A Global Performance Coaching Culture at International Personal Finance

IPF-logoThe Client: International Personal Finance plc (IPF) is a leading international home credit business listed on the London Stock Exchange. A FTSE 250 business and ranked highly by FTSE4Good ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) ratings, it is amongst the highest scoring financial services companies in the world for its responsible approach to business.

The Goal: Create a global performance coaching culture.

The Challenge: Embed it across Anglo-Saxon, Eastern European and Latin American independent operating businesses.

In collaboration with our client International Personal Finance we worked on the five key elements to developing a coaching culture:

  1. Goals, diagnostic and scoping of coaching culture requirements
  2. Kick off and Train the Trainer (TTT)
  3. Roll out, deepening of skills and integration into existing systems
  4. Engaging the organization and communications
  5. Evaluation of progress and performance

In an interview, Gabriella Palotai, Head of Learning and Development, shares some insight into her experience of the project:

What is your feedback on your partnering with us?

Performance Consultants is a professional consultancy and they are very good listeners. They ask the right questions to scope the customer need and react on the exact need, and not some perceived advantage from other experience. I value their professional project management and flexible style – again to fit customer needs and occasionally constraints.

What is your experience of the Train the Trainer programme?

Performance Consultants have highly skilled trainers who bond very well with both our stakeholders and participants. It is a very practical train-the-trainer experience. The training provided an enjoyable experience to all participants by finding the right balance between theory and practice, safe environment and challenge, enough time to practise and stretch assignments plus it satisfied stakeholder expectation of putting down a high quality standard and assessment.

Trainers left the TTT event with sufficient skills to be confident in delivery as well as ‘convince by coaching’ some sceptics in the classroom. In particular, the training materials we developed for roll-out as standard in the markets were perfectly right to take away and (after translation) run with it. They were tailored to our target audience due to the close co-operation in the design phase between us and Performance Consultants.

What was the reaction of senior management?

We have their support. Our target audience was lower middle and middle management. Some markets tested the coaching training on senior management as well, and it worked perfectly.

How do you track progress?

All markets are gathering success stories on how they applied the skills and what the impact on the business was. Measurement pilots are ongoing, though they take time. I give you excerpts from internal staff magazines. It is helpful and exciting to read through what operational managers have to say about how they applied coaching!

What next?

Performance Consultants follows up and supports our continuous efforts to establish a coaching culture in the business in 7 countries.

Train the Trainer Programme

International Personal Finance chose to run a TTT Programme in order to establish a global and thriving coaching culture. This guarantees longevity and sustainability of the coaching culture by building global capacity, local champions and a common coaching definition, skill set and culture. International Personal Finance is challenged by the nature of the business which involves a great deal of change, a very diverse cultural mix and independent operating businesses using different local languages.

  • 8 days training for 18 managers on the Performance Coach Training (Train the Trainer) Accreditation course, where they learned to deliver the 2-day Performance Coach Management course
  • A workbook for both courses including a detailed 40-page trainers’ script, PowerPoint slides and handouts
  • Observation, assessment and accreditation for the managers on the Performance Coach Training (TTT) course:
    • assessed on coaching skills and coach-training skills
    • 300 word case history
    • evidence of having a regular coach mentor/supervisor
  • Development of and training in the use of a coaching evaluation tool
    • incorporation of ROI tool into Performance Coach Management course to ensure individual commitment to qualitative and quantitative measurement among new Performance Coach Manager population
    • advice on collating the data for presentation to the different stakeholder groups
  • 6 Coaching Practice Support Calls with accompanying work-place coaching assignments.
    • High-profile and experienced guests in group coaching calls eg ‘Coaching Across Cultures’, ‘Sharing the Experiences of Creating a Coaching Culture in a Multinational Company’ and ‘Integrating Coaching and Evaluation in HR Systems’ ie L&D, performance management, talent management, and ‘How to Run Support Calls’


All but one manager passed their assessments first time. One required additional support, practice and one-to-one supervision in order to meet required standards. The TTT population are now delivering 2-day Performance Coach Management courses in all the countries and training new in-house trainers to deliver and accredit the Performance Coach Management course.

How do you perceive the coaching training/workshop you have taken part in?

“Not only in my opinion was it one of the best trainings I have ever taken part in, I’m talking here about the practical value of the training, about what you can later use in everyday life”

The training programme was designed with a clear link to and coinciding with the roll out of a new competency model of which coaching became a key component. In due course, the coaching roll out was pinned down in regional implementation plans that were shared and coordinated with global L&D.

A pool of Leadership Success Development Coaches has now been created from volunteers who, as part of their leadership development programme, have received Performance Coach Management training from the original TTT population. The intention is both to develop the future internal coaching pool and reinforce the skills of the coaches. Most participants of the leadership programme cite coaching as a real eye-opener and one of the highlights of the whole programme.

Engaging the Organization & Communications

In order to galvanize energy for coaching, build skills and develop the new culture over time, consistent messaging and sharing of role model behaviour is required.

