A Framework for Better Coaching

When Patricia Woertz became CEO in 2006, she hired Mike D’Ambrose as senior vice president of human resources to help institute a formal performance management process focused on communication, collaboration and transparency.

Like many companies, Archer Daniels Midland’s managers struggled to provide coaching and feedback without specific development goals. The business adopted a coaching and development model and created Coaching to Win, an eight-week program designed to strengthen managers’ coaching skills.

Participation in the class is optional and open to any employee who has a direct report or a leadership role. By not making the program mandatory, the company organically grew interest to the point where employees must be placed on a waiting list before enrolling.

Coaching to Win includes three steps: preparing, engaging and sustaining. To prepare, individuals enrolled in the course identify one employee they will coach during the two-month program. Participants also take two self-assessments to determine their behavioral style and coaching skill level and participate in an introductory conference call.

To enhance engagement, participants meet for a one-day workshop to go over the Archer Daniels Midland coaching model and practice giving feedback. For the remaining month and a half, they work to coach the employee they’ve been paired with as well as write weekly journal entries and join on follow-up conference calls.

“It’s not a single dump of information, but instead something they begin to integrate into behaviors,” said Stacia Sherman Garr, principal at Bersin & Associates.

All employees who take the class receive a monthly newsletter and the opportunity to participate in webinars to keep their feedback skills fresh.

According to a Bersin & Associates case study, 98 percent of participants said Coaching to Win will show a measurable difference in their team’s productivity, with improvements in communication and team structure.