Final session of the show! It’s been a ball!!
This one is with Sandra Nixon of QVC and Rhonda Howarth from Nestle who are talking about how to develop line managers to have effective coaching conversations. A coaching leadership style is essential to operate effectively in today’s world and for a line manager it can’t always be about sitting for hours having in-depth coaching sessions but about making it a fluid part of your everyday way of working. I’m interested to see what QVC’s and Nestle’s takes are on it.
First up is Sandra from QVC who’ve been going through a 10 year programme including investment in line manager skills which are being delivered in a sustainable way. She’s going to talk about embedding a coaching environment, some of their lessons and how they’ve made it sustainable to keep it alive.
They’ve followed the McKkinsey 7S change model and at the centre has been the focus on shared values. they believe in investing in their people for success. They bring their values into performance management, reward, recognition, a 2-day culture programme that everyone attends. They believe in creating a great employee experience to deliver a great customer experience – woop!!!
When they started the change they were getting good feedback from employees and customers, sales were in growth, new tech was being introduced, things were feeling very positive so to take the next step they started thinking about the future. They had a lot of senior people who’d been promoted from technical roles without any development and without clarity of what leadership means in QVC. They started to shape leadership as a role where you’re there for your team to help support, develop and grow them – woop again!
They did their first employee survey in 2007 which cemented an opportunity to focus on skills of frontline leaders. they has about a third of responses sitting around neutral they could see moving to positive.
They decided they wanted to move to a coaching culture to improve employee experience – although without any idea what their strategy might be – except that they saw it as enabling a great relationship and a skill that transfers across any employee-manager conversation – absence, performance, career….
So they thought about what they wanted to achieve – what does it look like if we have a coaching culture, what will be different, how will we know we’ve got there, what will we see, hear & feel, what do we want to keep hold of and what are we not doing. Then what do we want to achieve in Year 1 and by Year 3?
Sandra’s using the analogy of white water rafting to explain the start of the journey. That was how she felt and also that’s how their managers approached it. Do I have the skills? What if I fall out the boat? What if I lose my job? And others were raring to get in the boat – give me the paddle, I’ll give anything a go. they recognised they needed everyone on board before they started out so the business was clear about what the expectations were of the future and that their opportunity would be to learn towards that and make mistakes along the way without losing their jobs.
There were lots who already thought they did coaching – what they were actually doing was giving them feedback (this is a common experience of mine too) so they needed to first of all be clear about coaching, mentoring and giving & receiving feedback – with constant reiteration of the definitions to be clear what they were talking about as an organisation and to shift mindsets.
They developed coaching skills (see photo) – first of all doing this with the HR team so they could be ambassadors and role models. Senior leaders were involved to set the scene at the start of the learning programme to set expectations of the learners and emphasise this wasn’t going to be a fad or the latest thing. some leaders chose to leave – which is fine. It wasn’t for them.
They found that leaders weren’t aware of their skills gaps or weren’t prepared to be vulnerable and admit they had gaps. this led them to move into developing leaders into emotional intelligence, self awareness, self regulation, liming beliefs….Refer back to earlier session. the depth and quality of coaching is enhanced by the strength of relationship and so this work really needed to be done first.
Sustainability – workshops, e-learning, have used every opportunity to reinforce.
They wondered how they could assess how effective their leaders were being. They decided to get Ops Mgrs to observe Team Leaders when they’re coaching their team members to see in real time the way they’re behaving together. Scary but a great way to get real feedback, raise awareness, learn and improve. (Our best learning comes from discomfort.)
They had feedback that they had too many models so they decided to become masters of 1 or 2 models. Giving too much was clouding things for them.
They introduced Lean 6 Sigma – another opportunity to use coaching to say How do you do things on a day to day basis, how could you improve that.
ROI – employee survey – improvements year on year, improvements in attrition, in business results.
When they started in 2007 they were QVC UK and other countries operated separately but now they’re a global, matrix org so looking to how to be more effective and productive in that new world. Many of the leaders chosen to lead the matrix org have come from the UK and you can see a significant difference in their capability compared to their global colleagues because of their greater emotional intelligence. So now they’re back to strategy – how can we influence the global agenda and how will that look?
Next up, Rhonda from Nestle who’s going to talk about the role of a manager in their business and how they’ve supported leadership development through coaching networks.
Nestle already has a global approach to coaching and a strategy. Rhonda & her team’s job is to make sure managers are equipped to coach to ensure a coaching culture throughout. They’re a business created by lots of separate businesses that have been acquired but they’re looking to standardise expectations and standards across.
Expectations are that they engage and inspire their people, grow and develop their people, support their career. Variety of ways people join the programme : Apprenticeship, Graduate programme, Existing workforce, Direct entry – so leaders need to flex to different needs and priorities.
Their anchor for leadership programme:
As an individual – Know yourself
As a line manager – Coach and Develop
Senior leader – Develop org capability
They also have NCE – about driving improvement, consistency, quality, safety, lean – done lots here around coaching to engage operators in solution finding.
They’re about to launch Purpose and Values. Their new global CEO wants to anchor people to this. Purpose “Enhancing quality of life and contributing to the future.” Sso now with coaching they want to bring people back to these and to the values.
People Development and Performance – in Nestle they’ve fine tuned their appraisal process rather than removing it – but they have made it more frequent so people have check ins through the year. They have a holistic assessment at year end – the overall goals & performance of day job – and feed that into reward. Coaching is essential in check ins so people are having quality conversations which feeds satisfaction with end of year outcomes around reward – they intend this at least as they’ve not come to the end of the first year of this new cycle yet.
Their coaching is based on GROW supported by skill development in listening, questions, giving feedback, providing challenge. they’re also helping leaders with mindset so they go into conversations with employees clear about how they want to be and therefore the impact they want to have.
The senior leadership have also taken coaching on board, have developed their skills and are co-coaching each other as well as using a coaching approach more in day to day.
Nestle have a Global Coaching Network, Peer to Peer Coaching that can happen on factory floors and in the next level of supervisors, Coaching Groups connected to the Accreditation Pathway so they learn to be a coach and alongside that are these groups to continue learning. They’ve gone with ICF Accreditation for their formal qualifications.
How does being a coach marry with them delivering their operational job? > In Nestle it’s been a behavioural shift by helping them stand back from problems, find a different way of solving by enabling the team to learn and self-solve through coaching so next time they self-solve with more confidence next time. Creates more time / less pressure for the long term.
QVC have learnt that leaders need to recognise when they need to coach, when to mentor, when to give feedback. You can’t coach all the time as a line manager. Also needed to help with how to performance manage with this coaching approach – it didn’t mean we aren’t doing that now, it’s just we’re doing it with a different style. And it takes time and practice because when the pressure’s on we revert to control and tell.
This post has been live blogged from a session at CIPD Learning & Development Show. I’ve shared as I’ve heard it so there may be typos and I won’t have captured the whole thing but the intention is to give you a good sense of what was shared.