Pharmaceutical firm goes global with coaching

Pharmaceutical company Kimberly-Clark is going international with its coaching – rolling out a common model across the global business as an integral part of its performance management process introduced late last year.

Introduction of the model followed a survey of the company’s top 80 managers on its leadership qualities, says Rick Woodward, learning and development director for Kimberly-Clark Europe. “Building talent was the area that, by their own admission, was their weakest. More than half said we’d value development in that area. We thought that must be true at team leader level too.”

“As a global organisation, we need to have international standards,” explains Woodward. “We have environmental standards, ethical standards, and we’re doing the same for people development. The danger if you don’t is people in some cultures never get developed and therefore never progress on the global stage, so you’re not very diverse.”

There are three elements to Kimberly-Clark’s global coaching model: assess and understand, which is about identifying opportunities to coach staff; challenge and discuss, ensuring leaders have the skills set to be effective coaches; and support on an ongoing basis.

The model is by no means prescriptive, says Woodward. It hasn’t been a case of simply designing it, then translating the material for each country. Delivery, too, has varied – for example, with consultants being used more in Europe than in Latin America. “It is about thinking global and acting local as well. We ask them to work with the model in a way that’s sensitive to their culture.”

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