This leading UK manufacturer of vitamins and food supplements had been through a
prolonged period of operational cost cutting including redundancies and organisational
change. During this period WBS had already been retained to provide management
training for the newly promoted Team Leaders and subsequently for the also newly
promoted Crew Leaders.
As the Team and Crew Leaders had settled into their new roles, the operational
management team took up the suggestion from WBS that they as a senior management
team engaged in a team coaching programme with a view to understanding and
reducing tension within the team and to agree a purpose and direction for the team.
The Management Team consisted of four highly skilled, motivated, and successful
individuals who are all aligned with the operational goals in their daily duties.
Each team member was very experienced in their specialist field and had varying degrees
of experience of being a senior manager and of being part of a management team.
There was a high degree of openness amongst the team and everyone was aware of the
current issues which express themselves in various ways including erratic communication
within and outside the team and inadequate co-ordination and planning of activities.
The management team in its current composition was fairly newly established and there
were signs that the team had not yet completely gelled.
WBS created a coaching programme designed to get maximum value from a limited
budget. Four days over a duration of two months were spent on two one-day team
workshops and two individual coaching sessions of 90 minutes each.
It was important to give the four managers attention both as a team and as individuals in
order to raise communal and personal awareness about the team’s behaviour and how the
team was perceived by the shop floor and the rest of the organisation.
The first workshop focussed on the current state of the team and managed very successfully
to identify the pressure points as well as their root causes. The team was guided
through a self evaluation process. This included techniques such as Belbin team types,
the WBS 360º competency assessment, a SWOT exercise and a summarising gap
analysis. Further insight was derived from psychometric testing performed on a previous
occasion by HR and through open and frank debate.
The WBS coach summarised the day into a document which would form the basis for the
agenda for the second workshop. A list of immediate actions was drawn up for each
After the first workshop each manager had two confidential one-to-one coaching sessions
three weeks apart to allow for implementation and practice of actions resulting from the
The second workshop focussed on what could be done to move the team towards its
desired future state and how the many strengths within the team could be used effectively. The team designed and agreed the necessary strategies and tactics and an action plan
was drawn up.
The coaching programme gave each manager an increased level of awareness of their
individual and team behaviours and attitudes. The team realised how they could channel
their impressive set of strengths and skills into constructive actions and behaviours. Having clearly identified each manager’s roles and responsibilities the team gained greater
appreciation and respect for each other. This reduced tension within the team, improved
communication internally and externally and made the team appear united.
The team had committed itself to a series of actions that would improve how the team
worked internally and how it behaved in front of the shop floor and the rest of the
organisation. These included clear communication lines and plans. Regular, relevant, and
short meetings internally and with the shop floor helped enforce the desired one-team one-
Six months after the end of the coaching programme the new behaviours and practices
were still being maintained and the management team were receiving positive feedback
from the shop floor and other parts of the organisation.