Coaching for results
IPG is Belgium’s largest contact center. More than that, they are an expert in managing customer relations.
For their centers in Hasselt, Antwerp and Brussels they wished to offer external support for 25 managers (22 Team Coaches & 3 Team Managers), whose teams give technical and commercial support for one of their key customers. Previous trainings around leadership, social skills, behavioural preferences etc. for the coaches had not led to visible results on the work floor. Their teams still found it difficult to reach the targeted KPI’s.
The goal for Indra Partners was to help the coaches grow up to their maximum potential and improve the results (KPI’s) of their teams.
Over a 6 months time span, we offered 7 interventions through a blend of observation of the coaches, individual coaching and group sessions. Indra Partners ensured a pragmatic, targeted approach and individual feedback and advice that Team Coaches and Team Managers could put into practice from day one.
During the group sessions we taught the team coaches practical methods and techniques to strengthen their core coaching skills. We paid special attention to skills needed in coaching team members who found it hard to evolve or who offered resistance to change. The coaches practiced the methods through interactive exercises and role play. A toolkit provided with each group session offered additional material and practical tips so that coaches could continue to use the new skills.
During the individual coaching sessions we zoomed in on the strengths and weaknesses of each coach and on the members of his/her team. A team mapping for each coach served as a reality check regarding their team and highlighted where the bottlenecks and opportunities appeared. We taught them how they could get faster results thanks to a structured approach. For this approach, we gave them practical tools, such as a stepping-stone action plan with crystal clear targets.
In a 6 month time span we managed to increase the results of the entire team. The client expressed that they noticed a significant improvement. Participants of this track expressed their appreciation of our interventions and indicated that they would like to continue our trainings in the future.
Leadership : teamwork, trust and ownership
Scioteq designs and develops innovative solutions for industries such as air traffic control, aviation, defence and security.
Over the last years, Scioteq’s strategy and operational activities were impacted by a number of significant changes. This put a particular burden on its leaders’ shoulders : not only did they have to adapt continuously but they also had to make sure their teams remained motivated. All this when at times they didn’t have an answer to the questions their team members.
When their new strategy proved successful, Scioteq decided to bring all leaders on the same level of excellence. The company thought it important that all managers would use the same ‘language’ and reflect the organisation’s most important values in their work and management style (teamwork, trust and respect, ownership).
In consultation with ScioTeq we developed two programmes : one targeting the CEO and his direct reports and a programme for all other managers.
The roll out of these two tracks happened in a paralel way. This enabled us to use remarks and questions from the sessions with the senior management as input for the sessions with the other managers (and vice versa).
At the start and at the end of the programme we assembled all leaders together.
Both programmes consisted out of 5 modules of one full day. A couple of modules were the same for both target audiences, others were adapted to the specific role and context of the type of participants.
Each module was a logical continuation of the previous one and in between each session, participants received an assignment to ensure that their new knowledge and insights were immediately put into practice.
Scioteq’s company values were the baseline throughout the entire programme. Each module explored these values deeper so that they became concrete in the day-to-day reality.
The nature of this company means that this day-to-day reality varies greatly : some managers lead blue collar workers in a production environment governed by strict rules, others were responsible for highly educated software developers or for sales teams
That’s why we opted for a very pragmatic approach.We continuously verified if a model or method we wanted to use was relevant to the working context of the participants : in how far could they recognise and apply what we suggested ? We made sure that the same principle applied to the exercises and assignments : we were vigilant that these would lead to useful results.
We used a variety of learning methods : role plays, individual reflections, group discussions, quizzes, individual tests, etc. Continuous support came through toolkits, practical information, checklists and so on.
The fact that senior management followed the programme as well, was an undeniable added value.It was a clear proof that the CEO and his team meant business about introducing a new leadership style in the company.
The information exchange between these two groups throughout the programme and the common intervision session led to a greater mutual understanding and a closer connection between the different management levels.
The time – frame of this programme was almost 6 months which meant that we could witness the results of the sessions as the programme evolved. Team members remarked on the new and improved approach of their managers, personnel meetings were different, managers exchanged information more frequently and took more ownership.
Those managers who were sceptical at the start of the program, evolved into very engaged and active participants.
