The Sandvik global leadership programme wanted to combine the expertise of professional consultants and in-house personnel. The leadership programme was started in autumn 2012. Pilot projects for the company’s international SGL coaching were started first in Finland the immediately thereafter in China. The goal was to use the same programme with international resources in every country where the company has operations.
A representative from the organisation brings the organisation’s own culture, leadership principles and tools to the coaching. When I lead coachings alone, reflecting on the company is left primarily to the group being coached. Through collaboration, the organisation’s own substance is more clearly highlighted, says Humap’s Organisation Consultant Eeva-Liisa Vihinen.
In Finland, in addition to Vihinen, Innoteam’s Pertti Helminen serves in a consultant’s role.
From our standpoint it is important that an outside consultant also take part in coachings. It is easier to step into the coach’s role with another’s support and expertise,” says Sandvik Finland’s Human Resources Manager Liisa Siikakoski.
With an outside consultant it is easier to detach yourself from your own Sandvik role, and coaching no longer sounds like simply internal Sandvik-talk, says Sandvik’s Pasi Järvenpää, who has also worked with consultants to lead coachings.
The team has found the coaching pair to be splendid. Even if we could handle coachings with our own people, different coaching roles and backgrounds bring added value and depth to training. According to Järvenpää and Sandvik’s Saija Kuusisto-Lancaster, on their own they could only present issues superficially.
The group being coached is interested in theory and asks a lot of questions. We do not have the substance for presenting theoretical background. We can share our own examples, but Eeva-Liisa and Pertti provide broader information through experience and research, the duo says.
The programme planned at the company was not created solely for conceptualising theoretical models. Instead, coaching is tied to the company’s world. The goal is for each manager to own Sandvik’s leadership model and operating methods in a collective One Sandvik spirit.
When coaches in different roles take part, we feel strongly that this is our story! To an extent it is also a question of resources. Under no circumstances do we want to withdraw from coaching and leave all the work to consultants. This is our story – an important collective learning journey.
Professional coaches are most often hired to provide existing prepared entireties, which are moulded in collaboration with the customer to be appropriate for the organisation. When coaching is based on a concept prepared by a customer and coaches are carefully trained to implement it, experts are faced with a new kind of role.
In this type of coaching you need to keep your ears and eyes open even more than usual. You need to be ready to experience and live collective coaching moments. Now I am not bringing my own substance into the game in the same way, but rather am living Sandvik’s model and operating according to it, Helminen explains.
I feel there is somehow an opportunity to be on a completely different level when serving the customer, Vihinen continues.
Professional trainer and lay preacher – that seems to make a good team! says Järvenpää.
According to Siikakoski, from the viewpoint of the organisation the role of consultants in the collective process is significant.
We have to find the right types of people, who fit in with our personnel. We have our own value path, so it is important for the coaches to be suited for it in style, presentation and background thinking. Even if you speak without using big words, there is no such thing as value-independent speech. Everyone needs to believe in the model that will be collectively implemented, says Siikakoski.