The critical role of the manager in supporting learning at work through coaching by Matt Watson


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Presentation by Matt Watson at the Acas national conference 2009 London, UK. (

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The critical role of the manager in supporting learning at work through coaching by Matt Watson

  1. 1. The Critical Role of the Manager in supporting Learning at Work through Coaching The Southern Coaching Story
  2. 2. Managers as Coaches
  3. 3. The Southern Context ….. • 1996 – Privatisation • Connex South Central franchise • 2001 – Govia takes over • > £1bn investment • 2003 – Southern Branding
  4. 4. …& Southern’s Coaching story • 2004/05 – Coaching Introduced & Diploma started • 2006 – Coaching core to “Cycle of Success” HR strategy
  5. 5. Southern Cycle of Success Our business philosophy clearly links staff engagement and customer satisfaction with profitable growth Low Customer Repeat emphasis on Customer loyalty turnover customer loyalty and Higher Profit Margins retention Continuity in relationship with customer Low employee Intensive turnover, high Selection effort – service quality recruiting Broadened Employee Behavioural job designs engagement, Attributes positive service Extensive attitude Training Personal Above average development rewards Facilitation & encouragement to improve service High performance & quality customer satisfaction Adapted from J L Heskitt, W E Sasser Jr & L A Schlesinger’s “The Service Profit Chain” models ©1997 Customer Cycle Employee Cycle
  6. 6. …& Southern’s Coaching story • 2004/05 – Coaching Introduced & Diploma started • 2006 – Coaching core to “Cycle of Success” HR strategy • 2007 – National Training Award • 2008 – Coaching Style Module, Internal Coaching Service & Supervision/CPD
  7. 7. Managers Coaching … Learning at Work • Translate theory into practice • Short feedback loops deliver relevant quick learning • Dialogue drives sustainable self awareness and capability • Development plans tailored for individual & role • Pre & post development coaching dialogue drives valuable performance focussed learning • Specific coaching programmes targeted at delivering specific results can be high value and drive change • Benefits multiply quickly from embedded coaching leadership style
  8. 8. Managers Coaching … Resilience & Recession • Coaching supports adaptation to change • Emotional support encouraging resilience • Internal service = high value tailored development • Accelerate impact and increase focus of learning • Accelerate through steep learning curve in recession • Increase pace of innovation for survival and upturn • Need to balance urgency and reassurance – coaching can help leaders getting this right
  9. 9. “ We are now a very successful business and delivering fantastic things to our customers. I think a crucial element of this has definitely been attributable to our focus on changing leadership style and management style. A big contributory factor to this is our coaching programme, and the learnings and essences of coaching we have applied to our management training.” Chris Burchell – MD, Southern
  10. 10. Southern Achievements • Best train service performance ever on the network Best train service performance • Best Train reliability ever Best on the network ever Train reliability ever Customer Service survey • Best Customer Service survey results ever Best • Staff customer service measures improving Staff customer service measures results ever reduced by 30% Staff Turnover • Staff Turnover reduced by 30% improvingreduced & among the Absence • Absence reduced & among the best in the Industry Grievances, disciplinaries & best in the Industry • Grievances, disciplinaries & tribunals reduced Staff engagement results improving tribunals reducedto re-win the • Staff engagement results improving Staff want Govia • Staff want Govia to re-win the franchise National Training Award for franchise • National Training Award for Coaching Programme Staff Assaults at lowest Coaching Programme • Staff Assaults at lowest level ever Awarded the Gatwick level ever • Awarded the Gatwick Express Smooth integration of Express • Smooth integration of Gatwick Express brand Gatwick Express brand
  11. 11. “ Coaching has changed my life … both personally and professionally. It has helped me to realise what I am truly capable of” . Conductor at Barnham
  12. 12. “Thisisn’t just about coaching, it has completely changed the way I think about talking to people.” Nigel Ball, Financial Controller, Southern Head Office.
  13. 13. “ The coaching journey has been about discovering that you can be a far more effective leader… Learning to be a powerful listener instead of a ‘good talker’, … to ask the right questions makes it easier to get more from people.” Jim Pinder, Selhurst Train Care Depot Manager
  14. 14. Some Tips • Hire or promote a role model and champion as MD • Find the Sams and Nevilles in your organisation • Clarify roles and prioritise coaching dialogue • Don’t under-estimate training & support needed • Recognise and celebrate coaching leadership style • Measure manager’s style and target improvement • Really understand your organisation • Compelling purpose for changing leadership style • Avoid “Gold Plating”, focus on ‘vital few’ and simplify • Align whole HR toolkit with desired outcome • Continually communicate, educate and engage • Don’t chop and change – trust your instinct! • Continually review, listen and refine plans • Be passionate about people & your vision
  15. 15. Don’ t panic, Captain KEEP Manwaring!! CALM AND CARRY ON COACHING
  16. 16. Coaching – Learning and Resilience