Leading without command & control
Securitas wished to evolve from a “directive” leadership style to a more “coaching” style. The company wanted to stimulate a culture of open feedback and create a positive team spirit.
With this in mind, the HR department developed a new competence model for all leaders while translating each competency to concrete behaviours.
Securitas wanted to solidify this new leadership style by offering an effective program for all new leaders.To ensure that this program would meet expectations, a number of experienced managers were invited to join the program as well.
Securitas organised two paralel programs, one for the Operational Teams and one for the IT Department, each one with participants from three groups of leaders : Management Trainees, Post Superiors and (Assistant) Branch Managers.
When developing the leadership program for Securitas, we used their new competence model as our base line. The program consisted of 6 one-day modules, spread out over a 6 month time frame. In each module, we explored one ore more of the Securitas competencies while each module built on what had been learned in the previous session.
At the end of each module, participants received an assignment, allowing them to put the new insights into practice in their daily work.At the start of the following module, each participant shared with the group how (s)he had experienced the assignment.
Throughout the entire program we used peer coaching and inter-vision techniques as a way to translate new-found knowledge into action.Sharing real life experiences during the sessions did prove to be a powerful way to learn fast. This is one of the reasons why we opted to combine new and experienced managers in the same group.
Securitas’s context was the basis for everything we did, including putting methods and techniques into practice. We invited participants to practice on their own real-life cases as well as using those that we had prepared in advance.
We offered additional support through toolkits with practical information, checklists and so on. Participants highly appreciated our pragmatic, hands-on approach as was the opportunity to reflect about the role of a leader at Securitas.
At the end of the program, all participants were equipped with the same ‘backpack’ of methods and techniques that allowed them to decide for themselves how and when they would use the tools that they had been given.
Communication and teamwork
De Lijn is the Flemish Public Transport Company. Its IT infrastructure team and the IT management team invited us to give workshops around communication and team work.
These were the goals of the workshops :
- To gain a better understanding of each other and to communicate more efficiently.
- To work together as one team in order to increase the quality of work and to give a sense of pride as a team.
In both workshops, we used Insights Discovery ® to increase mutual understanding and to enhance communication. We also used the Team Manifesto in both cases. In this manifesto team members write down the shared principles and engagements that they consider essential for an optimal functioning of the team. Since it is developed by all team members, each member takes ownership of the outcome and will take up responsibility to make it come to life on the work floor.
At the end of the workshops, the team gave answers to the following questions :
- How do we communicate about this day’s learnings to our colleagues/teams?
- Which commitments do we make towards ourselves and towards our team ?
- With whom will we share these commitments so that we keep our promise ?
- How can we constructively confront each other when we don’t live up to the Team Manifesto’s commitments ?
As sustainable results are always part of our commitment, we made sure to include targeted follow-up actions and an accompanying toolkit.
Team efficiency and collaboration
Levanto is a company that belongs to the “social economy” sector. It offers disadvantaged groups an opportunity to gain a meaningful role in society thanks to sustainable employment. For Levanto’s “Bike Management” team, we developed a half day workshop with as main goals :
- increasing the motivation of each individual coworker
- lowering the number of short absences thanks to this increased motivation
- enhancing the collaboration within the team
- increasing the quality of work thanks to this enhanced collaboration.
During the first part of this workshop, we used a game approach. The game allowed the participants to experience a number of elements of good team work :
- Each team member has an important task and bares responsibility
- Each team member’s contribution counts
- If one person is absent or can’t contribute fully, it has an impact on the entire team.
We took this awareness as a basis for the 2nd part of the workshop during which they built their Team Manifesto together. In this Manifesto they made concrete agreements as to what makes them proud as a team and how they could work together to offer quality work. The team decided who would ensure that the Manifesto would be adhered to and what they would need from each other and from their manager to turn the Manifesto into a daily reality.
Another specificity in this team was the their multicultural nature. Deep believes and values varied a great deal and gave way to tension within the team. Although Diversity and Inclusion was not part of our assignment, it became an important aspect of the workshop. Through ad-hoc intervision and through discussing values, believes and individual needs, we managed to create a new mutual understanding amongst team members.
