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Building a safety culture with coaching skills for managers

With over 65,000 employees working in more than 100 countries worldwide, Linde wanted to take a pioneering approach to help managers and leaders develop the coaching skills needed to engage and empower their teams to address specific behavioral safety challenges and improve safety performance.

Safe employees on site

For me, the Performance Consultants training was a pilot not only related to safety but more of a pilot around leadership . . .

The question was: if we can’t manage safety, how the heck are we going to manage our company?”

Chief Executive, Linde Engineering
Christian Bruch

This training really is one of the most well thought out training programs I’ve been involved with.

It makes you think throughout, and in my opinion, will affect our performance in a positive way.


James M. Suddarth, Manager
Linde Construction

Our Approach

Performance Consultants created an innovative and exciting learning journey, which inspired participants to champion the programme and build a coaching safety culture across the organization. What set this leading edge global learning programme apart was the way that the online programme was used to shift people’s mindset around leadership to address specific behavioural issues around safety.

The integration of coaching skills in various safety contexts occured through in-person and virtual elements:



  • 1 – Three month Coaching for Safety Performance learning journey

    …for senior leaders we designed and delivered an instructor-led programme which combined a 2-day Face to Face workshop with two Virtual workshops at 30 and 60 days to embed skills across Europe, the USA and Asia.



  • 2 – Comprehensive online E-learning programme

    …including six 1-hour modules delivered in English, French, Russian, German and Chinese for front line leaders. This included video demonstrations, assessment, activities for putting skills into practice, accompanying worksheets and expert commentary.


  • 3 – The demonstration

    Here is an example of a demonstration focused on how to give feedback in a safety context. We used real employees to make the content feel accessible and designed each piece of content to deliver simple performance outcomes.

    The new approach led the team to question some of the fundamental ways they had worked. “Everyone thought ‘This is never going to work. How are we going to get things done if we start asking people to do stuff rather than telling people to do stuff?’ . . . Historically speaking, the construction industry itself, in the Gulf Coast area, especially in the US, in order to get things done, you tell people what to do.” said Bruce Parnell, Safety Manger at Linde, “A lot of these workers were never engaged by management and never had an opportunity to prove to management that they knew what they were doing. One guy said he’d been out there in that business for 24 years and nobody ever asked him his opinion!”


We would like to thank Performance Consultants for their dedication and commitment which has resulted in a great product that is having a positive effect on many.

Most importantly, the result of this work shows in the safety statistics.”

Construction & Commissioning HSE, Linde Engineering HQ
Kai Gransee

The Results

Immediately after having participated in the initial Transformational Safety Leader program, the highly motivated leaders, managers and supervisors changed their behaviour and approach.

Behavioural change

This was demonstrated by a significant increase of constructive, meaningful and impactful safety interactions that translated into trust-building, collaborative working and creating a caring environment, full of leanings. Both the new safety coaches and the workers are now actively demonstrating a coaching leadership style.

The number of monthly interactions between managers and workers using a coaching approach nearly tripled from 11 per month (in 2016) to 30 (in 2017).

The initial intention was to target 7,000 employees of Linde Engineering starting with the Construction and Manufacturing arms of the group. After demonstrating clear results, the scope widened to include other businesses within The Linde Group.

Sustainable culture change

In 2018, for the first time, Linde Engineering had no ‘lost time injury’ on any of its construction sites globally. Their ‘TRIR’ (Total Recordable Injury Rate: recordable injuries per 1 million work hours) was reduced by 46% from 1.51 (in 2017) to 0.81 (average TRIR 2014 to 2017: 1.43).

Three years on, the project continues to live within Linde Engineering championed by the HSE specialists who now deliver the training internally.  The impact of the shift in mindset and behaviour created by the program is apparent – employees recently celebrated 10 million accident-free hours.

Safety coaching skills are now being rolled out to other parts of the Linde Group.

The global impact on safety

The transformational power of coaching and its success at Linde was recently highlighted in the Financial Times. You can also hear the story in our webinar featuring Kai Gransee, Head of Construction & Commissioning HSE at Linde Engineering, and James Neville, Commercial Director at Performance Consultants.