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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT:
How Coaching Leadership Can Happen At Any Level Of Your Organisation

THE CONTEXT

Wouldn’t it be great if our leaders all knew how to coach their people and bring out their best?

“Well, we don’t really need that at our level, but if you want to do some coaching in the call centre, that’s fine.” said the CEO to the Senior Manager of Customer Service.

A 12-month coach training programme was delivered for the quality coaching team in an online bank’s contact centre. The aim being to change the existing coaching process.  Moving from a process where each customer service representative would spend an hour each week with a ‘coach’, going through their numbers and telling them what to do in the following week, to an ask conversation, with the quality coach asking each individual, what do you aspire to for the coming week? How would you like to own and improve your own performance? What are you hoping to learn or achieve?

I worked with this group of eight quality coaches over a 12-month period to elevate their understanding of what coaching is, why it’s important, and how to introduce it into their organisation. They embraced this opportunity with gusto.

This program was so successful that the call centre representatives, who had previously only enjoyed their coaching because it gave them an hour off the phone from customers, were now eager to go to their coaching sessions. They wanted to share how much progress they had made and what they were looking to do next.

There were clear gains throughout the 12-month learning period. However, to clearly measure the results, once the coach training programme had concluded, the call centre statistics were measured for the following 3 months and compared to the results from the period prior to the program. Within these three months, the programme had more than paid for itself.

The statistics showed outcomes like, incredible increases in first call resolution – more than double; much higher levels of customer engagement; and lower levels of customer complaint – less than a third.

Not only were the individual representatives in the call centre being coached, they also introduced a coaching approach when working with their customers. They used the GROW framework as a way of engaging customers in the solution to their particular challenges and problems – the reason the customers had called customer service in the first place.

In fact, the program results were so remarkable that instead of having weekly coaching sessions, the sessions were dropped back to fortnightly because this was all that was now required to support excellent performance and improvements.

Then there were the bonus outcomes.

As you probably know, retention of talent in call centres is challenging. There is a lot of turnover. Rather than accepting this as the norm, this group of young quality coaches decided they would add another layer of coaching to increase retention.

They added regular career coaching into their offering within customer service, and the call centre in particular, with the idea to create a next step. Creating career path options for the well performing customer service representatives into other parts of the business. Taking their incredible frontline knowledge with them into the rest of the business.

So this programme of developing coaching knowledge and skills in a small group of 8 people, resulted in a far bigger impact than the original program objectives.

This programme was so successful, the team leaders within customer service realised they would benefit from coaching too. This also proved incredibly successful.

We began this program with a focus on the lower levels of the organisational hierarchy. Creating exposure to coaching principles and adopting more of a coaching culture in terms of the way they did things. One where:

  • we ask
  • we invite people into the conversation
  • we have positive intent
  • we have an elevated level of listening
  • individuals take personal responsibility and accountability
  • we create opportunity

The statistical results spoke for themselves. Additionally, now the organisation was retaining the very knowledgeable people from customer service. People who knew the products. People who knew the customers. Creating opportunities to include these people into the rest of the business. So not only did we see increased retention and reduced turnover, the organisation also retained invaluable knowledge and corporate wisdom.

The icing on the cake was when the executive team of the organisation approached the quality coaches for executive coaching. They changed their perspective from, “No, we don’t need to be involved in this. No, we don’t need this. We have everything we need in our toolkit,” to, “Hey, we’d like to have some of this coaching opportunity for ourselves.”

Imagine the impact of bringing out the best of your senior and executive leaders by using a coaching approach. Imagine if they integrated a coaching approach into their leadership.

When I talk about equipping leaders with coaching skills, I am talking about all levels of leaders. I will start wherever I can, because the results of introducing a coaching approach will create the momentum to facilitate big change. To change and transform an organisation. To change perspective. To open up conversations, and to create opportunity.

If these are the measures that something is important, on so many levels this was a successful programme. It paved the way for many other opportunities to be pursued, and to continue to grow and develop the people within this organisation.

I am proud of it.

What I want you to realise though, is that we started small with eight people. These eight people created a wave of change in an organisation so that it reshaped the approach to customer service.

