Finastra’s Open Culture Brings a New Perspective to Coaching Dynamics


The role of Human Resources within an organisation is of strategic value to both people and business performance. Research tells us high-performing HRBPs improve employee performance and employee retention by up to 20% while increasing revenue (up to 7%) and profit (up to 9%). Behind the data there are some inspirational individuals who make these great stats happen. IG client Sharon Doherty, Chief People and Places Officer and Executive Leadership team member at Finastra, who has global responsibility for making the company the most loved and inclusive employer in the Fintech industry, is one of these people.

We are currently partnering with Finastra to establish a coaching culture across the organisation through the creation of an in-house, internally accredited coaching faculty, managed centrally through Sharon’s People Team. Guided by IG’s coaching approach and methodology – Deep Insights Coaching – Finastra’s team of in-house coaches have begun working with senior leaders globally to challenge and support them on their development journey.

We have taken a three-phased fully virtual approach to setting up the in-house coaching faculty; Finastra’s coaches (1) experience the coaching first-hand, (2) attend a series of immersive coaching workshops to hone their skills and learn Finastra’s approach to coaching, and (3) begin coaching internally with supervision provided by IG consultants. Designed to provide leaders with deeper self-insight, the coaching methodology helps leaders to explore their identity, understand their reputation and sustain growth and change in an ever-shifting context.   

As we enter into our second year of partnership with Finastra, we spoke with Sharon, about the importance of coaching in today’s world.   

IG: Tell us about your core values and culture


SD: We have a ‘come as yourself’ culture – wear what you like and be yourself. Our core belief is the future of finance is open, and for us ‘open’ is really important, it is not about being a moment but a movement. Opening finance means we believe in open architecture and our employee proposition is around open working – collaborative office hubs, two days in the office and two or more working from home, uncapped holidays and so on.


IG: How have you successfully navigated coaching in the remote working environment?


SD: Our coaching culture is an extension of our open approach. At the start of lockdown, we thought we wouldn’t be able to do lots of things and of course being together would be better, but we overcame the challenges quickly. We learned different ways to embrace the new. Normally you are meeting people in the office and now you get to see their life more and build a closer relationship. We have been on a journey for 12 months and this means we have seen into people’s houses - one of the director’s kids sat next to him doing home schooling for example.


IG How do you coach the organisation as a whole?


SD: Investing our time in coaching and working with IG helps to move the organisation into the future. There are different ways of performing this and helping the frontline leaders. Deep Insights Coaching is about helping the talent you’ve got to progress through the organisation, mid-tier level people will have topic specific shorter coaching and line managers need coaching related to how they are supporting people in realtime, and more often.


IG: Tell Us Your Thoughts About Positive Outcomes of Deep Insights Coaching


SD: Coaching is a private relationship, but it is invested in the person staying in the organisation. It gives us reason to be close to people while we are working remotely, as you don’t see them in person like you would in normal times. This is a moment to know your people - you can’t tell if you are going to lose your talent as easily for example - Deep Insights Coaching allows us to do that. Mostly during the working day, we are used to being on conference calls of an hour or thirty minutes. A half a day of Deep Insights Coaching, by the very nature of it, feels like something different and it means you are giving your full attention to someone during that time. Virtual meetings make you more conscious of the environment and to some degree it is even richer. There is an immediacy to Deep Insights Coaching as it makes people feel special, but it takes time to see the real impact, apart from the obvious of retaining good people by giving them support.


IG: What is on the cards for HRBPS and Line Leaders in 2021?


SD: The role of Human Resources Business Partner (HRBP) covers organisational effectiveness, team coaching culture and talent management. The world has massively changed, and businesses are having to reform and go digital. As an HRBP in a business working through all of this, our role is to research where the future of work is going and bring these strategies into the business.

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