“When you’re working with other professionals in your industry, you all have common problems and similar ideas. To have that displaced and disrupted is great. Doing the programme with young people is the right way of doing it because you’re challenged a lot more.”
Innocent Drinks started with a simple mission: to make drinks that make it easy to do yourself some good. Owned by Coca-Cola, the company started in 1999 with a primary focus on smoothies, before expanding to juices, coconut water, alternative milks and healthy fizzy drinks.
The company aims to show that it’s possible to build a successful business that has a positive impact on the world; as well as being committed to sustainability, diversity and inclusion, they also donate to charities and social-impact initiatives. With its products now available in over 30 different countries, the team has expanded from 3 to 700 people across Europe.
Finding new approaches to leadership
Innocent invests heavily in its team's development, and while they had previously taken part in various leadership programmes, they decided to join Circl to upskill their managers' coaching abilities. A key business priority was improving decision-making throughout the organisation, and they recognised coaching as a way to improve individual confidence in that area.
While the participants had some experience of coaching, they wanted to deepen their knowledge in a practical environment that would allow them to build experience. The team also loved the socially-conscious element of Circl’s programme that linked them to their local community; it aligned perfectly with the business values and approach.
“I was hoping to get a better understanding of coaching and get experience putting those skills into practice. I wanted to be able to take what I learned back to my team to improve their decision-making and empower them to do the coaching process on their own.”
John Taylor - UK Commercial Director
Putting coaching skills to practice
During the programme, Circl worked with Innocent to provide 11 employees from its management team with a new approach to leadership. The Innocent employees took part in a mixture of theory and practical sessions, where they learned the differences between coaching and mentoring and how to apply coaching within the workplace. They were then paired with a talented student from a disadvantaged background for 1-1 sessions, where they could immediately put into practice the theory that they were learning while also experiencing being coached themselves.
The participants found this way of working extremely useful and reaped the benefits of working with young adults, as opposed to other professionals. Being able to experience a perspective unlike their own, meant that they were stimulated by the challenge and presented with unique viewpoints to their problems. It also provided them with the one-off opportunity to hone their coaching skills week after week and see the results through the growth of their Future Leader partners.
Alongside the practical coaching element, the group enjoyed the tools and techniques that they were able to take back to the office with them. Being taught memorable methods such as the TGROW Model enabled them to help other junior members on the team and gave them more confidence approaching work problems.
Improving confidence across the team
Following the programme, 90% of the Innocent participants reported that they felt more confident in their coaching abilities. As a result, leadership and communication has improved across the team. All of the managers noticed a significant improvement in their direct reports who took part in the Circl programme, especially within their work performance.
Senior members have also reported feeling that they’re able to better support their team through coaching and feel more confident delegating tasks to provide learning opportunities. On the flipside, junior members who took part in the programme have felt more comfortable leading and facilitating discussions with middle/senior management. As a result, they’ve seen better work alignment and clearer desired outcomes.
Overall it was an extremely positive and rewarding experience; as well as proving to be beneficial for the workplace, all of the professionals noticed the positive impact the programme had on the Future Leaders they partnered with.
“I’ve learnt some really useful tools and techniques that are easy to remember. The TGROW model is something I’ll use a lot going forward. It’s given me confidence to work through problems with other people that I don’t know the answer to. I can now enable them to get to the answer themselves.”
John Taylor - UK Commercial Director