the existing bi-monthly leadership sessions with customized interactive workshops to expand the mindset shift across the business in an affordable and scalable way.
Changing mindsets cannot happen during a one-off event, which is why the program was created as an intensive learning journey to provide the necessary knowledge-sharing, collaboration, and reinforcement to make the shift happen. Developed from a series of interviews with the organization, the program was fully customized to their business’ context.
The journey started with a kick off call aligning leaders on the purpose and objectives of the journey. Each leader received a one-on-one coaching session, which was debriefed in four phases throughout the program. Participants also attended two and a half days of workshops, which provided them with a toolkit for coaching and leadership.
During the workshops, leaders were grouped into pods based on their leader-level and role. These teams stayed intact throughout the learning journey, allowing them to build knowledge together and hold each other accountable for making the necessary shift in behavior to execute on the new strategy.
On the first day of the workshop, leaders went through activities customized to the learning objectives necessary for execution of the business’ new strategy. At the end of the first day, leaders went through two pod sessions. Next, leaders finished the on-site portion of the program with another half-day session, and an additional pod group meeting.
After the in-person workshop, participants continued to engage with the material through their bi-monthly meetings. The workshop material was built into each meeting throughout the first year to ensure that the participants would get the reinforcement and coaching necessary to execute the new strategy. Due to the success of the program, incorporation of program material into bi-monthly meetings will continue for a second year.
Ultimately, the coaching journey achieved its goals of accelerating talent growth, building capabilities, and driving organizational effectiveness. Also, developing leaders allowed the spirits producer to reduce dependency on critical roles and key talent, while developing emerging talent. It helped create cross-functional opportunities, promote clear communication and decision-making, and build trust to make the matrix work.
The journey had a lasting impact on the business, with participants saying that their team, compared to before the program, has more effective relationships (93 percent); increased collaboration (60 percent); improved engagement (60 percent); more trust (64 percent); and more efficient operations (18 percent). Employee engagement also increased, from 77 percent to 79 percent, and attrition was almost cut in half, from 25 percent to between 13 and 16 percent.
Before the journey, 56 percent of the participants thought of themselves as effective coaches. Three and six months after the program that number had grown to 65 percent and 68 percent respectively.
97 percent of participants rated the program and follow up coaching experience as excellent or very good; 97 percent agreed that the program helped to generate their self-awareness as a coach; and 85 percent agreed that the coaching helped them to identify their strengths and development opportunities as a coach.
The program was ultimately successful because the solutions were tailored to the different levels and roles in the business. For example, at junior levels, the pods really helped connect people and create deeper relationships. For senior and mid-level managers, who lack time and need personalized development, one-on-one coaching was the solution. The workshops created a place where everyone, from CEO to new hire, was on a level playing field and could try out new ways of coaching their teams and inspiring performance. For any successful journey, diversity and customization to the audience are quality outcomes.
“In our quest to build an even higher performance culture we set the objective: ‘we all grow by giving and receiving courageous, high-quality feedback and coaching.’ We knew we needed to build the capability of our executive and leadership team in this area and thankfully we found BTS. The IP collateral they have is absolutely first class. It’s a framework and set of tools that are simple to use and yet highly penetrating for self-insight and highly practical for application.
Through a combination of workshop days and smaller group sessions, our people have grown their understanding and capability as great coaches, whilst enjoying it, they are becoming a stronger and more cohesive team. Much of the language and several of the tools have become standard practice in the business in both one-to-one and group situations. We are all the better from it, our performance has stepped up again, whilst our engagement and staff retention has done likewise.
I would recommend the BTS approach to any organization looking for a sustainable growth advantage.”