Performance Management and Coaching: Financial Services

Creating a Coaching Culture at a Financial Services Firm

Client Case Study

Situation

An industry leader in the real estate investment market was looking for an innovative approach to improve performance, engage employees, and reinforce the unique culture it had built over the last decade.

The company felt that the discipline of coaching exemplified the approaches, perspectives, and behaviors they wanted their managers and executives to demonstrate in their employee interactions.  They also wanted to create an intrinsically motivating work environment to drive engagement and performance.

The overall goal was to create a company-wide coaching environment and to implement effective performance management systems that would be embraced and consistently used by employees, managers and executives. There were 6 key project principles:

  1. Culture: Develop a solution that supports and fosters the company’s culture
  2. Empowerment: Empower managers to be true facilitators of employee development
  3. Support: Provide employees with information and tools to take ownership of their performance
  4. Simplify: Eradicate the dreaded, annual (bi-annual) performance review
  5. Accountability: Shift ownership for employee development from HR to executive and manager teams
  6. Learning Organization: Instill continuous learning and improvement to allow the system to evolve as needed

Complications

  • Relevance: Recognizing that investment institutions rarely have employee development as a top priority
  • Skepticism: Starting on the heels of a prior coaching development initiative that received mixed reviews while overcoming the “flavor of the month” reaction by all employees
  • Executive Support: Getting buy-in from all managers and executives

  • Change: Letting go of long-standing, traditional metrics

Approach

The overall approach of this initiative was to build a coaching, performance measurement, and evaluation system designed by and for the people that would be using it—executives, managers, and individual contributors.

People at all levels were engaged in a collaborative and iterative design process that produced a performance coaching system that would work for their specific needs and environment. The approach also focused on providing a high level of transparency in the change process and in each aspect of development for the new processes and systems. Developing and implementing the new approach included the following 6 components:

1.  Assessment: 

To ensure the initiative would be successful, we reviewed the existing performance systems, processes, and tools to determine what supported a coaching environment and the company culture and what did not. A cultural survey was used to assess employee satisfaction, values alignment, and potential barriers to success. The assessment surfaced a number of key issues that could pose potential barriers to success, including:

  • Dissatisfaction with the current performance appraisal system, the existing 360°, and the overall strategic initiative management processes
  • The perception that the current Performance Measurement and evaluation systems were subjective and unfair

Based on the assessment findings, the company expanded the initiative to encompass the following additional components: Greater focus and feedback on employee satisfaction, goal development and goal management, performance measurement and metrics, performance analysis, developing training and an automated platform to facilitate the above areas and aligning compensation with coaching and performance objectives

This broadened and integrated perspective became known as AMPS – which stands for Assessment, Motivation, and Performance System. It is a process for facilitating manager and employee interactions, setting successful goals, coaching, and motivating. AMPS focuses on ensuring that employees have clear, achievable, and understood goals while helping to facilitate conversations between managers and employees.

Approach (cont)

2. Coaching

Executive coaching started at the beginning of the project and focused on a simple and engaging process for executives to coach their direct reports and model the desired behaviors. Coaching then expanded down through the organization to both Directors and Managers to create alignment and pull-through.

3. AMPS System

AMPS also spawned a server-based technology platform that manages a 360° assessment, goal development, and a simple performance management process. The system uses a dashboard that both managers and employees access to track goal progress and completion. The dashboard design was based on input from management regarding use and functionality. The final version only contains features used and valued by management. The AMPS system provides the ability to:

  • Create, track, edit, and evaluate goals on a weekly basis
  • Build performance evaluation consistency for employees through detailed expectations
  • Drive regularly scheduled conversations between managers and employees
  • Track AMPS Conversations (what we call coaching conversations) between manager and employee
  • Use a dashboard to access all aspects of the performance system
  • Have users maintain the system

4. 360 Evaluation

  1. The company collaboratively worked together to create a new set of values and cultural standards that best represented the organization both in reality and aspiration
  2. A Values 360 Assessment was created using the values definitions created with the management team and employees
  3. A widely validated motivation model was incorporated into the 360
  4. A company-specific coaching model was developed to use with the 360 assessment

5. Training

From a development perspective, we focused on two key areas to ensure adoption.

  1. We worked one-on-one with the executive team and management to help them to better coach and support their employees
  2. We created AMPS Tools and techniques to help employees and managers effectively use the AMPS System and fully integrate it into their company culture

6. Compensation

To ensure accountability and reinforcement, we tightly tied AMPS performance measurement to individual performance bonuses. The weighting was follows.

  • 40% for performance goals (day-to-day responsibilities)
  • 30% from personal development goals (reflecting career paths, gaps in skills, or growth opportunities)
  • 30% from the Values 360 Assessment delivered twice a year

Results

In twenty four months:

  • 100% adoption of new process and tools
  • 80% high quality goals
  • 85% of employees hit their goals
  • 95% of employees are now performing above standard on the Values 360 Assessment

Related Information

We signed up with LSA early on–as their 22nd Member! Since then, our organization’s learning needs have increased and decreased and increased again with the changing times. The beauty of the LSA business model is its flexibility…when we needed to supplement our own internal resources, we used LSA services knowing that we could depend on the outstanding quality of the leadership development and management training programs they provide.

