Investing in high potentials to prepare them for future leadership roles

  • Ezra
  • October 6th, 2020
thomson-reuters

The Challenge

Thomson Reuters was looking for a way of complimenting a robust internal curriculum that was attempting to build bench strength for critical leadership positions.

Our Program

Working closely with Thomson Reuters leaders, Ezra helped design a virtual coaching program for 120 high-potential leaders across a broad array of positions and demographics, from the frontline to vice president level.

My coaching has changed my life. I am forever grateful for their candid and positive approach.

Thomson Reuters had utilized “Ways of Working” to develop the leaders of today and for the future. To augment this program, the company added virtual coaching for 120 high-potential leaders across a broad array of positions and demographics. This was the beginning of “Leading Growth.”

To ensure Leading Growth was fully aligned, Ezra worked closely with Thomson Reuters to learn and apply the principles of Ways of Working. This advance work allowed Ezra to gain a more complete understanding of the company’s customers and business strategy. This was necessary to ensure all virtual coaching sessions were fully focused on Thomson Reuter’s leadership culture. And to help ease the high-potentials into the program; none had been through a coaching experience before Leading Growth.

Getting Deep into the Thomson Reuters Culture: The Ezra team got to work weeks in advance of the launch of Leading Growth to learn and absorb Ways of Working, the Thomson Reuters internal leadership development program. The spadework allowed Ezra to gain a deeper understanding of the company’s customers and business strategies, insights that would inform the coaches that would be matched with Thomson Reuters leaders.

The pre-Christmas Launch: Thomson Reuters launched the initial virtual coaching program in mid-December 2019 with a three-day meeting at its Toronto head office, with all high-potential candidates in attendance. Many of the company’s senior-most leaders spoke at length about their career journeys and why it was important to learn the company’s specific approach to leadership. After the launch, candidates were provided with Ezra program packages and asked to identify the leadership skills they wanted to improve.

Uncertainty and Expectations: There was some uncertainty expressed around the launch of the coaching program, given that it was presented to the high-potential leadership group just two weeks before the Holiday season triggered a pause in the business world. Those fears were, however, largely unfounded as more than two-thirds of the cohort registered for one of two major streams of virtual coaching. Participants were offered unlimited virtual coaching over a three-month period, or four sessions over the quarter. In providing two options, it was felt there was a higher chance of uptake the greatest number of candidates.

A fortunate coincidence: The launch of Leading Growth came just a few weeks before COVID-19 reared its head and plunged the world into a period of unprecedented uncertainty. For the leaders involved in the program, it was a perfect, fortunate coincidence: individual support at a time when individual leaders were facing unprecedented stress and challenges. Not surprisingly, uptake on the unlimited model was definitive proof that Ezra had arrived just in time: unlimited participants took advantage of an average of 7.7 sessions in those first three months; the fixed allotment resulted in 3.6 sessions.

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The Results and Impact

91%

Adoption rate across the program

4.9

Participants rated their coaches at a 4.9/5 average

93%

of participants rated their sessions 5/5 – for their coach, quality and contribution to development

The Outcome

After three months of coaching, 96% of participants chose to extend their program for 6 months based on their initial experience.

As for participants, the coach and app ratings certainly speak for themselves. Many acknowledged that while there were sceptical about the process of coaching at the outset of the program, they quickly grasped both the “value and impact.”

It is often among the highest compliments that Ezra can receive when participants express some measure of regret that a coaching engagement has come to end. “I will miss my time with my coach,” said one participant. “They are a fantastic coach. Left me with some great parting words of wisdom that I will not forget.”

It’s important to remember that while coaching is focused on professional goals, the impact can be deeply personal. Many participants in the Thomson Reuters program discovered how coaching can have a deep emotional impact on their working and personal lives.

96%
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Laura Miller

Talent & Development Manager at Thomson Reuters

Leading Growth at Thomson Reuters with Ezra

Ezra provided an opportunity for our Leading Growth participants to dedicate time to personal development through virtual coaching. The ease of connection and trusted relationships between coaches and participants has been a valued component of our program.

Sustained Learning for High-Potential Leaders

Across the board, the coaches involved in the Thomson Reuters program found that participants were “engaged, consistent and highly insightful.” The client organization saw tangible growth in skills among the participants. Overall, the attitude of participants was very positive, particularly when it came to the ways in which the company addressed the COVID-19 crisis.

“Thomson Reuter’s participants are very positive and highly insightful,” according to one coach. “Once they were able to see and make connections on how to develop, they moved forward to make shifts and changes.”

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