Growing staff engagement through innovative leadership development



With an illustrious 300-year history, Coutts & Co. are an industry leader in UK wealth management. For a number of years they had experienced relatively static levels of engagement and recognised a need to support the development of their leaders in a different way. We worked with their L&D team to design a multi-stage leadership development program, focusing on the development of adaptability, collaboration, problem solving, and utilizing strengths. As a result, Coutts have seen a 23% increase in engagement, a 44% increase in successful internal promotions, and the development of a shared language across the bank.


With an illustrious 300-year history, Coutts & Co. are an industry leader in UK wealth management. Coutts came to us looking for a fresh and innovative approach to leadership development to help them tackle several challenges, from increasing staff engagement, to developing the ability of their leaders to coach others – whilst also trying to create a shift in mindset towards learning and personal development. They were keen to equip their internal leaders with high-performance mindsets, and the characteristics required to progress their careers internally within the bank.


We worked with Coutts to design and deliver a program which helped leaders develop the skills needed to collaborate, adapt, and inspire their teams. There were several aims at the heart of this, which included enhancing bank-wide engagement, reigniting a desire to learn across the bank, and, ultimately, maintaining their position at the forefront of wealth management in the UK. 

We designed a multi-stage leadership development program, focusing on four key skills needed to lead effectively, including:

  • Developing adaptability – Leaders were trained in the coaching tool, Spotlight, designed to engage staff in personalized coaching to enhance their self-awareness and adaptability

  • Building High Performance Teams – Leaders were trained on key micro actions and nudges that can help grow psychological safety and ways to manage the dynamics of teams

  • Problem Solving – Leaders learnt our “Pig Wrestling” framework to help them reframe and solve complex and longstanding problems  

  • Utilizing Strengths – Leaders were supported to understand their own super-strengths and ways in which they can support others to confidently express their own unique strengths


Over 260 leaders have participated in the CONNECT programme, resulting in the tools and ideas spreading across all areas of the bank. 

As a result, Coutts have seen tangible change in a number of ways with the impact of the leadership development rippling across the bank. These included:

  • 23% increase in engagement scores across all staff the banks

  • 25% increase in performance management

  • 22% increase in trust and respect

  • 44% increase in successful internal promotions

Leaders also reported enhanced productivity and collaboration within their teams. People are more open to and respectful of different perspectives, leaders are better able to motivate and support, and teams actively seek different opinions to increase the effectiveness of their decisions. This has resulted in considerable ROI from small changes that have gone about due to the implementation of the program. 

The L&D team have also seen an increase in demand for learning opportunities, with over 2000 members of staff having now experienced a 1-2-1 coaching session using the tools provided. This has helped to facilitate the development of a shared language throughout the bank – helping to support collaboration across teams, increase in strengths based-conversations, and a shift towards personalized development.

“CONNECT has provided us with a consistent and innovative approach to developing our leaders, preparing them for the skills required of them in the future. The growth in emotional intelligence and ability to flex their style to better influence peers and teams has been extremely beneficial to our business… The positivity surrounding CONNECT and the Spotlight tool has re-ignited people’s desire to develop themselves, and others, and the shift in this culture is notable across the business”.

The CONNECT Leadership program was awarded the Princess Royal Training Award in 2021, in recognition on its impact on staff development.