International Personal Finance engages employees and managers through emails and regional magazines and invites them to: ‘send comments, questions, coaching stories to our magazine … or through the suggestion box’. It publishes the letters in the next magazine issue in order to provide evidence for the improved quality of day-to-day dialogue and line managers’ ability to have powerful conversations to drive performance and unleash potential. A picture of the cultural shift is created and the learning is shared, and a vivid and engaged community change is emerging:

For everybody, the real award will be the satisfaction of participating in shaping our company culture according to what we believe in.

“This is a situation we often meet in our activity. How do we improve the state of mind of our team members, how do we point out their abilities, taking into account that we are under the pressure of achieving the objectives?

We are waiting for your answers and comments, even if you are managers or not. If you are a manager – describe how you succeeded in having better results by applying the principles of coaching. If you are an employee or Representative – describe how the collaboration with your manager helped or helps you to professionally/personally develop or, on the contrary, what do you think should change in this relationship.”

Below we provide two examples from International Personal Finance’s regional magazines in the Czech Republic and Romania:

‘Coaching and me’ by Michal (Regional Operations Manager)

Michal shares his experience after attending the 2-day Performance Coach Management course:

communicating-coaching-cultureAt the end of this course I promised myself first of all to concentrate on open questions when leading and motivating my subordinates. It is easy to say, but worse to do. Each of us has our own stereotypes and is persuaded they are right. However, how we can be sure we are doing well?

I invited HR Development Manager Jana to supervise me and give me feedback on how I am doing in this area in daily working life. On Day One I had a chance to practise how to conduct coaching interview and ask open questions. The very start of this conversation wasn’t very successful. I started with results, not very positive, so that the coachee became nervous at the very beginning. He blocked himself and was very difficult to motivate him to continue. I experienced how important is to start informally and make the opposite side feel positively. Not to start with bad or
negative news, so that the coachee feels more free and relaxed, and not nervous…

The way, you ask questions is also very important, the coachee cannot feel under pressure, it is important he/she wants to communicate. Giving positive feedback is a must, same as repeating, active listening and paraphrasing. It’s better to ask before offering advice from your own experience, and don’t beat the coachee with negative or misleading questions. Ask them “Which option do you think would be better?” When you realize it for yourself you learn.

I also try to concentrate on giving positive feedback. I’ve started to work on the way I talk (intonation) and give accent/impact on certain words. Finally, my message or questions can be accepted differently than I intended.

  • Coachee choses his/her own goal
  • He/she found options how to reach the goal
  • He/she set up term, when and what to do

This “practice day” ended up positively. When conducting my next coaching practice session, I helped the coachee feel good thanks to my different attitude. She left satisfied that she knows how to solve her problem differently without my interaction and advice.

Good luck to you!

coaching-culture-romaniaWhen you feel that your direct manager trusts you more; when you have initiatives and you feel that your opinions are taken into account; when you are involved in new projects which point out unimagined abilities… well then Romania is closer to the coaching culture.

It is obvious that we cannot speak of creating an organizational culture based on coaching unless we are all in the same boat. This is why we are challenging you through this column, which we want to have permanently in our magazine.

Evaluation of Coaching Culture Successes

Track Progress on Learning, Acceptance, Application, Behaviour Shifts and Performance

The progress and successes of growing a coaching culture can be evaluated over time at each step
along the journey and down to the levels required by the client and leadership. International Personal Finance chose to run pilot evaluations in two countries and learn from the experience in order to develop a global unified approach and engage the regional executive, and link it to local and corporate KPIs and strategy. Below we share examples of the successes and information measured to date:

Employees: What is the learning, level of acceptance and application of the new coaching skills and mindset? In this example, International Personal Finance could show that managers begin to apply their learning and coaching with employees soon after the coaching training workshops. The majority of employees note the difference, feel and experience that their managers change their management style in day-to-day interactions.

To what degree do you agree/disagree with the following statement?

Your line manager has used coaching with you

Managers: What is the acceptance and buy-in at the managerial level within the organization? Over 90% of managers see coaching both as a practical tool for their job as well as driving performance and contributing to their business success.

To what degree do you agree/disagree with the following statement?

I think it’s practical to use coaching in my work


I think coaching can contribute to achieving business objectives

Frequently, the business case learning and the power of establishing a coaching culture really shines through the business stories and statements that employees and managers provide as feedback and in follow up interviews.

“Such a [coaching] management style certainly translates onto [our] relations and has a huge influence on the Representatives’ engagement in performance of their duties. I believe this style of work also has an impact on the operations KPIs. Thanks to it, for the last two years the performance achieved by my area has been the best in the region.”

Behaviour: Most importantly, as part of the evaluation and coaching culture implementation process, behaviour changes can be tracked. In this instance, the 360-degree feedback process on managers indicates that a healthy coaching culture exists and is practised.

coaching-management-360-feedback-graphScale: 0 = low; 5 = high

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Read More About Our Work
If you would like to know more about our coaching programmes, please request papers on:

  • Coaching for Performance
  • Coaching for Engagement
  • Coaching for Lean
  • Coaching for Health & Safety
  • Creating Authentic Leadership
  • Developing a Coaching Management Style
  • Creating a Coaching Culture
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To order an in-house programme or to discuss how we can support the specific training needs of your managers, leaders and organization, please email info@performanceconsultants.com or call +44 (0)20 3903 0011.