F2 Developing Culture By Extending Coaching Capability

My second session of the day is with Paula Ashfield, Head of Learning and Danone, and Gaelle Tuffigo, Learning and OD Specialist and Anthony Newman, Director of Brand, Comms and Marketing at Cancer Research UK providing their organisational case studies of how they developed culture by extending coaching capability.

Ian Pettrigew (Chair) opens the session and asks us to think about what we want to get from the session, and the room is alive with the buzz of peoples intentions to leave with some learning.

Cancer Research UK

Our first speakers are Anthony and Gaelle…[I’ll write as ‘one’ speaker as they’re interchanging]
Cancer Research are the words largest origination research all types of cancer with a aim to: Prevent, Diagnose, Treat and Optimise (treatments).

Anthony start with WHY did they focus on developing culture this way:
They’re already high performing, well respected around the world, and rate high in engagement scores, and they have a “nice” (from the feedback) strengths-based culture. HOWEVER, improvements can be made: There are pockets where performance could be addressed better, and we have high turn over in some areas, people aren’t always loving the relationship with their manager…feeling disempowered, e.g. “a parent-child culture”. People feel looked after but not enabled to grow.

At the same time Cancer Research UK were doing a Fit for the Future campaign…


Anthony emphasises that their action to resolve this was guided first bit ensuring that L+D strategy fits to the business strategy.

The solutions:
Coaching approaches empower and enable people to act autonomously, and move away from directive management
Improve retention by focusing on the purpose and value of every individual

The challenge:
People feel they’ve already done this – but it only got applied for senior leaders and ‘heads’ of
“we’re doing it already, we don’t need this training” – confused with what coaching is, and what mentoring is

The route map…


What Gaelle did…

Nail your business case – do good secondary research and find evidence to back up what you intend to apply in practice, don’t just rely on your influencing skills
Secure a sponsor – get the right one, not just ‘a sponsor’
Socialise the approach within the business –

The difference between coaching and mentoring…? Coaching is drawing out, Mentoring is putting in. They wanted a blend of the 2

Aim: To equip everyone in Cancer Research UK to use coaching conversation throughout their working relationships: in the lift, in the kitchen, in 1:1s, in meetings.

Priority = coaching a management style

5 point plan…

Also…
• Training action learning set facilitators, and enable them to train others in facilitating these.
• Career and talent development coaching for people who want to stay, grow within, or leave and move on
• Maximised their volunteers – found what skills they have and invited some to be mentors
• Coaching resources available on the intranet, including tools
• A pack for managers to deliver learning – all about coaching, why and what – to their teams
• A group on yammer for exchanging tips and sharing examples

How does it align to the business…

Antony starts to talk about metrics, how important this is for the organisation (and any org) and the challenges they’ve faced. Have you every had the experience of implementing something then when it’s done, been asked to retrospectively measure something? He shares something they didn’t win: they tried to show the impact of coaching upon performance management, but the engagement measurement tool agreed upon didn’t ask people about being coached or their experience. How can you asked people questions about coaching if they don’t know what coaching is? There are so many different definitions.

“I would never say…If you can’t measure something don’t bother doing it” otherwise you might miss a huge opportunity. It’s an add-on not a art point. Don’t let it define what you do.

What they did do…

Record the Impact: when they interview people asking about their experience and opinions of how the coaching and mentoring has impacted them, they gained qualitative data that supported their original aim.

Biggest learning point to share… “There is a big difference between agreement and commitment” – they had agreement, but this didn’t always transfer into commitment.

Danone UK

Paula is a lot further ahead on the coaching culture journey, and she focuses on a sub-business ‘Danone Nutricia’ (early life nutrition) who provide Cow and Gate, and Actimel which has a really strong core purpose built of a history of science and expertise.

What were you doing in 2011? What happened for you? 2011 is known as the year that things happened – Paul suggests we google it. Their were signification stockmarket drops and the word of business was struggling, whilst at Danone Nutricia they were doing ok: growth dropped from 18% (2009) to 8% (2011). You might have expected this was positive, to thrive in this climate. However there was not buzz, only a committed drive to sustain filled the organisation.

Hot Spots – Book by Linda Gratton. Analogy of a thermal image of you business. If you could thermal image your business what would it look like?
Green – routine, things happen, but not much buzz
Ice-Blue – when green for too long, things get harder, energy drops
They were looking to fine the glow spots…

“ambition was to spread a nuclear thermo Mexican wave – growth glow”

The sosiblitliy fo business and possibilities to talent

Heads were down and full of purpose and people were busy doing. Thats what they knew. They was comfortable “a comfort blanket”


To take a bold step forward they first needed to establish trust. Coaching has been used in pockets – and its impact was an innate belief that it worked in developing trust. So they sought reports and evidence based to support their strategy.


Coaching was going to be the enabler to trust. With patience, and space.
They had a clear impact about how implementing a coaching culture would impact the business, the people, the growth and the buzz. This was defined and understand from the beginning.

1. Set Expectations 2011

  • individual development plan, giving manger basic coaching skills to start using coaching conversations (programmes available to EVERYONE) and learn together, helped people see learning isn’t just in the training room.

2. Create Momentum 2012

  • tsunami of coaching effort that hit the business and pervaded everyone in someway or form: accredited all senior leaders as business coaches (22 people in total). In stead of a pilot, they ALL when through this at the same time together on a 6 month programme. It created a profound effect on the business. It had significant amounts of practice and by learning together in this group we coached each other and provide peer support to each others development. Result: coaching cross functionally, coaching peers. We understood more about each others teams that the person leading that team. Increased trust, collaboration and shared responsibility. Whist you’re doing this, you’re gaining insights from across the organisation and learning the business.

3. Embedding 2014

  • hold tight, dig in, trust the process, keep your nerve and persist
  • made in part of a graduate development programme
  • ensured field workers were using

4. Renewal 2015 (its embedded)

  • develop internal coaches – qualifications
    challenge: keeping track of all relationships going on, to ensure ethics and standards
  • The programme…


Key Learning…

  • If those senior leaders ‘failed’ the accreditation (not everyone did first time) and the organisation believes in those people, they will continue their development until they achieve the pass. Everyone is now accredited.
  • our L+D spend has reduced, because we re-invested into the organisation
  • their L+D team use coaching skills throughout their whole role: consultancy, identifying needs, stakeholder engagement

PHOTO STATS

What an exceptional example of how to tell a story! Thank you Paula.
[This blog was written live in session at the CIPD Learning and Development Show 2016, Olympia, London on Thursday 12th May. My intention is to capture a faithful summary of the session highlights, but my own bias and views will undoubtedly contribute to the tapestry of this story. Please excuse any typos, and don’t hesitate to join the conversation on Twitter with me @Jo_Coaches and the blog-squad #cipdldshow]

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One thought on “F2 Developing Culture By Extending Coaching Capability

  1. Pingback: The Rough Guide to the CIPD L&D Show 2016 – jonathanmarshall70

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