BusinessDay

Coaching for maximum performance

With rise in the use of terms such as efficiency, productivity and effectiveness, it is apparent that today’s environment has created pressure to do more with less. Employees are expected to perform optimally, but on the contrary, organizations are reporting increased rates of burnout, decreasing team morale and underperforming staff. This could be attributed to a number of factors, however, it is important for us to dig deeper into the root cause. These underlying forms of pressure must be urgently minimized, while focus shifts towards maximizing human potential and performance.

More and more organizations are leveraging the benefits of coaching to improve their employee’s performance and the company’s bottom line. It’s easy for organizations to focus on investing its people when times are good. However, when tough times strike, the norm is that resources for talent and leadership development are often the first to be cut—often at the exact time when these offerings are actually most needed.

Today, we will consider in-depth the case of Coca-Cola HBC Russia, who changed this narrative and leveraged on coaching when times were tough.

The organization, which united all Coca-Cola operations in Russia in 2001 as a part of Coca-Cola HBC, franchised bottler of The Coca-Cola Company, is one of the largest companies in Russia’s non-alcoholic beverage industry. It employs more than 10,000 people and supports the jobs of up to 60,000 in its value chain. In December 2010, Coca-Cola HBC Russia implemented coaching to move the organization away from command-and-control management and add value to its employees. What initially began as an initiative using solely external coach practitioners has expanded to also include a growing cadre of highly trained internal coach practitioners (called “Internal Certified Coaches,” or ICCs) and training for managers and leaders to use coaching skills.

The benefits of adopting a coaching culture at Coca-Cola HBC Russia have been felt throughout the organization. More than 90 percent of individuals who partner with the International Coach Federation report being very satisfied with the process and outcomes of coaching, while managers who use coaching skills with their teams report higher levels of trust and enhanced interpersonal relationships within their teams, increased innovation, and heightened employee engagement. The organization’s value index, which shows whether employees know and practice organizational values, has been increasing year over year and is currently at 85–88%. Since 2013, employee engagement across the enterprise has increased by 26%.

In recognition of Coca-Cola HBC Russia’s exceptional and sustained use of coaching, the International Coach Federation (ICF) awarded it with an honorable mention in the 2016 ICF International Prism Award program. The Prism award program honors organizations that have achieved the highest standard of excellence in coaching programs that yield discernible and measurable positive impacts, fulfil rigorous professional standards, address key strategic goals, and shape organizational culture.

Despite Russia’s continued economic downturn, Coca-Cola HBC Russia is increasing its investment in coaching. The reason for this continued investment is simple: As a modality, coaching has accomplished what no other leadership development modality could.

Three Lessons from the case-study:

The first lesson relates to the structure of the organization. It is such that coaching has strong support from leaders within the organization, and the organization applies coaching as a strategic tool in the transformation of its business.

A second lesson that can be learnt is that coaching is integral to their workplace culture. All employees have access to coaching from a professional coach practitioner and coach skills training is a component of every employee’s on-boarding process. This helped increase creativity and improved overall satisfaction.

The third lesson is that coaching was applied to change management. The company turned to external coaches to help transform from a command-and-control management style. They saw coaching as a critical change management tool. A team of trained internal coaches supported affected teams and individuals through the transition. As a result, individuals reported lower-than-expected stress and higher than expected success.

Organizational coaching programs can include external coach practitioners, internal coach practitioners, and managers/leaders using coaching skills or a combination of all three modalities. Also, keep in mind that coaching takes time. It involves real commitment and a desire to participate actively in the employee’s development.

In conclusion, we see that coaching is immensely beneficial to organizations, leadership and individuals alike. Investing time in engaging coaches and training leaders on how to coach team members will greatly impact employee engagement, productivity and ultimately performance while increasing profitability and market growth.

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