Addressing the underlying cultural dimensions and ensuring commitments with clear responsibility formed a solid basis for sustainable result, despite the limited duration of this workshop.
Change : from victim to active player
Orange has decided to implement a new customer oriented strategy which needs to be deployed company-wide. This choice led to an important restructure which led to merging certain teams together, creating new teams, changing the role of certain managers and giving new responsibilities to team members.
Orange’s leaders were looking for a variety of ways to offer support to its employees during this time of change. Indra Partners played an active role by offering learning opportunities to increase resilience within managers and team members.
We developed two workshops of 90 minutes: one for team members and one for team leaders.Both of them were in line with a new leadership programme that had been introduced since about a year. As we wished to give the workshops an Orange in-house look and feel, we referred to models and techniques that had been discussed in their leadership programme
As per Orange’s request, we allowed the content of the workshop to depend on the questions of the participants. Therefore, we started each session with an inventory of how far they were in the change : what did they consider positive, what did they find difficult and where did they adopt an attitude of ‘wait and see’.
These were the pivotal questions during the sessions. The result was that the exercises we offered depended on the answers so they were different in each session.
However, the framework of the workshop was always the same. It was built around the self determination theory of Deci & Ryan : which level of autonomy, belonging and competence do I need stay motivated and what is the impact of the change on these elements ?
In the second part of the workshop, participants learned techniques to look at the change from different angles.
At the end of the session participants understood the underlying causes and emotional responses to the change. Thy knew how they could become an active player in the change process by asking the right questions to themselves and to others
We also trained a number of Orange employees to lead our serious game “a fearless journey”. This game helps teams that are going through a change or need to help give shape to a change initiative. During the game, participants think about possible obstacles they could encounter and the actions they can take themselves to prevent or eliminate these obstacles.
Agile way of working
When Telenet decided to adopt the “agile way of working” throughout the company, they made sure that their employees received the necessary support through a tailor-made programme.
Initial evaluations of this programme showed that a lot of employees needed a basic introduction, a first “live” acquaintance, with the agile principles.
To this end, and on a very short-term notice, Telenet was looking for a partner who was able to help them guide the already developed program for groups of up to 150 participants with varying backgrounds and experience.
This workshop offered participants a very interactive programme with a minimum of theory and a maximum of practical exercises.
Various learning methods were applied : learning through play, visualising ideas through drawing, round table discussions. With each exercise, we made the link to “agile” and what this could mean concretely in their day-to-day environment.
Because the groups were very large, participants were split up in smaller groups of max 12 people at a table. Each table had their own co-facilitator. These were internal Telenet Scrum Masters.
Partners facilitated the big picture of the day : we ensured the exercises ran smoothly, we explained the theory and guided the co-facilitators and their tables through a dynamic and smooth course of the day.
In general, we managed all that had to happen
in the large room for all the tables simultaneously while managing the energy of the room.
Prior to the start of this programme, we also gave a “train-the-trainer” session for the co-facilitators. Their experience varied widely as well but most of them were totally to quite new to facilitation.
The participants of this workshop appreciated the dynamic approach, the fun yet structured course of the day, our animation style and the space they received to share concerns with each other and to receive initial answers to their questions.
Constructive feedback and evaluations
Eurocontrol wanted to install a culture of open feedback within the entire organisation. At the same time, it wished to bring a more positive dynamic to the yearly evaluation discussion. They were looking for a workshop that would provide useful tools to give and receive feedback in an authentic, respectful way.
The workshop also had to prepare participants to the yearly evaluation discussion and ensure that this evaluation became an enriching, motivating dialogue that would lead to agreements on possible improvements.
We developed a half day workshop targeted to team members and managers from different levels. We intentionally brought managers and non-managers together in the sessions.
We combined the DESC-approach (Bower & Bower) with insights and techniques from Marshal Rosenberg’s non-violent communication.We put a strong emphasis on giving constructive and motivating feedback and on receiving feedback with an open mindset.
We used 3 scenario’s specifically created for Eurocontrol’s context to put the new insights immediately into practice during the workshop.Additionally, participants practiced an evaluation conversation using a realistic case.
