how developing managers as coaches can make a huge difference to everything you do
Emirates NBD (ENBD) is the leading banking group in the region and a market leader across core business lines. It is the leading retail banking franchise in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with over 132 branches and over 705 ATMs / Cash Deposit Machines spread across the UAE. ENDB’s vision is to be globally recognised as the leading and most dynamic financial services provider based in the Middle East.
In keeping with this vision, ENBD wants to develop all 110 of their Branch Managers and equivalents as coaches. In an increasingly competitive market establishing a coaching culture across the organisation was seen as a crucial element in enabling ENBD to enhance its service to customers and engage all employees in the long term future success of the bank.
Working in partnership
Nelson D’Souza, ENBD Head of Leadership and Management Development, has been heavily involved at all stages of the programme from initial design right through into delivery. Working in close partnership with Nelson has been a key factor in shaping the design and content and has undoubtedly contributed to the programme’s success so far. This relationship has ensured that the programme is contextualised to meet ENBD’s specific needs and is highly rewarding for us because it is a genuine partnership characterised by trust, openness, honesty and mutual support.
Dubai Men’s College have also been involved and have provided locally based tutor support for managers as they have worked through the programme. This role will evolve to encompass specialist coaching support for future cohorts.
We know that successful coaching requires coaches to be aware of their own preferences and perceptions. This self awareness is vital because coaches need to be able to adapt their approach so that they can best connect with and meet their needs of their coachees. As the UK’s largest provider of Insights Discovery profiles we know how powerful it can be in creating high levels of self awareness and we therefore used Insights Discovery profiling to provide a robust, in-depth profile for each person.
Our coaching programme therefore starts with a half-day Understanding Self workshop where we explore their profiles and introduce Insights Discovery principles to the group. The themes and personal preferences explored on this first workshop are revisited throughout the programme to provide a rich, personalised context to the theories and techniques introduced throughout the programme.
Following on from this we then deliver a two day workshop – Laying the foundation of coaching practice. This workshop introduces coaching skills and coaching models and incorporates numerous opportunities for practicing and developing coaching skills as well as live demonstrations of coaching. The key aim of this workshop is to equip managers with the knowledge, skills and confidence to deliver coaching when they return to the workplace.
During the break between this workshop and the next, managers undertake at least seven hours of coaching and complete personal reflection logs for each coaching session.
We then deliver a further two day workshop – Developing coaching practice. During this workshop we review their coaching practice, introduce another coaching model and explore ethical dilemmas. The key aim of this workshop is to build on manager’s experience trying out coaching and deepen their skills further.
During the break between this workshop and the final live assessment session managers undertake a further five hours of coaching and complete personal reflection logs for each coaching session
The programme ends with each manager delivering a coaching session to a peer whilst being observed and assessed by us.
From the second cohort, managers have been supported throughout the programme by internal ‘buddy coaches’. Managers who had successfully completed the programme from cohort 1 were linked with managers in cohort 2 and have provided advice, guidance and coaching for managers as they develop their coaching skills. This has proven extremely helpful and has also helped to build peer support networks across the bank.
Whilst the programme is non-accredited, ENBD wanted all the rigours and robustness of an accredited programme with successful participants becoming ‘ENBD Certified Coaches’. To ensure managers were fully competent we assessed them through:
· Completion of online e-learning module
· Participation in the workshops
· Multiple choice questionnaire
· Delivery of up to twelve hours of coaching in the workplace with evidence gathered through coaching hours log and a reflective log for each coaching session
· Live skills assessment by participants being observed delivering a coaching session
A minimum of 50% has to be achieved in each element with 60% of the available score coming from the coaching delivery and live assessment to reflect the importance of practical demonstration of their coaching skills.
Barriers and issues
Introducing a coaching culture can be challenging for any organisation. For ENBD the issues match those of many organisations we have worked with:
· Shifting from a ‘tell’ to ‘ask’ style of management
· Managers finding the time and space to fit coaching in to their already busy days
· Developing active listening skills
· Building the ability to ask insightful, probing and challenging questions
· Resisting the temptation to provide immediate solutions
· Supporting managers who don’t initially meet the certification criteria to enable them to develop their coaching competence and ultimately achieve certification
The shift in management style demanded by coaching should not be underestimated. The hard work and sheer desire to learn exhibited by the managers taking part has been outstanding and has helped them to make such a dramatic shift in their management style.
We have had to adapt our style too, to ensure we can best support the managers taking part:
· Whilst managers speak excellent English it’s not their first language so we’ve simplified the terminology we use – not easy given the concepts and terms inherent in coaching!
· Learning styles due to cultural differences have meant that we needed to adapt our approach to provide the right levels of direction and support, at the right time
· Working weeks are different so we’ve been delivering at weekends and providing additional support by email and phone outside of normal UK working hours
· Making sure that all information is clearly presented with straightforward guidance on how to do things, we constantly double check everything to ensure we are getting our messages across in ways that meet the needs of the managers on the programme
The programme is still ongoing, and in-depth ROI analysis will be undertaken in partnership with Dubai Men’s College. However, we have already seen evidence of positive improvements, with over a third of the participants having gone through the programme. Even at this early stage the results are amazing and the feedback from managers on the programme is showing that performance in the branches is improving and that staff are becoming more engaged and empowered in ENBD’s day to day service delivery. One branch manager reported such dramatic improvements that his boss rang him up to ask how this had been achieved. His answer? Using coaching with his staff! Here are a few quotes from managers:
· Let me express my sincere gratitude on fine-tuning our coaching skills. I have already started seeing a remarkable difference in the way I seek information.
· I want to thank all of you for the great support and my self I have learned a lot from this course both in my workplace and personal life.
· I would like to thank you all for your patience, helps and encouraging us practicing our capability and competencies during our journey, it was a very beautifully and successful experience for me and I believe same was with the rest of the group, I am confident this has very positive effect in our future communication among our team.
The journey continues and we will be training the remaining 70 managers as well as working with Nelson to develop coaching supervision practices across the bank.
Further development events for the coaches are also being planned and there was an Award Ceremony where all the managers who achieved the ENBD Coaching Certification received their certificate from ENBD’s CEO.
“The ‘can do ‘ attitude combined with willing to work around client needs has been one of the key success factors of partnering with LSN in co-creating and delivering a compelling coaching program at Emirates NBD”
Nelson D’Souza, Ph.D
Head, Leadership and Management Development, ENBD
Feedback from managers
· “It was a very helpful and fruitful training and I am glad that I was chosen to be part of this program. It enriched my knowledge of coaching.”
· “Participants in this coaching course had a great impact on my personality and noticed huge improvement in my listening skills and increased my self esteem and confidence. Thank you”
· “It was a great program which I am sure will benefit the bank to implement the coaching environment.”
· “Very useful program specially for managers with teams”
· “An extremely enriching learning experience. It has helped me to coach in a structured manner. Also, quite useful in phrasing exploratory questions, improve listening skills. Overall great five days.”
· “Coaching was very valuable and added great experience to my management skills.”
“We are delighted to be involved with such a respected financial entity within the UAE and are excited about seeing the impact that coaching development is having on business performance. We are looking forward to evaluating and delivering a tangible return on investment for the long-term.”
Cilla McKay, Managing Director, rocket consultancy
“Working on this programme has been an extremely rewarding experience. Seeing firsthand how much effort everybody puts in to developing their coaching skills and hearing their success stories is has been truly heart-warming. On a personal level, the relationship we have with Nelson and the thanks we have received from people on the programme makes me feel absolutely great!”
Simon Leckie, Development Consultant, rocket consultancy