Coaching skills are critical for everyone in leadership roles

Can you tell us more about yourself?

I work in Coca-Cola HBC since 2006 in various roles, with a couple of years spent away from Coca-Cola HBC in two different HR Country Director roles. I am currently the Head of Executive Learning for the Coca-Cola Hellenic Group, which basically means I am responsible for capability development of our Top 300 leaders across our 28 countries. I lead our trademark Excel Leadership Development programme and have developed and implemented a full portfolio of development solutions for our senior leaders.

Coming from a large multinational company, how do you approach training and onboarding of newly hired employees?

In Coca-Cola HBC, we take care of our employees’ development needs from the moment they walk through the door. Just last year we have launched a re-hauled onboarding programme that insists on line manager’s active involvement in creating a tailor-made set of actions for the new employee to complete in their first 90 days. In connection with this, we take good care that we don’t overburden the new hires with developmental activities in this critical period. Instead, we focus on getting new hires acquainted with the organization, their team and the broader environment, by assigning a buddy to serve as a first point of contact for various questions that may come up. In addition, coaching is offered to those taking on a new role as well as mentoring support where needed.

Onboarding a newly hired employee is one thing, but retaining the most talented a continuously developing them is an entirely different endeavor. How do you do it?

Retaining quality employees is indeed a whole different proposition, and to be able to keep our best people, we have a set of KBIs against which each business unit’s performance is monitored, thus directly addressing talent objectives. The KBIs clearly indicate the benefits of a focused and targeted approach to developing employees. All our key employees are subject to an annual process of performance and career prospects evaluation. Aligned with this, each key person must have an individual development plan which is constructed jointly with their line manager, targeting competencies specific to the employee’s development needs. Through this process, employees have access to a multitude of development opportunities, ranging from on-the-job development assignments, to specialized development programmes, self-study, e-learning materials, mentoring and coaching, etc.

How extensively is coaching utilized in CCH and which populations are covered?

Coaching is a development activity which is increasingly represented in our leaders’ development plans. We insist that coaching skills are critical for everyone in leadership roles and we make coaching skills training a mandatory part of our core programmes, empowering employees with a sort of “license to lead” on a given leadership layer, starting from our first line leaders. Aside from that, we are re-launching our internal coach certification process, which will see an increased utilization of internal resources for coaching. Aside from that, we recognize that it is critical to have access to world-class external Executive Coaching services and we make those available to our Top 300 and Top 40 leaders. We maintain strong working relationships with global coaching providers that have passed our quality assurance process. With coaching being a critical part of our Leaders Developing Leaders initiative, we see an even bigger role played by coaching in the coming years.

What other tools and solutions do you have in place for developing your employees?

Besides coaching, we have revamped and fully standardized our mentoring approach. For now, it is deployed across the organization in a consolidated way, ensuring the right people have access to it. The program has been integrated with business initiatives by having senior leaders mentoring their junior colleagues in various business units. In order to maximize the impact of our coaching and mentoring program, we have invested a lot in training so that our leaders can use these tools appropriately.

We also have a full suite of core programmes aimed at each leadership layer and talent segment which are blended in nature, having a 10/20/70 split. 10% is the training itself, 20% of the learning is through coaching, mentoring and co-active learning, and 70% through hands on application and on-the-job learning. Aside from core programmes, we have implemented a number of “performance booster” programmes which are aimed more narrowly at individual competencies that are identified as prioritized ones for the given leadership layer.

As an organization, we also find team effectiveness to be a critical success factor, which is why we have standardized our approach and deployed a wide network of suppliers as well as upskilling members of our Learning Center of Expertise to be able to deliver this solution across the organization.
Aside from these standardized solutions, we are also always on the lookout for emerging business needs that have an implication on broader organizational capabilities which go beyond the development needs of individuals. As a result, we are able to address many diverse demands coming from the business for which there is no standardized solution. Through a structured needs identification process, we strive to understand the need and source the right solution for it.

What are you passionate about in your work?

I am passionate about providing the right solution to address business needs and then witnessing the impact it is having on the business.

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