Margie Bunting
HR Manager

I continue to be impressed by the level of leadership development and management expertise and quality of advice and facilitation that LSA has to offer. What a smart and client-centric group of great people who really know how to help leaders attract, engage, develop and retain top talent.

Tracy Esposito
Director, HR Business Partner

As a high growth digital marketing agency with cutting edge talent, we hired LSA Global to help clarify our strategy and work with our executive leadership team to help implement strategic changes in a way that made sense for our unique culture. The work was so successful that we also hired them to coach our key leaders. LSA has been instrumental in helping us transition to a new leadership team and triple revenue. In this age of useless consultants, I highly recommend their practical and business-oriented approach to strategy, culture and talent.

David Bentley
General Manager

AKQA

We have had a very beneficial partnership with LSA for over 2 years. The recent Leadership Development Program that they designed and customized with us to help us identify, develop, and retain top leaders in the organization was a huge success. It was instrumental in helping take our company and our key people to the next level. I would recommend their training and consulting services to anyone looking to develop and retain top talent.

Steve Janowsky
Vice President of Operations

Proxicom

LSA’s approach has certainly brought value to Knight Ridder Digital. They were laser focused on our goal and determined to meet all of our Leadership development program needs. Their flexibility and commitment were keys in making our program successful.

Dipik Rai
Director of Marketing

Thank you for a great leadership development session today. The facilitator was brilliant, and we really enjoyed his style and personality. The sales team got a lot out of it (as did I). I believe it will help us create an even higher performance environment by ensuring we have a common understanding of our environmental structure and are all working towards the same goals.

Simon Jefferson
Managing Director

AKQA

After a difficult search to find a partner that could address a very specific leadership development need, we chose LSA Global. They were responsive to our needs and created a solution that we continue to see results from. It is nice to know we have access to their expertise with a simple phone call.

Valerie Blackburn
Director of Business Operations

“We turned to LSA to help us custom design and deliver a leadership and management development curriculum to help drive performance. They have done an excellent job diagnosing the business situation, designing an approach that fits our culture, and delivering a first class solution.”

Sally Buchannan
VP Human Resources

The action-learning leadership project has been very beneficial to me, our leadership team, and the entire organization. The balance of development and results has been excellent. We have made huge progress, and I was also able to identify 2-3 high potentials while having the extra benefit of people stepping up to carry strategic projects forward. The Staff is very appreciative and has become very comfortable with both the program and the process. It is still going better than anticipated, and I have been very pleased.

Heather Feltman
President & CEO

LSS

We consistently receive positive feedback about the quality of the LSA Leadership Training Programs and LSA facilitators. We recognize and appreciate the hard work LSA always goes through to align to our unique culture and meet our specific requirements. Thank you for regularly going above and beyond to design solutions to meet our needs. Your support and dedication, both on the strategic and tactical side, have been outstanding!

Anna Meyer
Leadership Development

Intuit

We selected LSA Global over 5 other companies to help our key executives improve their overall communication and executive presentation capabilities. LSA exceeded our expectations. Everyone had a great experience and are now incorporating the lessons into their teams. I highly recommend LSA to any executive team looking to better organize and more effectively deliver key executive-level messages when the stakes are high.

Todd Power
Office of the CEO

We value our relationship with LSA Global. They focus on understanding our business situation and helping us succeed. LSA continues to deliver top quality consulting and leadership solutions that are highly customized for our business and culture. I would highly recommend LSA Global as a top quality resource to anyone looking to greatly improve the skills of their leadership, management, and project teams.

Bonnie S. Olson
Vice President of Human Resources

LSS

We partnered with LSA Global to help us invest in our people. LSA designed a modular and customized management curriculum that allows us to deliver top quality solutions to our managers and leaders. We consider LSA to be our learning and development partner and our LSA consultants to be an extension of our team.

Lisa Bruun
SVP Human Resources

Ellie Mae

LSA Global has been a great partner in helping ServiceSource move toward its Vision of being “the leading developer of talent in the service performance management industry.” I have engaged LSA’s services to help develop best-in-class programs in the areas of: Executive On-boarding, Manager Training, Sales Training, Employee Engagement and Instructional Design. They have consistently met or exceeded my (very) high expectations and are always responsive to my needs.

Mike Normant
Senior Director, Training & Development

Service Source

The customized leadership styles and coaching program was the best training that I have ever attended. The facilitators were phenomenal. They have a wealth of experience and knowledge coupled with compassionate and caring styles. I’d highly recommend this leadership training program to any manager, director, or executive looking for a life changing leadership program.

Shoaleh Ghaffari
Director, HR

Cutera

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