At the end of the workshop, every participant received a checklist and a list of questions that they could use themselves and/or share with their team members and/or manager in order to prepare for their evaluation.
We also gave them the model of a structured feedback conversation so that they could easily keep on practising after the training.
This workshop became a terrific success as participants kept on referring it to their colleagues.They especially appreciated the pragmatic and practical approach of the workshop and the fact that managers and non-managers could follow it together.
Communicate with impact
Melexis is an innovative technological company . As a result, its project managers possess a highly specialised technical background.
Melexis asked us to help with their “Global Communication Excellence Program”.This is a 3 year long program that puts a strong emphasis on “influencing skills”.
To develop these skills, we made sure that the program fit closely in the Melexis strategy and we opted for a mixed approach.
Indra Partners developed and delivered a one day training for all “global project managers” and “project leaders”.We also developed 2 follow up sessions to be led by an internal Melexis facilitator.
During the one day training we put the focus on three big themes :
- How can I bring a clear message : style, overall structure, and structure of the argumentation.
- How can I create involvement by communicating in a convincing way : communication styles, active listening, influencing others.
- How do I support my arguments with non-verbal communication.
To maximise the impact of the day, we developed exercises based on real business cases that we received from the Head of Program Management and of the L&D manager.
Additionally, all participants received an extensive toolkit with relevant background material.
The two half-day follow-up sessions are rolled out in the various Melexis locations separately. Each session dives deeper into a specific topic out of the ‘global workshop’.
We created a detailed toolkit for the Melexis facilitators :
- all slides with detailed presenter’s notes and referential material such as video’s, articles, presentations en extra background information.
- a “facilitator’s guide” that allows them to facilitate each session in a fully independent manner.
5S Business Game
Indra Partners was invited to build a “serious game” together with Umicore. The goal of the game was to teach the basic principles of 5 S (separate, sort, shine, standardise, sustain) in a Lean Process environment. More importantly, the information needed to stick. Therefore participants needed to actually “experience” the 5 elements and a game was the perfect method of choice.
The training was aimed to new Umicore employees, be it blue or white collar
Additionally, an adapted version could be used to refresh the knowledge of 5 S for more experienced people.
With that in mind, it was important that internal Umicore employees could keep giving this training without extra intervention of Indra Partners
We developed the game in close collaboration with a dedicated workgroup of Umicore. The game was based on a concrete, non-work related situation in which all 5 S rules had to be applied correctly.
While engrossed in playful activity, participants encounter a number of 5 S situations. The game facilitator links these situations with real life scenario’s during a short debrief session after each round. Connecting the game to the day-to-day reality is the key to turning it into a valuable learning experience.
Game and debrief were rolled out in such a way that participants were eager to put the learned material into practice. That eagerness is for a great deal due to a heightened awareness that 5S helps to work in a more efficient and safe way and that applying these rules is important for each Umicore employee.
Indra Partners also trained the future Umicore trainers and included a detailed train-the-trainer manual. In this way, 5 S could continue to live on in the workplace, even long after Indra Partners had left the building.
Two business games for soft skills
IE-net Youth is a prominent Flemish engineering alumni organisation. Each year, they organise an educational week-end event for their members. Traditionally, a variety of speakers would offer short sessions about different topics, including soft skills. While these sessions were appreciated, the IE-net Youth members felt that an overall connection between the topics was missing, leaving them with fragmented learnings to take home.
That is why the organisers decided to dedicate this year’s weekend to one topic : communication skills, viewed from different angles. They also insisted on using a more original approach and that is how they thought about a business game.
The game needed to offer a match between soft skills, business accumen and technical know-how. As an extra challenge, the members of IE-net Youth had graduated in a number of engineering disciplines. The idea of a real-life mobility situation in a Chinese town, offered a technical challenge that all engineering disciplines could relate to. From there on, we worked closely with the IE -net Youth group to develop the actual game.
Indra Partners’s role was to develop soft skill learnings based on the framework of this business game. It comprised various modules with specific learning targets whilst each model was immediately followed up by a debriefing. The result was a natural flow and a logical build upin which each part strengthened the previous one. In this way, the clear connection between the modules became obvious.