It reshaped the approach to leadership, and it reshaped the opportunity for every individual within the organisation. And you can only imagine the benefits that were experienced by the customers, by the stakeholders, and by each individual themselves.

Imagine if you had an opportunity like this, or a bigger one, that started higher up the organisation with a coaching leadership approach. What difference might that make?

Why aren’t you coaching yet?

“From the outset Stacey demonstrated that she was willing to support our business & our new coaches to get the skills they needed to excel in their roles. Over the 12 month program the coaches learnt great coaching skills through experiential learning, which has resulted in significant increases in all key metrics of performance in our department.

Additionally, the great intangibles that come along with having effective coaching, such as high staff engagement & low attrition continue to reinforce the benefits of the skills the team acquired.

We have been able to create a dialogue around a “Coaching Culture” & the momentum around this continues to increase. I would highly recommend Stacey’s program to anyone who is looking to increase their business’ performance, staff “buy in” and customer satisfaction.”

Maxine Taylor
MaxineSenior Manager Customer Service, Online Banking

LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT:
NSW Department of Communities & Justice, Audit, Risk & Compliance

In a time of extreme change and challenge, this was a recently merged department that needed some help to become a high-performing team.

The focus of the program was to:

  • Provide the entire team with new skills to support communication, influencing, and stakeholder management across the organisation
  • To enable team leaders and managers to step up their leadership of the program of change.
  • To provide leaders the tools to plan and deliver their team’s programs of work.
  • To develop the team leaders and middle managers to make more effective and efficient use of their time and energy, and to have more impact.
  • To enable team members to be more confident and effective when working with senior stakeholders across the business.

This program was delivered entirely online during 2021 while NSW was in full COVID lockdown.

“I began working with Stacey by attending a couple of her webinars. This led me to her books and more webinars. What Stacey said, and the tools she provided when she said it, as I try to be a Leader to 20+ staff, resonated with me. ‘Lead Yourself First’ became a foundation for me.

 I cannot speak more highly enough of Stacey’s collaborative approach, her ability to listen and hear what is required. Then her ability to design and deliver a fit-4-team program.

 I would personally recommend Stacey and would encourage leaders to reach out, attend a webinar, read one of her books and see what resonates!!”

Thom Thornton
Thom ThorntonDirector Audit, Risk & Compliance, NSW Department of Communities and Justice

SPEAKER:
Accor Hotels

Stacey was approached in mid-2021 by the Head of the ACCOR Learning Academy to work with an extended cohort of over 400 hotel General Managers across the Pacific. Why?

Because this group of leaders were in distress. Their purpose is to provide hospitality, and during the COVID pandemic this was severely impacted.

This group of leaders had been generously supporting their teams since the initial impacts of the pandemic were felt in early 2020, and they were now struggling to find a way forward as leaders.

The program brief was to provide these leaders with the tools, opportunity and mindset to find a positive way to lead.

This program was so positively impactful, Stacey realised she needed to share these ideas further to help even more people. She used the core ideas as the basis of her latest Amazon #1 best selling book, POWER UP, 12 Simple Ideas To Nourish Your Leadership Energy, Outlook & Wellbeing.

Accor
A four-part powerful series to our leaders delivering on leading possibility. Stacey’s ease and approach with the virtual space made for an engaging and inspiring session which allowed us to stream across the Pacific. Her knowledge of the subject and ability to bring leaders with her throughout the four sessions, as they navigated leading themselves in our current world, provided an extraordinary platform to create change and grow capability.”
Kay Goodman
Kay GoodmanVice President, Accor Academy & Talent Development, Pacific

SPEAKER:
NORTHROP CONSULTING ENGINEERS

In late 2021, Stacey was approached by Northrop Consulting Engineers, to be the key speaker and facilitator at their inaugural Women In Northrop Conference in April 2022.

The key purpose behind creating this conference was to provide opportunities for the women in this organisation to recognise their own opportunities, to take control of their careers, and to provide a great community and voice.

