Finsoft Benefits from Learning Tree On-Site Coaching

Finsoft Ltd, a provider of real-time transaction and information management systems, was quite pleased recently when they saw significant growth in their customer base within a short period of time. However, with their project managers, sales managers and heads of departments operating out of their London-based headquarters—and their development personnel working out of the Belgrade office—the increase in business exposed strains in the organisation's infrastructure.

The Challenge

A six-month review uncovered widely varying hierarchical structures, corporate values and management methods between the two locations. In order to resolve these differences and help align the two locations more closely, it was decided that the Belgrade development staff would receive management training combined with follow-up coaching at the workplace.

As Zoran Zmajkovic, manager of Software Development at Finsoft, explains, "We decided upon a big-bang approach to changing the structure of the company. Management training was offered as a mechanism to provide a framework for change, and to equip our technical experts with the soft skills they needed to lead teams effectively". When the time came to select a training provider, Finsoft chose a source they felt could deliver best a programme that combined both the necessary instruction and the subsequent coaching they required: Learning Tree International.

The Learning Tree Solution

To begin, two management skills training events were staged for the Belgrade staff members who had been selected to head newly formed departments. Afterwards, a six-day programme of tailored coaching was implemented on site to help prepare the team for their new roles. The Learning Tree Coaching Programme augmented the classroom training by providing the team with the kind of firsthand experience and confidence that can only come from doing the tasks themselves, safe in the knowledge that they were working under expert supervision.

The key to the programme's success, says Richard Chappell, managing director of Learning Tree in the UK, is that, "Unlike traditional consultants, Learning Tree coaches actively work at transferring their knowledge and skills to the client's employees, so it was a natural fit with Finsoft's philosophy of cross-training their employees".

The Results

The combination of classroom training and on-site coaching reaped many rewards. According to Zmajkovic, "Even when we were half-way through the programme, we were already seeing benefits in the form of improved morale. The Belgrade staff are happy that management is listening to their needs and that they are being supported with effective coaching".

The results aided Finsoft's London office as well. The Belgrade team's improvements in estimating development costs and schedules has translated into deliveries being planned and tracked more effectively. Their awareness of the overall product has also improved, alleviating the pressure on the London staff to have the same knowledge level as the technical experts.

Ultimately, the Learning Tree Coaching Programme provided Finsoft's development staff with the understanding and experience to tackle future projects themselves, thus representing an effective investment that enabled them to apply their new skills and further reinforce the classroom training.

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