Corona Energy is a leading independent energy supplier to UK businesses and public sector clients, delivering 11% of the Industrial and Commercial gas market across 8,000 customers. They are based in north London and have 170 staff. Corona Energy is part of the Macquarie Bank Group.
Corona Energy stands out from other energy suppliers through their focus on people. Everyone in Corona “believes in making a positive difference today” and their 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.
Taking the business to the next level
In 2014 Corona Energy engaged Quiver Management to help them create a coaching culture in the business with the goal of creating a real behavioural shift in the company and positively contributing to the three pillars of its strategy i.e. Customers, People and Shareholders.
Senior Leadership Team
The training programme commenced in October 2014 with the ten Senior Leadership Team members undertaking the full Coaching and Mentoring for Leaders qualification course.
The Coaching and Mentoring for Leaders course is Quiver Management’s EMCC accredited foundation level programme. This programme is specifically 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.
Team leaders and Customer Champions
The coaching training was then rolled out to all team leaders and deputy team leaders across Corona Energy. Thirteen of the team leaders had recently been nominated to attend Corona’s Business School and undertook the full qualification course. The rest undertook a 1-day intensive customised coaching training course.
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. A tailored 1-day coaching and feedback training programme was designed for this group using real-life phone recordings from the business.
It is standard, as part of the Coaching and Mentoring qualification course, that the participants undertake three coaching sessions with three coachees, together with reflection notes and two learning/supervision calls with the trainer. This approach is well-proven to improve the coaching competencies and also ensures that the coaching skills are embedded in the leaders’ daily work environment.
In the design of the Corona coaching training this approach was extended, so while the full qualification course participants would have support from the Quiver Management trainer, the rest of the trainee coaches would be supported by the 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.
Senior Leadership support
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 e.g. successfully receiving their qualification certificates.
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% increase in customer renewal figures
- Improved staff satisfaction and effectiveness
- Increased ownership and collaboration across teams
- Coaching has proven a great way to help people bringing the vision alive in a practical way
- On target to achieve a highly ambitious target of £750k in gross margin from new recurring business generated by non-sales staff (from a standing start)
- Coaching is now part of the Corona Academy, which enables people to grow and progress in their careers
“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% and non-sales staff generated £200K business in 6 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.”
Zsuzsanna Kispal, Head of HR, May 2015
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