Stacey worked closely with the events team and Women In Northrop Chair to create a series of workshops for the full-day event to support the objectives. These included:

Own Your Career The Female Superpower Power Up Your Confidence

The feedback was sensational with all the attendees walking away with clear plans about how to be more accountable for their own careers, and specific actions to take, as well as a community of women they felt more connected to.

“Stacey’s style and experience was a really good fit for our organisation. A full day of workshops, conversations, and activity with Stacey inspired our female leaders to reach their full potential.

Working with Stacey has also helped identify some of the challenges our women are facing, providing the opportunity for us to be more informed and proactive so we can support women in our organisation in an even better way.”

Clarissa Fraser
Clarissa FraserHR Advisory Lead, Northrop Consulting Engineers

EXECUTIVE COACH:
CENTURY ENGINEERING

Rachael had been appointed to the role of Chief Financial Officer from her previous role of Finance Manager, although didn’t feel she had made an effective transition into the Executive team. She wanted to offer more insight, have more influence, and make a bigger impact.

After working together for almost a year, Rachael was operating as, and seen to be, a key leader in the business. She built the capability and accountability of her team so they could step up in their roles, allowing Rachael to move her focus from the operational to the strategic.

Rachael developed her executive presence and positioning as a key member of the Executive team. She became a sounding board for her peers on the Executive team, key stakeholders, and a provider of critical insights across the business. And, importantly, became a trusted advisor for the CEO.

Stacey’s program has given me valuable tools for me to be able to succeed in my CFO role and, I have learnt how to inspire and motivate myself and the teams around me.

The success of this program has given significant improvements in my leadership skills, and it has also improved collaboration between my team, peers and my manager.

 I particularly enjoyed the one-to-one coaching where I could speak honestly about problems I have faced in my role and Stacey gave me ideas and tools to overcome and succeed against them.

 I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Stacey during this time and the skills, knowledge, ideas that we discussed will be useful for many years.”

Rachael Pope
Rachael PopeChief Financial Officer, Century Engineering

SPEAKER:
ACCOUNTING INNOVATORS AUSTRALIA

Stacey was invited to be the keynote speaker at the inaugural event of Accounting Innovators Australia, on International Women’s Day 2023.

AIA is a disruptor in the Australian Finance and Accounting industry, providing an alternative community to the traditional male-dominated spaces, and Stacey is their ambassador for leadership.

AIA is the brainchild of Sonia Gibson, who runs a heart centred accounting practice, creating a safe workplace for women in the finance industry. Sonia’s AIA co founder, Karen Maloney, watched Stacey’s acceptance speech on Big Leadership at the 2022 Stevie Awards in Las Vegas and knew she was the right speaker for the inaugural event of Accounting Innovators Australia.

Stacey delivered a powerful keynote on Big Leadership in the accounting industry, the opportunity and the responsibility to act.

Afterwards, Sonia said, ‘My husband has taken so many notes while you were speaking…and that never happens. Thank you, you have set us up for success.’

“Dr Ashley delivered a fabulous keynote for our International Women’s Day lunch on Big Leadership. Her enthusiasm on the subject inspired loads of discussion amongst the attendees about the leadership actions required to achieve gender equality within the accounting profession. Dr Ashley was the perfect choice of speaker for our event, I cannot recommend her highly enough.”
Sonia GibsonFounder & Director, Accounting Heart & Accounting Innovators

EXECUTIVE COACH:
TASMANIA HEALTH SERVICES

Lucy attended a webcast Stacey delivered to the Women Supporting Women in Leadership community for the Tasmanian State Service.

The next day she approached Stacey about some coaching support.

As the Director for Emergency Medicine at a large hospital, Lucy was facing extensive daily challenges ranging from a toxic culture, overwhelming workload, shortage of people, and lack of support from her direct leader.

Stacey and Lucy worked together for 8 months. Lucy regained balance in her life, ensuring a good level of self care, time with her family, and space to be more thoughtful and strategic in her role.

She was successful in gaining an appointment as Deputy Executive Director of Medical Services. In this role she has developed a strategic plan to foster a more productive and engaged culture, to address some of the key inefficiencies in hospital operations, and to create deliberate learning opportunities and leadership development, and has begun to implement this plan.

