The following story was told by Tara Jones, account director at Lane4 Management, a consultancy specializing in organizational performance, leadership development, and executive coaching.

Client: A global digital advertising platform provider.

Problem: The company's sales management population lacked coaching skills.

Cause: In the fast-paced sales environment, managers felt that they didn't have the time to coach their employees. Sales professionals managed their direct reports by telling them what to do, rather than training them to handle sales situations and customers on their own. The managers identified their need for coaching skills training, and a needs assessment confirmed this feedback.

Methods/Tools: Lane4 worked with the client's learning and development team to create a global coaching skills training program. Lane4 painted an idyllic view of a coaching culture for the client, and the learning and development team adapted the strategy for its organization's unique culture. From this vision, the team created the program's specific objectives.

The comprehensive 12-month program consisted of training skills workshops on coaching for sales performance, peer action-learning support groups to increase learning and behavior change, and one-on-one coaching sessions with Lane4 coaches who showed participants how to put the skills to practice. This cycle was then repeated.

The program ended with Lane4 staff observing managers during real-life coaching sessions, assessing the managers' skills mastery, and providing a portfolio that documented program experiences and competencies learned. Additionally, participants completed 360-degree assessments before and after the program to measure how their coaching skills and behaviors changed over the 12 months.

End Results/Solution: According to the final 360-degree feedback, nearly 71 percent of managers, peers, and direct reports across all regions rated the sales managers as showing marked improvement in all coaching behaviors. Post-program interviews showed evidence that the program met its major objectives, thereby positively affecting the organization's bottom line. The program was flexible enough to meet the needs of the many different cultures (from the United States to Norway, Argentina to Japan, and Italy to Australia) and people groups that participated, making it the company's first successful global initiative.