How an ‘outsider’ earned trust, respect and unprecedented cooperation by bonding properly with training participants.

Glass half empty

Cadbury has ‘a passionate commitment to making everyone feel happy’. While this includes staff, not everyone was feeling the love in 2008.

The company wanted a training solution with short and long term goals, i.e. to help:

  • field sales managers coach territory managers in a new sales approach (several previous attempts having failed)
  • all managers take Cadbury into the future by moving from a task-based culture to a team-based learning culture that supported staff and business goals alike.

Joy division

Though this was a big ask, DeakinCo’s response was particularly effective – as much for our content as the calibre of our facilitating staff.

Our Field Sales Manager program incorporated a coaching skills survey and five one-on-one executive coaching sessions. Scheduled three weeks apart, these allowed time to apply expertise to agreed goals.

Field Sales Managers next attended a two-day conference organised by Cadbury which incorporated a Coaching Skills Workshop facilitated by DeakinPrime.

A program evaluation report flagged competency shifts across the target group, after which participants returned to the workplace to apply their learning.

To ensure one-on-one coaching was strategic and results focused, DeakinCo Master Program Coach Noel Posus met with each participant to define the context, then worked with them on an individual action plan.

Participants engaged strongly with the program because they were able to relate to Noel in a safe, unthreatening way. They ‘adopted’ him into their teams, felt comfortable to call him between sessions and continued to ask for more development.

Block party

We achieved the primary operational goal in a NSW/ACT pilot, shared lessons with all other states, then set to work on the secondary strategic goal.

Cadbury did itself a big favour by thoroughly embracing the coaching, and staff voiced deep appreciation for the learning opportunity.

Many said that in their entire careers, they’d never attended a course and received personalised follow-up support from someone who was external to their environment yet really understood it.

A host of glowing comments was summed up with: ‘I’m more productive, in less time, with more structure and more direction’.

Several participants went on to say that they’d literally reversed their reputation from ‘negative and problem focused’ to ‘positive, idea generating and solution focused’. For some, this transformed their career by reconnecting them fully with the business.

They wouldn’t have engaged at this level if the initial rapport-bonding opportunities hadn’t been attended to. If an external provider is going to enter a work environment, staff must see that provider make an effort to be an insider at an appropriate level.

Noel Posus - Master Program Coach, DeakinCo