“It has been a roller coaster of a challenge at work and with Stacey’s guidance and skill I feel I have been able to keep my head above water and make better and more informed decisions. We can all work hard and fulfil our leadership roles but with the help of Stacey I think I have been able to rise to the challenges and perform with more purpose, and focus. I highly recommend investing in yourself to enable you to reflect and continue to grow in your professional world.”
Dr Lucy ReedDeputy Executive Director of Medical Services, Tasmanian Health Services

LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT:
EAST ARNHEM REGIONAL COUNCIL

The leaders of the East Arnhem Regional Council, Community Division, come together each year for a week of strategic planning and leadership development, travelling from the far reaches of the Northern Territory to meet in Darwin. In the past, this has been a routine event.

This year Stacey was invited to lead them for 2 days of leadership development. The brief was to create an opportunity for greater understanding of self and others across the leadership team and to introduce some leadership coaching concepts, so they could work more effectively with their own teams on their return to work.

It was an amazing 2 days of learning together. More importantly, the opportunity that was created through the learning. The focus was on how to take the learning and apply it in real life. To make leadership easier, the impact and value greater. Return on investment happened within a month.

This short program was so successful, an unprecedented part 2 is scheduled this year. Working with Stacey has been so valuable that plans for a comprehensive 12-month leadership development strategy are also underway.

“Stacey’s ability to engage our team was unparalleled. Her program generated the most engagement I have ever seen from our team during a learning experience. The concepts and strategies she shared are now being actively used by our leaders in their day-to-day activities, and the positive approaches she employed throughout the program were loved by everyone.

As a result, our team now feels more equipped to face the day-to-day challenges of their roles and more importantly lead in a new way ensuring the organisation continues to grow.

Furthermore, within just a month, the program led by Stacey has already shown a significant return on investment. As a team, we are excited to continue working with Stacey to build on this strong foundation and further develop our leaders.”

Andrew WalshDirector of Community Development, East Arnhem Regional Council

LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT:
STEPPING STONE HOUSE

After attending a 1/2 day session with Stacey on the impact of integrating coaching skills into his own leadership approach, the CEO of Stepping Stone house, Jason Juretic, knew he needed to share this with his leadership team.

Stepping Stone House is a not for profit entity, working with homeless youth 12-18 years, in Australia. It provides them with accommodation, basic necessities and the development of key life skills, as well as supporting their focus on education.

Jason asked Stacey to work with his leadership team for a few months to help them develop these essential leadership coaching skills. Their budget was limited. Rather than the typical investment of $30 000, Stacey charged $4 000 to cover the outgoing program costs.

At the end of the program, the leaders shared with Stacey that this was by far the best and most useful learning program they had ever done.

Jason said “You have forever changed the way we lead in our organisation.”

“The Stepping Stone House leadership team was brought a wealth of knowledge and experience .The workshops were high-quality training to our team.

What impressed me the most about Stacey was her ability to engage with learners and create an interactive environment that allowed for maximum participation and learning. She is skilled at delivering complex information in a clear and tangible manner, making it easy for our team to understand and apply in their work.”

Jason JureticCEO, Stepping Stone House

AUTHOR:
Empowering People In Communities (EPIC) Inc.

The power of the written word is profound.

Stacey has never met Stephanie Soter, nor spoken to her.

Yet, earlier this year Stephanie ordered the complete set of Stacey’s books to be delivered to her in Karratha, in the Far North of Western Australia.

This testimonial from Stephanie, above, arrived out of the blue.

This is just one example of the far reaching impact of Stacey’s work for leaders around the world. Most of which we never will get to hear about.

“I wanted to express my sincere appreciation for the valuable insights your books provide. Your extensive experience and knowledge in the realm of leadership have been instrumental in my own growth as a leader.

Over the past two decades, I’ve had the privilege of leading as a CEO, and I remain steadfastly committed to continuous learning and improvement. Your books have been an invaluable resource to me, particularly in recent times, when I was delivering in-house leadership training to my team.

Thank you for your dedication to the development of leaders like myself, and I look forward to any future publications you may have in store.”

Stephanie SoterCEO, EPIC - Empowering People in Communities Inc

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