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Energy firm expects 18-fold return after creating coaching culture among staff

PUBLISHED: 09:53 15 January 2016 | UPDATED: 09:53 15 January 2016

Jan Bowen-Nielsen of Quiver Management with Zsuzsanna Kispal and Matthew Gray of Corona Energy

Jan Bowen-Nielsen of Quiver Management with Zsuzsanna Kispal and Matthew Gray of Corona Energy

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A major Tetbury based energy supplier is on track for an 18-fold return after investing in building a coaching culture throughout its team of 170 staff.

Since October 2014, Corona Energy has worked with coaching firm Quiver Management to create behavioural shift throughout the company. In the pioneering programme, coaching and mentoring training has been extended across all management and also throughout front-line and support staff.

Investing £41k in training from Tetbury-based Quiver Management resulted in £200k generated by non-sales staff in the six months after the programme, through a more proactive customer focus. And the company is on target to achieve a highly ambitious target of £750k in gross margin from new recurring business generated by non-sales staff.

Jan Bowen-Nielsen, managing director of Quiver Management, said: “Creating a coaching culture at Corona Energy has had an astonishingly positive effect.”

Based in north London, Corona Energy is a leading independent energy supplier to UK businesses and public sector clients, delivering 11 per cent of the industrial and commercial gas market across 8,000 customers. The company is part of the Macquarie Group, the global provider of banking, advisory, trading, asset management and retail financial services. Corona Energy stands out from other energy suppliers through its focus on people. Everyone in Corona believes in “making a positive difference today” and the company has cores values of “Make it Happen”, “Play as a Team” and “Wow the Customer”.

The business has grown very successfully over the last five years with big improvements in operational excellence, relocation to larger premises in north London, the implementation of a new IT system and the addition of power to its historic offering of gas utility services. Corona Energy managing director Matthew Gray said: “We engaged Quiver Management because we wanted to take the business to the next level. To do that, the aim was to create a real behavioural shift in the company and positively contribute to the three pillars of our strategy – customers, people and shareholders.”

The training programme started with 10 senior leadership team members undertaking Quiver Management’s full Coaching and Mentoring for Leaders qualification course. Accredited by the European Mentoring and Coaching Council, the programme is designed for leaders looking to use coaching as part of their leadership style. It involves not only how to effectively conduct formal one-to-one coaching sessions, but also how to use coaching in day-to-day interaction with team members and colleagues to develop and improve their self-awareness, skills and performance.

The coaching training was then rolled out to all team leaders and deputy team leaders across Corona Energy, with some taking the full course and others studying a more concise version. In addition, a group of ten Customer Champions, all front-line staff, was created to coach and support both sales and non-sales staff in developing their customer services skills.

Standard practice in the Quiver Management course is for participants to run coaching sessions with three coachees, to improve competency and ensure new skills are embedded in the leaders’ habits. The design of the Corona programme was extended, so while the full qualification course participants were supported by the Quiver Management trainer, the rest of the trainee coaches were supported by senior leadership team members as they each coached three colleagues.

In effect this meant that with 56 coaches in training, each coaching three colleagues, every one of the 170 staff would receive coaching from a senior team member, team leader or colleague. Mr Bowen-Nielsen said: “It’s great to be working with a company which is so focused on the benefits of positive staff culture and recognises the genuine impact that such efforts can have. “For us, we are delighted to be so heavily involved in helping Corona Energy realise its potential. All too often coaching is something with which companies simply dip their toe in the water. But like anything, it’s something which works best when done properly and it has been enjoyable to have the opportunity to demonstrate how effective it can be.” Mr Gray said: “There is a very high level of commitment to the programme from the senior leadership team members.

“The progress of the coaching programme is reviewed and discussed at the senior leadership team’s weekly meetings. This involves not only reviewing progress in terms of numbers, but also a sharing of their personal experiences, what they are learning from the process and a celebration of successes.

“The results? A year later, the coaching training programme has proven highly successful with incredibly positive feedback from across the business, a behavioural shift towards more proactive customer focus and direct tangible improvements in business results.”

The improvements include:

• A more proactive customer focus

• 10 per cent increase in customer renewal figures

• Improved staff satisfaction and effectiveness

• Increased ownership and collaboration across teams

• On target to achieve £750k in gross margin from new recurring business generated by non-sales staff

• Coaching is part of the Corona Academy, which enables people to progress in their careers

Zsuzsanna Kispal, Head of HR at Corona Energy, said: “We started our coaching journey in October 2014 with the aim to increase our overall staff effectiveness across the business. We trained up all our senior managers and team leaders as coaches to bring out the best of our 170 staff.

“The feedback from the training has been incredibly positive and we could feel a real buzz and motivation around coaching from day one in all parts of the business. “Between October 2014 and April 2015 we have seen a significant tangible impact related to coaching, including increased ownership and collaboration across the teams. In terms of the bottom line, our renewal figures increased by 10 per cent and non-sales staff generated £200k of business in six months through a more proactive customer focus as a result of the behavioural shift. “Overall, coaching has not only impacted our staff satisfaction and effectiveness but also strengthened our relationship with our customers. We feel that, six months on, we have only scratched the surface of opportunities that coaching can offer to us.”

For more information on Quiver Management please visit www.quivermanagement.com

More information on Corona Energy can be found at www.coronaenergy.co.uk.

For further comment please contact Zsuzsanna Kispal on z.kispal@coronaenergy.co.uk.

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