How Commonwealth Bank cultivated a culture of coaching and feedback that fuels performance and growth.

Transforming leadership capability to transform the organisation.

Commonwealth bank logo.Commonwealth Bank, Australia’s largest bank and leading provider of integrated financial services with over 52,000 employees globally, is committed to creating a workplace where its people can fulfill their purpose, bring out the best in each other, and achieve their potential.

Culture change within the Bank has been a significant focus over the last five years, with a focus on building the skills and behaviours of their people to deliver better customer and risk outcomes.

To cultivate a culture of greater accountability, one where team members are open to challenge, CBA recognised the critical need to lift leadership capability, with significant focus and attention given to instilling the right behaviours and actions, allowing reflection, and encouraging constructive challenge.

To address this challenge, CBA engaged Inkling to design organisation-wide learning experiences aimed at equipping leaders with the confidence and capability to engage in regular coaching conversations, provide feedback within the flow of work, accelerate decision-making, enhance trust within teams, and foster a culture of agility and innovation.

Empowering leaders with skills and capabilities to navigate challenges, remove barriers, and drive efficient solution-finding through coaching and feedback.

Working in close partnership with CBA, Inkling conducted a robust consultation and engagement process to ensure the learning experiences would provide clarity and consistency to participants, while simultaneously demonstrate a clear alignment with the organisation’s broader strategy, business goals, and individual development.

The Coaching and Feedback learning experiences follow a structured approach of “understand it, see it, do it, and debrief it” to enhance experiential learning and promote leadership development. They include workshops, experiential learning activities, and ongoing support to integrate feedback and coaching into daily work routines.

Furthermore, the Coaching and Feedback learning experiences aim to:

  • Empower individuals to engage in impactful coaching conversations anytime and anywhere, moving beyond rigid frameworks to cultivate a mindset and behaviours that facilitate genuine support and personal growth.
  • Foster a feedback-rich culture where individuals actively seek, provide, and receive feedback, with a strong emphasis on creating supportive and purposeful conversations that drive personal and organisational growth while aligning with business outcomes.

CBA has cultivated a high-performing culture, enhanced leadership capabilities, and created an environment of collaboration, continuous learning, and success.

  • The Bank's collaboration growth, up 5pp from 2022 to 2023, and leaders' increased welcome of constructive challenge, rising 6pp from 2021 to 2022, demonstrate a greater comfort in seeking feedback and generating ideas amongst employees.

  • CBA's eNPS increase of 2.5% from 2020 to 2022, coinciding with the implementation of Coaching and Feedback programs, underscores their role in fostering a supportive culture for employee growth and well-being.

  • A +70% increase in the number of employees who are seeking and sharing feedback highlights CBA employees' strong adoption of a feedback culture and continuous improvement mindset.

To date, more than 1,500 employees have participated in the Coaching and Feedback learning experiences, resulting in a noticeable shift in mindsets and behaviours related to coaching conversations, problem-solving, collaboration, and personal growth. The increased frequency of coaching and feedback conversations in the organisation has accelerated learning, collaboration, and performance improvement across teams.

Additionally, these learning experiences have contributed to talent development and retention, as employees feel valued and invested in their growth. By investing in leadership development and fostering a coaching and feedback-driven culture, CBA is well-positioned for accelerated transformation, customer-centricity, and sustained success in a dynamic industry landscape.

The Coaching and Feedback learning experiences have received recognition as finalists in the Australian Institute of Training & Development 2023 Excellence Awards for Best Capability Development Program and Best Learning Culture in an Organisation.

"Inking have been a trusted partner with us for a number of years now. They’re flexible, metrics crazy and results focused. We’re delighted with the results from our programs for example; we have seen a 70% increase in the number of employees who are seeking and sharing feedback, via our systems and we’re continuing to build our coaching muscle and scale this across the organisation."

- Denise Gribben, Executive Manager, Talent and Leadership, Commonwealth Bank

"Leaders are now actively encouraging feedback and creating an environment where people feel comfortable asking for it. This shift is significant because, in the past, individuals were often hesitant to seek feedback due to the fear of criticism or negativity. We are now seeing a cultural shift where feedback is viewed as a positive opportunity for growth rather than a form of criticism or something upsetting. It becomes a tool for improvement. This shift in attitude towards feedback has contributed to our organisation being recognised as LinkedIn’s top Australian Employer for 2022. It's another metric that reflects the positive impact of a feedback culture."

- Emily Talbot, Manager, Talent and Leadership, Commonwealth Bank

"Inkling quickly grasped and seamlessly incorporated the values and new leadership principles into their work. Their ability to do so, along with the work they had previously done in other areas of the business, made them feel like an integrated partner right from the start."

- Liz Stewart, Talent and Leadership Delivery Manager, Commonwealth Bank

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