Beyond Coaching skills for Managers - CASE STUDY

Issue: The Problem

A large IT firm required leaders to take more accountability for growing talent and retaining key staff. The organisation was also experiencing difficulty embedding their performance management system into the organisation. 

Ideas: Our Thinking

Performance and talent management are a two-way processes. They involve an exchange of information, ideas and feelings between manager and report. The interaction requires a type of intimacy to be effective.

We have noticed resistance to this interaction can occur when

  • people do not have the conversational skills and confidence
  • performance conversations are not considered a core management task
  • leaders do not role model effectively
  • performance and talent is considered a one-off task

Innovation: What We Did

To understand the underlying resistance we conducted a brief collaborative research activity. This consisted of a series of workshops with stakeholders and the creation of diverse team to guide the project.

In response we built a two-tiered coaching program for both staff and managers. Interventions often focus exclusively on managers. This leaves the other half of the interaction (direct reports) unattended. It was important that both sides were included.

The employees workshops focussed on

  • improving awareness of their role in the performance conversation
  • preparing for conversations
  • increasing skills in engaging in challenging conversations

These sessions utilised case studies and action learning. 

The managers attended a series of rolling small group coaching sessions. These focused on building core coaching skills and applying these to specific scenarios and tasks. The small group coaching methodology (1 coach per 4 managers in each group) allowed for personalised learning by focussing on individual examples, challenges and skills. It also facilitates learning by listening to and exploring the challenges of the other managers in the group. 

Delivery of the curriculum was supported by peer reflection and ongoing coaching and observations sessions.

The project team initiated a communication plan to raise awareness of the role of leaders in both the talent and performance process. This was lead by senior leaders. New metrics were introduced to reinforce the requirement to implement policies and tasks.

Impact: The effect

  • 95% of managers reporting an increased level of confidence in having coaching conversations
  • 93% of employees reporting having more useful and effective performance review discussions
  • 100% of managers increasing their understanding of their role
  • 90% increase in application and compliance with the performance system
  • 72% increase in ad hoc coaching conversations between employees and managers

The interaction requires a type of intimacy to be effective.

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