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The Leader as a Coach
To develop leaders consistently and globally, W.W. Grainger Inc. delivers shared coaching expectations, a common coaching language and tools, and higher goal attainment.
To accelerate growth, industrial supply distributor W.W. Grainger Inc.’s senior executives knew the company needed to evolve its culture from conservative to agile, from U.S.-centric to global and from departmental silos to cross-functional collaboration.To help meet this challenge, in 2008 the company identified five performance drivers that defined the behaviors needed for success: wow the customer; make the team better; have a winning attitude; drive for best results; and have leaders who lead the way and build teams. Through member feedback and discussions with leaders, Grainger senior leaders identified front-line managers as the strongest drivers for team member engagement and discretionary effort. In 2009, the company launched “Leader as Coach,” a five-part leadership development program that helped prepare managers to align their teams to company goals — the “what” — and the performance drivers — the “how.”During the last three years, more than 1,900 of Grainger’s leaders around the world have participated in the 10-day interactive, leader-led curriculum. The program has helped increase engagement levels for the company’s 21,000 team members and enhance their performance. Not only have existing leaders participated, but new managers participate within their first six to 12 months on the job. Developing the Program
The Leader as Coach program delivers shared expectations around coaching for all leaders, a common coaching language and tools, and higher goal attainment over the course of the program. To achieve this, it provides leaders with tools to enhance self-awareness, improve listening and enhance feedback conversations to enrich performance. To ensure the program was applicable to Grainger team members, the learning and development team relied on external talent development and coaching experts, engagement surveys and industry research and benchmarking with other Fortune 500 companies through on-site visits and program evaluations. The team also interviewed Grainger senior executives and a cross-section of other leaders throughout the organization — selected based on their reputation for great coaching — to understand the program’s expectations and desired outcomes.
Microlearning — Size DOES Matter
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