Coaching is a modern and effective development tool

Coaching is a modern and effective development tool. How much is it used in Banca Intesa?

     Banca Intesa, as a leader in the banking market, justifies its position and continuous investment in the development of its employees. In addition to a series of educational programs that we organize as an integral part of each employee’s development, we recognize coaching tools as an excellent way for our colleagues to achieve individual goals through the development of our organization.

     We started gradually, with the introduction of optional external coaches for the Bank’s management team on an individual basis. Our external coaches are very carefully selected and have different formal education, coming from the spheres of psychology, business, or even information technology, and they have in common international certifications and great experience in coaching. The benefit of this approach lies in the fact that users become its promoters after their first sessions, resulting in an even greater demand for coaching. Along with these activities, we have promoted coaching tools through the “Coaching As a Management Technique“ training for our middle management, where we practiced coaching in day-to-day management, as well as through internal sales coaching for employees in the Bank’s Network, through which we improve our sales competencies.

     The next step was to spread the coaching culture through group coaching conducted by an internal certified coach. This kind of coaching is a rarity in organizations, and we can proudly say that our colleagues from Head Office who wanted to join, organized in several groups with common goals, are now at the end of this process. Participants in one group are generally gathered around similar topics they want to discuss, and they create each session together with the coach. The list of topics is practically inexhaustible, and some of them are: creating a personal developmental professional plan, more successful coping in stressful situations, readiness to make decisions, more effective management of time, people and tasks, maintaining focus and perseverance in achieving goals.

Digitalization of society and business necessitates digitization of learning and training. Tell us what this process looks like in your company.

     Keeping in touch with the development of new technologies and modern trends in banking, Banca Intesa constantly improves all areas of its business and adapts to the requirements of the digital age, which is also the case with the way we approach learning. We introduced Elearning 5 years ago and now every employee completes more than 7 courses annually. It is interesting that we have launched online coaching conducted by our internal sales coaches, and Skype Conference Call has not only replaced certain meetings but using this technology we also organize shorter workshops. Also, our Intesa Sanpaolo team has developed the “The Management Academy App” application, which is always available to our managers who can now quickly and easily, through their mobile phones or tablets, access interesting short-format content about people management techniques and innovations in the field of management.

Of course, as in banking, the introduction of digitalization is not aimed at the disappearance of human contact, but the fact that contact with clients is further deepened and qualitatively enhanced, and in the domain of human development a successful organization like ours will continue to ( in addition to high technology in the field of learning) promote interactive trainings and workshops in smaller groups. The coach is no longer just a lecturer, but an innovator, an Elearning practitioner and a multimedia user and promoter.

Talent work is the key to growth and development of each company. How does Banca Intesa work with talents?

     Coverage of the concept of talent in Banca Intesa is very wide – talents are recognized among young people who have just started working in our bank, among our best performers in all positions, as well as among managers.

Our “International Talent Program” started in 2017 under the patronage of Intesa Sanpaolo. The international dimension of this program, within which carefully selected talents from the banks operating in the group attend management and specialist trainings and work on projects related to our business, is what separates it from similar programs. Each talent gets an individual development path of 3 to 5 years and the opportunity to live and work in another country, get to know other banks in the Intesa family and gain valuable international experience.

We also conduct the “Treasure Leadership Talent Program” for talents already in managerial positions. We did not chose this name by chance, because our best employees are our greatest tresure. The program recognizes two groups – mentors who have the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience and pass on their leadership skills to selected employees, and talents who have kindled new aspects of development and through various individual activities have honed their leadership skills and knowledge. This program lasts for eighteen months, and is followed by simple online “Talent” applications where mentors and talents choose the activities themselves, chat on the forum and monitor their progress.

One of the activities of this program is its direct connection with the “Junior Training Program” since the talents are able to mentor participants of this development program that brings together students of the final years or graduates who make their first banking steps in our Bank. Otherwise, our Junior program has brought out great young talents who have now become part of the Intesa team. Currently, in the corridors of our Head Office building, you can meet many smiling young faces; this is the second generation of our Junior program.

What kind of trainings do your employees and talents go to?

     The results of the previous activites in the “Treasure Leadership Talent Program” are impressive: a lot of trainings with very interesting and useful topics were conducted – project management, innovation, leadership, coaching and communication for leaders and presentation in English, and we will deal with macroeconomics and strategic management. Our mentors and talents were active in mentoring sessions, various group mini projects were launched, more than 20 articles and books were revised, our Junior program participants were mentored, colleagues visited dozens of other organizational parts of the Bank through the rotation and learning through “shadowing” activities. In two different events, held one each semester, our talents competed in a famous world business simulation, but also in the construction of catapults through team exercises in nature.

When it comes to the Junior program, its participants have gone through a whole range of trainings and projects – from communication and presentation skills, through encouraging innovative thinking, to specific project tasks.

Of course, in addition to all these talent-oriented activities, Banca Intesa continuously offers programs for all groups of its employees. Newcomers pass the Intro training and guided “onboarding”, with additional specific seminars depending on their work specificity.
Also, all colleagues have available Specialist programs that develop competencies within different positions – Academy for Small Business, Credit Risk Development Program, Business Intelligence Program, IT Academy, a number of different seminars and interactive workshops, open skills development programs, as well as number of managerial programs for the Network and Head Office staff.

We are proud of the fact that most of our programs are carried out internally, and more than a hundred colleagues have been trained as trainers.

Many studies have been written about the impact of coaching on company profits. What is your experience?

Certainly coaching, as well as any investment in employees’ knowledge and development, aims to contribute to the long-term development of the company and to achievement of good business results. In addition, at the level of our Bank, the benefits of coaching are multiple – apart from the fact that individuals improve skills that facilitate their work and promote efficiency, personal and professional satisfaction increases, and communication between members of different organizational units opens and deepens, which strengthens corporate synergy. I think that the importance and possibilities of using coaching tools are recognized more and more, and that the benefits of using them will be more noticeable in the upcoming years. Considering the importance of recognizing the need for this type of change, our management has already made its way into the future.

If you could describe what “people development” is in only one sentence, what would that sentence be?

Real development is not what someone gives you, but what you aim to get.

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