The Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) has been criticized by the Financial Service Authority (FSA) for having one of the highest numbers of complaints from their customers and handling the complaints poorly. The poor standard of complaints handling with the bank was attributed to the lack of senior management involvement in the delivery of the complaint handling process, poor quality services by the staff handling the complaints and failure of the banks and their staff to learn from similar complaints handled. This criticism has led to the need of the banks to train and develop their staff in the customer care departments.
One of the human resource development methods that is rational and very applicable in the RBS group is the coaching method. It can either be external coaching whereby the bank group seeks the services of business coaches or internal coaching where the managers and senior employees with vast experience in complaints handling can coach the other employees. 1. 0 Introduction The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has taken a hard-line approach on banks after a review was carried out on the handling of customer complaints by banks and reported to the FSA (Cumbo & Goff, 2010).
As a result of the review, five banks among them the Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) have been implicated as having one of the highest numbers of complaints that were handled poorly. The Royal Bank of Scotland Group is a state owned banking and insurance holding company that has over 40 million customers worldwide over which, 25 million are in the UK (The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, n. d). It was founded in 1727 and has over 280 years of financial services experience. It has helped over 1 million small businesses that benefit from the Bank’s commitment and the availability of services.
It has an approach that makes sure that they understand each and every one of their customers. Despite the approach that they use that has been helping them over the years; the group was criticized by the FSA for poor customer service (BBC News Channel, 2010). The FSA has blamed the poor service to several factors such as a lack of interest by senior management and poor decision making. There were slow procedures that have been cited and poor investigations carried out by the banks on various complaints.
The review made and the criticism made by the FSA drew me to the needs that exist within the RBS group in the customer care department and more specifically in the complaint handling process. In the investigation and research that I have done through newspaper articles, books and journals, I have identified an approach that can be helpful in satisfying the need that exists within the organization. There are several interventions that the bank group can use that are human resource development based and that can help eliminate the problem that it is facing now.
Human resource development involves the use of career development, training and organization development to improve individual effectiveness. It is the framework that is used to help the employees develop themselves as they also help the organization. It includes opportunities such as employee training, employee career development, performance management, coaching, mentoring, succession planning, tuition assistance and other methods that lead to organizational development.
It focuses mostly on the superior workforce so that the organization can accomplish the goals that they have set for themselves and for the organization to serve their customers (Werner & DeSimone, 2008). These methods can be implemented to help the employees develop their skills and careers. The best method that can be used by the RBS is the coaching method to improve their customer care services. This report discusses the coaching method of human resource development and how it can be applied in the RBS group to intervene and solve the need that exists within the organization and improve the customer care services. 2. 0 Coaching
Coaching is one of the human resource development methods that are used today to develop the skills of employees in the business environment. It is the process where an employee gets support and positive feedback from a more qualified and experienced employee of a higher ranking. It is an excellent way to instill a certain behavior and skill to employees and offer leadership, team work, employee accountability, strategic planning all at the same time. It allows senior and more experienced employees to use their skills more efficiently and in a positive manner to develop the organizational culture and pass it on to the other employees.
Coaching is a day to day experience and is part of the daily interactions of the employees with there seniors and other workers. There are two major approaches that are used when it comes to business coaching (Shaw & Linnecar, 2007). 2. 1 The External Coach An external coach is an expert that is brought from outside the organization to work with the individuals in the organization that require coaching (Fairley & Zipp, 2007). The coach can either take individual sessions or group sessions with the employees.
The sessions may last about 1-2 hours a day, though there are other methods that are being used such as teleconferencing and the use of live chats through the internet, with the help of web cameras. The sessions are focused and specific time is set aside for the sessions to take place with an objective that is set by the coach to be attained at each session. There are advantages that come with this type of coaching. a) Advantages of external coaching The external coach is normally a professional with vast experience and knowledge in issues that the business and the employees need to handle.
The coach therefore brings in a vast perspective in the workplace from the knowledge he has from different work environments and overall knowledge from the business environment. The coach can therefore notice and make connections that other professionals in the business are not able to make since they are not apparent to them. The coach is able to influence the thinking of the employees and give them a broader perspective to think about (Shaw & Linnecar, 2007). The coach is able to focus greatly on the needs and wants of the business that is seeking the services that he is giving.
He is able to devote all his attention, time and thinking to the needs of the business and gets ways to find solutions to all of them. This leads to high energy and intensive coaching sessions with the employees that help produce significant results in a very short time. When carried out for a long time it leads to strong foundations for the employee development. The external coach is able to hold private and confidential sessions with the employees especially for the senior management employees.
