Using 'Operational Coaching' to Drive Ownership and Responsibility for Business Performance

Using 'Operational Coaching' to Drive Ownership and Responsibility for Business Performance
Using 'Operational Coaching' to Drive Ownership and Responsibility for Business Performance

The Background

Scott Bader is a global chemical company and a pioneer of the future of chemistry. Employing 700 people across 7 manufacturing sites and sales offices, their goal is to make a positive difference to all the businesses they serve and to every life they touch. In 1951 owner Ernest Bader handed over ownership to the employees and now all of the company shares are held in trust. Notion’s challenge was to help Scott Bader to develop a coaching culture that delivered higher levels of ownership and responsibility for business performance. To date the programme has recorded benefits on many levels including measurable commercial returns in excess of £500,000.


  • Senior sponsorship

  • Operational Coaching training using the STAR® Model (locally and internationally)

  • Confidence to tackle performance management

  • Better and more localised decision making and action

  • A unified way of managing others (using a coaching approach)

  • Employees stepping up to take on accountability

In The Words of Scott Bader

Katie Bates, HR Business Partner, explains how coaching has helped people to take ownership and responsibility for driving the organisation forward.

We are a bit different! We are employee owned so having high engagement and motivation is crucial in terms of the strategic direction of the organisation. Our vision is to encourage colleagues to take ownership, so they really own the decisions and the responsibility of driving the organisation and themselves as an individual forward. We wanted to create a culture that would enable us to be the organisation that we aspire to be: an organisation where decisions are taken at the lowest possible level; where positive and empowering discussion takes place between all our colleagues and employees; where exceptional feedback encourages learning and growth throughout the whole organisation.

One method that we used to get higher levels of motivation and ownership within the organisation was ‘Operational Coaching’ using Notion’s STAR® Model. We are at the beginning of our journey in terms of change and so we decided to start at the executive level to let people see that coaching was being led by example. We started to deliver coaching training and cascaded it down throughout the organisation. We also incorporated a programme of on-going support which was driven by ourselves and by Notion as well. In our discussion groups, facilitated by Notion, we share our success stories and we give feedback on coaching.

There have been challenges. The initial two day coaching session delivered by Notion for our senior leadership and executive team was met with a bit of scepticism, especially in terms of length and cost to the business. However, after speaking with managers after the training, we were really surprised and really pleased that we had comments such as: “I have been proven wrong over the last few days,” and, “I really liked it - it was different.” There was also a belief within our organisation that our managers were already coaching and through the coaching training delivered by Notion, it actually transpired that they were mentoring and actually telling people what to do. So that was a transformational moment for a lot of people who attended the course.

We are in the final stages of implementing coaching training for managers and leaders, not just in the UK, but also in Dubai, South Africa, Croatia and France - which Notion has delivered in their local language.

The Results

We are now beginning to see examples of ‘Operational Coaching’ having an impact on the business. One example is where our coaching techniques helped to save the organisation over £200,000 as a result of a colleague feeling empowered to have a better conversation and actually eek-out and unleash the potential that was within themselves and their team.

We’ve also had examples of coaching being used by our sales managers to better understand their customer needs.

Even at the executive level we have seen change. Whilst the executive team has always been questioning of each other, their questioning techniques have changed and they are more enquiry-led. They now ask thoughtful questions because they genuinely want to hear the answers.

Now, we are also in a much better position to move away from performance ratings in our appraisal process. The coaching approach has really helped managers to have really good quality conversations that reduce their reliance on a scientific performance ratings led approach. Being able to roll this out is a direct result of our managers now being able to have better quality discussions.

What Delegates Have Said



Notion is a global expert in behaviour change. For more information about how we can help you to improve business performance by driving ownership and responsibility in your organisation, visit us by clicking here or call us for an informal chat on +44(0)1926 889 885.

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