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How lululemon's Coaching Program is Developing Conscious Leaders

Updated: Jul 21, 2023


Emily Cardamon, Global Coaching and Talent Activation at lululemon, CPCC, PCC, joined The UpLevel Podcast for this week's episode. Emily shared the inspiring story of how she and her colleagues created an empowering coaching program at lululemon. She also talked about how starting a coaching program doesn't require a big budget, structure, or fancy surveys and how it's possible to take it one step at a time and allow it to grow. Emily highlighted the importance of coaching and how it positively impacts employee engagement, clarity of vision, empowerment, and retention rates. She dove into the coaching culture and how it emphasizes being curious and allowing employees to find solutions on their own. Overall, Emily’s journey teaches us about the value of investing in coaching skills and the impact it can have on individuals and an organization as a whole.

(This is an excerpt from a live webinar about resiliency.)

In This Episode:

Topic: Starting a Coaching Program

- Starting a coaching program doesn't require a big budget or structure.

- It's possible to take it one step at a time and allow it to grow.

- Find passionate people to send to courses or invest in an UpLevel cohort.

- Build an internal coaching program or send them back to lead their teams and measure the impact.

Topic: Importance of Coaching

- The speaker and her colleagues have become coaches to create an empowering work environment.

- The importance of coaching is not always measurable, but it's essential.

- Leaders who stand for coaching are appreciated, and coaching work will receive more support in the future.

- Going on a coach training journey has been personally rewarding for the speaker and has changed her career goals.

Topic: Coaching Model

- CTI (Co-Active Training Institute) offers five courses for coaches to take, with two courses per year provided to coaches who return annually.

- The coaching model that CTI stands behind requires coaches to demonstrate their skill set and invest in professional training, which has resulted in no turnover among coaches and high demand for the program.

- The value of working with a CTI coach stems from the organization's emphasis on providing quality training rather than just a brief course.

Topic: lululemon's internal coaching program

- lululemon manages an internal coaching program that began with only eight coaches back in 2017 and now has over 216 coaches around the world.

- The coaching program is for every employee in the company, as everyone has potential, and the program aims to develop conscious leaders.

- The coaching program offers various services such as whole-person long-term leadership coaching, coaching on demand, parenthood group coaching, and external coaching services for the VP Plus group.

- The organization invests in offering coaching services with a shared lived experience, particularly for black-identifying people leaders who want to work with a black coach.

Topic: Coaching and Employee Engagement

- Results from Lululemon's coaching program show a significant positive impact on employee engagement, clarity of vision, empowerment, and retention rates.

- The company sees coaching as a business case solution to address the high cost of employee disengagement.

- Test and learn approach is being used to measure impact.

- Three months after coaching, a pulse survey or focus group is conducted to gauge impact.

Topic: Coaching Skills in Leadership and Management

- The company believes in having managers who are "coach-like" in their leadership.

- A strength-based culture is encouraged, where managers help employees work on tasks that they truly enjoy and excel at.

- When managers use coaching skills during one-on-one meetings, there is less talking from the manager and more insights and creativity from the employee, which leads to faster problem-solving and better use of time.

- The speaker had to advocate for coaches to receive two courses a year and for the specific CTI coaching program to be used.

Topic: Engagement of Senior Leadership

- The need to engage senior leadership in a program or initiative.

- They suggest that having a member of the senior leadership team as a coach in a pilot program would be beneficial.

- The importance of full buy-in from all levels of leadership for the program to be successful.

Quotations to Share:

"When we are operating from a place of wholeness, my energy isn't fractured in any way. My sense of personal power is intact." ~ Emily Cardamon

"I believe gone are the days of the people manager being solely responsible for the employees' development engagement. It's the village behind it that is responsible for making choices and small investments or big investments that are creating a space for the employee to thrive truly. And I think that coaching is one of the most powerful ways." ~ Emily Cardamon

"You don't have to have a big fancy structure or a big budget to get started to doing this. You can take one step at a time and start measuring and allow it to grow. And that's truly how we've grown over the last eight years. So find a couple of people that are passionate about this, send them to a course, or invest in UpLevel." ~ Emily Cardamon

About UpLevel Productions: Founded by Christie Mann, MA, CPCC, PCC, and Rachel Baldi, CPCC, PCC, UpLevel creates, produces, and delivers Transformative Experiences, Workshops, Training, Events + Media that develop leaders who make our world a healthier, more alive, and connected place to be. As Associate CTI Faculty Partners, UpLevel is licensed to sell, produce and deliver Co-Active coach training and leadership development programs around the world to support the transformational growth of individuals and culture inside the workplace and organization. Instagram @uplevelproductions Facebook & LinkedIn @uplevelproductionscompany


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