The International Coach Federation (ICF) awarded GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) headquartered in the United Kingdom the 2016 ICF International Prism Award.
The Prism Award program honors organizations that have achieved the highest standard of excellence in coaching programs that yield discernible and measurable positive impacts, fulfill rigorous professional standards, address key strategic goals, and shape organizational culture. The organization has seen a $66 million USD return on investment from its coaching initiative.
Prior to 2010, GSK’s use of coaching was reactive, with spiraling costs and dispersed and limited accountability. Leaders realized they needed to make a change in order to attract, develop and retain talent that has the confidence and skills to challenge the status quo and make change happen. The organization reoriented coaching as a strategic tool in the transformation and success of its business. Coaching is now integral to GSK’s talent, leadership and organizational development strategy.
Since GSK wanted to make its coaching offering a truly global initiative, the organization looked to ICF as a model for consistent standards and ethics in coaching across all regions of the world. One of the first priorities was to build an internal coaching structure to ensure high standards across the global organization. The Coaching Centre of Excellence (CoE) was created. The CoE standardizes coaching globally throughout the organization by improving access, ensuring quality and efficiency, and creatively containing costs. It is a selffunded unit without a direct budget from GSK; rather, all coaching costs are charged to the business units using coaches’ services.
GSK’s coaching structure is a mixed-modality model, including more than 200 external coach practitioners, 1,000 internal coach practitioners and 16,000 managers/ leaders using coaching skills. All external and internal Executive Coaches are credentialed; most through ICF.
“There are a lot of huge ripple effects that happen as a result of coaching in terms of empowerment, in terms of satisfaction, but also in terms of leadership effectiveness,” Sally Bonneywell, vice president of coaching for GSK, explains. “I do recommend people to do it, with caution, making sure they use credible ICF Core Competencies, making sure they have credentialed coaches and set the standards, but also with the encouragement of senior leaders. The sponsorship of the very senior leaders and our corporate executive team is so very important.”