This is particularly useful where there are sensitive issues to be discussed and personal information has to be provided. The employees may feel uncomfortable to give such details to other employees they work with, but they may be more comfortable sharing personal matters with an external coach. This leads to formation of resolutions without interference in other critical business processes (Shaw & Linnecar, 2007). The external coaches’ inmost cases do coaching as a profession and hence have a lot of training than the managers and other senior employees.
This is because they spend more time coaching business people on various issues. They are also specialists in the skill that the businesses and therefore have the knowledge and the skills that the businesses need. b) How it can be applied at RBS The management can use this method to solve the issues that are present in the group by hiring the services of an external coach in their various branches. There are various external coaches that exist within the UK. Some of them include Life star coaching, Integration training who are based in Brighton, Sussex and London among others.
These coaches are professionals and they use various training methods such as presentations, discussions, training workshops which can be organized within the work place and within the organization time schedule. 2. 2 The Internal Coach These are coaches that exist within the workplace or organization. They are mostly employees that are in managerial positions or those employees with vast experience in the business field (Fairley & Zipp, 2007). When managers are used as coaches, the coaching method is different from the leading command role that they play.
They tend to use more collaboration rather than being controlling. They delegate more responsibility and do more listening to the employees rather than talking. They take time to give feedback rather than judgment. They also tend to ask more questions to find out what the employees know and what they do not know. There are benefits that come from using managers and other senior employees as coaches. a) Advantages of Internal Coaches Internal coaches have the advantage of knowing the organization better and knowing the employees better since they work together (Fairley & Zipp, 2007).
They have long term relationships with the employees and they have the chance of knowing them better and understanding them. This can have an overall advantage of building a strong foundation between the employees and the managers. The relationship between them also leads to a more effective experience coaching. This knowledge can help in the coaching and training process as the manager knows the approaches he or she needs to use for each of the employees. The managers also know the areas that need to be looked into so they are able to focus on these areas more than others to get significant results.
The managers are able to have more time and hence more sessions with the employees since they are constantly interacting with them in everyday life and work experiences. They therefore have more opportunities with them to influence them more and they are not limited to sessions of several hours per day. There is therefore more time to get to learn and coach. The employees and the managers are also able to come up with a more flexible time plan that suits all of them and does not affect the work schedule of the organization and the output (Shaw & Linnecar, 2007).
The internal coaches also tend to have other advantages that come together with the coaching. The coaching allows for more interactions to take place at the work place and hence build working relationships within the employees. The employees therefore end up forming a more committed team and the individuals are able to assist each other as they learn. The atmosphere at the workplace also becomes friendlier and the employees tend to get genuinely motivated to perform better as the work becomes more satisfying. b) How it can be applied at RBS
The internal coaching can be implemented in RBS whereby the managers can coach the employees in the customer care departments on how they can improve their services and reduce the number of complaints that have been reported by the FAS. This can be more effective since the banks schedules will not get disrupted and the results that are needed can be obtained. The managers need to possess the skills that the employees and have the ability to teach the employees the same skills. 2. 3 Skills a coach must possess
For the coaching method to be effective and successful there are skills that need to be involved by the coach in the coaching process and the coach must possess them. The coaching process normally has a target it wants to achieve or a solution that it wants to solve. The coach needs to have the ability to show the employees well defined goals that are emotionally engaging. For the coach to do this he or she needs to have a goal setting skill so that he is able to teach it (Shaw & Linnecar, 2007). The coach can also use other skills such as looking to teach the employee.
This approach is sometimes overlooked but it is efficient and effective as a method of learning. Body language and other interactions between the employees and the way they do their work can be a good method to identify the problems and find solutions on how to solve them. Listening is also another skill that the coach can use to learn more from the employees and the problems they are facing. This is mainly the active listening instead of the passive learning that is just taking in what the employer is saying.
Active listening involves the coach actively engaging in the discussion and showing the employees that they have been given undivided attention (Fairley & Zipp, 2007). The coach can also empathize with the employees by listening and looking at the employees and develop a feeling for the employee’s emotional state. This ability is critical as the employees sometimes find it difficult to express themselves. By empathizing with the employees the coach is able to accept the employees the way they are, in their own terms and tune in to their emotions and thoughts.
The coach can also question the employees to learn them more and get the employees thinking. Questions are very useful and effective as they help the employee to think of new ideas and alternatives to a question that may be better than the current solution. 2. 4 Evaluation Framework After coaching has taken place, it can be evaluated to find out if the development method is successful and the goals that are needed are achieved. Evidence has to be gathered through various means such as questionnaires, observations and customer and clients’ reviews.
Various sources can provide the information that is required such as records of objectives and the coaching contract (Shaw & Linnecar, 2007). Personnel like the coaches and the mangers and other staff that are involved in the process both internally or externally, can also provide information that can be used to evaluate. A sample evaluation framework has been given in the Appendix. 2. 5 Cost of Coaching The cost of internal coaching is very minimal as the managers are the ones who do the coaching.