Communication skills were at the heart of this weekend. We also put an important emphasis on teamwork, leadership, presentation and convincing skills. All of these skills were woven into the various assignments throughout the game and the immediate debrief sessions after each assignment referred to concrete behaviour that we then linked to useful models and techniques.
We offered an extensive toolkit with useful tips and deeper background information on the models that we used during the week-end.
Participants were enthusiastic about our approach. They said they had learned much more than expected while they still had a fun and intellectually exciting time.
In 2019 ie-net asked us to develop a similar approach for a weekend that would look at communication skills from different angles. By opting for one central theme, they wanted to align the different parts to increase the impact of the weekend. They were also looking for a more dynamic approach and that is why they chose a business game.
In this game soft-skills, technical challenges and a business problem had to be combined with each other. Because the members of IE-net Jongeren come from different disciplines, it was important that the game remained sufficiently open. A real mobility situation in China offered sufficient technical challenges to be able to captivate engineers with different specializations.
IKEA strives to be an organisation where all coworkers are “caring leaders” :
- they trust each other “a priori” and through this trust they dare to show vulnerability
- they can be themselves and respect their colleagues’ authenticity
- they create a connection with colleagues and customers that transcends mere functional aspects.
To cultivate “caring leadership”, IKEA has developed a training program for all managers. Indra Partners provides the module about “authenticity” and “communication” in which we make use of Insights Discovery ®.
To start, all participants receive a personal Insights Discovery profile. As they follow the training in a team setting, we work with a team wheel to show the visual representation of all individual profiles combined.
This representation serves as a basis to help participants analyse how they function as a team. We teach them how they can make a better connection with others by adapting their preferred communication style to the preferred style of others.
We guide participants to a better mutual cooperation. All participants formulate what they personally need of others to be a “Caring Leader” and which individual strength they will put in to get others there. The subsequent exchange of views leads to concrete agreements and actions.
From the feedback after the sessions, we learn that participants really like the dynamic and interactive style of this workshop. They appreciate the accuracy of the personal Insights profile. However, what they love most, is the way this workshop succeeds to help them evolve, starting from recognisig everyone’s individual preferences, to a close team in which the different dimensions of “Caring Leadership” come to live.
Our module for managers proved to be so successful, that we were requested to develop a tailor made program for the entire IKEA marketing team. The basis for this program will be Insights Discovery and the Team Manifesto.
With Insights Discovery we have been able to create a common language for Caring Leadership at IKEA. This increases mutual understanding and makes it easier to give feedback to each other. Team meetings build upon the results of the workshop and translate them into actions for managers and their team members. The fact that the entire team feels connected to these actions and that we remain watchful that the chosen actions are realistic and concrete enhances the chances of success. This is how together with IKEA we create a sustainable effect on the entire organisation.
FERM (KVLV - Vrouwen met Vaart)
Towards a network organisation
Ferm (KVLV-Vrouwen met Vaart) is the largest women organisation in Belgium. A new strategic vision strived for the ability to keep its trusted identity whilst increasing its ability to evolve with new societal changes. An organisational restructure was necessary to help make this vision a reality.
With this in mind, KVLV asked Indra Partners to facilitate a process in which both staff members and volunteers could exchange ideas and propose the new structure from within.
Indra Partners accompanied this change by organising various workshops. We offered a framework through our know-how of existing and new organisational models so that the workshops had a solid structure as we wished to guarantee tangible output.
We facilitated each meeting, intervened when necessary and gave inspiring examples of other organisations who had gone through a similar change. We used specific techniques to ensure that each point of view could be heard while the common interests remained on top of the agenda.
Intermittent reporting allowed the KVLV management team to follow which progress had been made, from the initial ideas till the final proposal for a new structure. We presented this proposal to the national steering committee. Their agreement led to the current preparation for the roll out of the new structure based on the principles of a network-organisation.
With the workshops we managed to :
- Create a sense of urgency to change.
- Give an answer to the question “Why do we need to change and what problems will be resolved through it ?”
- Define a network-organisation that allows KVLV to realise its vision and strategy.
- Find the right balance between far-reaching renewal and keeping those elements of the “old” structure that remain valuable.
- Generate positive energy (hope, trust, optimism and enthusiasm) around the proposed new network-organisation.