Breville recently implemented a structured coaching program for its innovation teams – referred to as ‘squads’ – with workshops focused on psychological safety, feedback models and decision-making processes.

Designed to address the unique dynamics within each squad, the program included three workshops and four team coaching sessions, conducted in groups of 10 to 15 people and completed over a seven-month period between October 2023 and April 2024.

Three weeks after each workshop, a coaching session was held to dive deeper into areas most relevant to each innovation squad to ensure consistency in training while allowing for a more tailored focus through team coaching.

Breville was facing challenges in bringing together its ‘squads’ – members from engineering, electronics, industrial design, quality and manufacturing – to work on new products across its global range due to differing opinions on design elements and a hesitancy to challenge views, leading to ambiguity in decision-making processes.

Breville general manager of operations for global product, Cameron Fincher said, “The high performing squads program provided an opportunity to upskill the innovation teams to improve ways of working, giving and receiving feedback, and engaging in constructive and creative conflict.”

The program’s effectiveness was measured using a 22-question survey completed by participants before and after the program. The results showed an average rating increase of 10% across all innovation squads. By the end of the team coaching, squads reported high levels of psychological safety and enhanced team performance. 

“The pre and post surveys proved that the combination of training and coaching positively impacted each squad. We also gained the added benefit of identifying two themes to improve for the whole department,” Fincher said.

Team coaching is far more complex than individual coaching, according to executive coach and psychologist, Tim Sprague (pictured).

“This success underscores the importance of using trained and International Coaching Federation qualified coaches who can work with both the individuals and the whole team as a system in driving organisational effectiveness and innovation.

“The outcome was a significant improvement, with an average 10% increase in high performing team scale scores, demonstrating the value of a systemic approach and the benefits of fostering a culture of creative conflict and collaboration.”