They may need some materials and equipment to do the coaching whether for the group or personal coaching sessions, but this material readily available and affordable. The cost of external coaching however is high and varies depending on what the client needs and the size of the organization. The average cost of business coaching in the UK lies between ? 50 and ? 500 or higher per session (LifeStar Coaching, n. d). The cost also depends on the length of commitment and the frequency of the sessions and other agreements made between the coach and the client.
The value of the service is however higher and is not comparable to the cost since the successes and improvements that the clients get from the coaching are really beneficial. 3. 0 Conclusion Coaching can have a very big impact on the improvement of performance among the workforce. It is highly focused and uses day to day realities in the work environment and there are one to one approaches that help target the specific needs of the individuals and the situation. It is also very flexible especially when done internally by the managers’ acting as coaches.
When cascaded throughout the organization and multiplied, the results can be felt in all the levels of the organization and the entire RBS group. The impact on the performance can then be very dramatic and significant. 4. 0 Recommendations Internal coaching is less expensive than the external coaching and has the advantage of the internal coaches having a better understanding of the organization and the business issues that are dynamic to the organization. On the other hand, they tend to have less coaching experience than the external coaches.
They may not be able to have a cross organizational perspective and they may therefore concentrate more on the areas they are well versed in. From my investigations and research of the RBS scenario, I would recommend the use of external coaches who have more experience and may perceive the needs of the bank group better. They may also be able to cut across all levels of the organization and coach the employees including those at managerial positions. References: BBC News Channel. (2010, February 25). Royal Bank of Scotland faces FSA inquiry on complaints.
Retrieved May 7, 2010, from BBC NEWS: http://news. bbc. co. uk/1/hi/business/8536967. stm Cumbo, J. , & Goff, S. (2010, April 29). LLoyds and RBS face complaints handling probe. Financial Times . Fairley, G. S. , & Zipp, B. (2007). The business coaching toolkit: top ten strategies for solving the toughest dilemmas facing organizations. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons. LifeStar Coaching. (n. d). Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved May 07, 2010, from LifeStar Coaching: http://www. lifestarcoaching. co. uk/faq/faq. htm Shaw, P. , & Linnecar, R. (2007).
Business Coaching: Achieving Practical Results Through Effective Engagement. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons. The Royal Bank of Scotland Group. (n. d). Our Global Network. Retrieved May 07, 2010, from RBS: http://www. rbs. com/about-rbs/g1/our-global-network. ashx Werner, J. M. , & DeSimone, R. L. (2008). Human Resource Development. New York: Cengage Learning. Appendix A Conversation transcript with a Coach from Life Star Coaching Me: Let me start of by asking about Life star coaching. Who are you and what do you do? Coach: Thank you for your interest in Life star Coaching.
We are a professional organization that was founded by Paul Owen who is also our director. We are made up of a highly dedicated and professional team of coaches with different expertise in various fields. Coaching is our passion and it is what drives us and motivates us. WE have a mission of forging powerful alliances and transforming our clients and help them change the world. We are a people of vision and we are also very enthusiastic about moving forward and making an impact in the lives of our clients and their businesses. Me: How do you carry out the coaching for big organizations?
Coach: Coaching takes time. We normally have coaching relationships that start with a 3 month commitment which is not a requirement. We also have agreement of six months depending on the clients and the nature of the training. We have three or for sessions per month or depending on the client and the training we can have 1 or 2 hours a day coaching especially for group sessions. But most big clients ask for three to four sessions a month. We start of by meeting with the client and answering some questions on the coaching process and then we give them a schedule that we follow during the training.
Me: And how much do these sessions need or cost? Coach: This mostly depends on what the client wants or needs. The cost will therefore depend on the commitment and the frequency of sessions and any other support systems the client may need. Average coaching rates range from ? 50 and ? 500 or more per session. Life star coaching also offers some significant discounts on pre-paid packages of 3 months or more. We also offer free introductory consultation with no obligation and it covers the subjects of costs fully that is specific to the circumstances that you re looking for.
Appendix B Conversation Transcript with a coach from Integration Training Me: What is your area of training, what do you specialize in when training? Coach: We train organizations and their employees to become more efficient and improve their performance. Out training offers bottom line results and focus on productivity and performance. We help people get more done by doing what we call human business. This means we look at people as human and we help them get more done in a human and achievable manner.
Me: What does your training methods consist of? Coach: It mainly depends on the subject that we are teaching or training. Our methods are highly interactive and we include pre training analysis and post training support to support the whole training processes. For customer service coaching we offer relaxation techniques, listening and communication training, breathing and time management training methods. We enjoy long-term training relationships with clients and include follow up sessions with all of our clients.