Worldwide Performance Coach Training for Leadership

CASE STUDY: Hilti Corporation

ILM Accredited Coaching & Mentoring programme

Coaching and Mentoring training in Switzerland

Hilti is one of the worlds’ largest industrial tools manufacturing companies, headquartered in Lichtenstein. In 2009 John Willox, Hilti’s Head of Global Training and Learning, contacted Culture at Work as Hilti had identified that they wanted a supplier who could support with the GROW coaching model, which represented Hilti’s leadership strategy of developing people to achieve outstanding results.

Because Hilti wanted to develop a stronger coaching culture in order to meet the changing demands of their business, they needed a partner that could create champions of this coaching mindset. Initially they focused on ensuring a high coaching competence in Heads of Learning and Development, the Sherpas (leadership coaches, mentors and guides) and the HR Business Partners – functions that frequently conducted high level coaching conversations for any topic.

Hilti’s main business language is English, with a varied mix of nationalities in any one location, with managers attending from Liechtenstein, Germany, Austria, Great Britain, Sweden, India, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Middle East, United States and Latin America.


Working closely with John Willox, we customized our signature coaching and mentoring programme to suit Hilti’s requirements and culture, ending with assessment and accreditation, aiming at:

  • building a coaching culture
  • creating a team of accredited internal coaches
  • enabling coaches to encourage the managers to lead in a coaching style
  • improving skills in active listening and providing feedback


Since 2010 we have delivered regular ILM Coaching and Mentoring training at Hilti.The program has been a success and repeated regularly every year, with participants from all over the world, including USA, Canada, Hong Kong, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Russia, several European countries and of course Liechtenstein. Hilti’s main business language is English, so our trainer, James Wright, was careful to manage the pace of the training to ensure that no-one got left behind. At first, the training was all delivered live, but since the pandemic it has taken place equally successfully online.

John Willox moved on to roles in other organisations, and the coach training programs have been continued by Eivind Slaaen, Head of People and Culture Development and a strong advocate of coaching. Participants report that the course provides a model (GROW) easily followed, and that they have enjoyed not only the days of training – the interaction, self-reflection and personal examples – but that the new learning has provided them with stronger skills for coaching, mentoring and team-building when back in the workplace. The skills have benefited people from all over the organisation, including sales, training teams, executive management teams and, of course, the Sherpa team.

Hilti has built upon this work by also offering GROW courses to leaders at all levels, from front line to executive management, so there is strong awareness and always a waiting list to be included in this coaching journey. With more than 100 coaches certified, working across many teams at Hilti, the program is clearly successful and driving a change in the leadership approach. One of the biggest beneficiaries of the certified coaches are the participants of the international talent program at Hilti, each of whom receives a certified coach to go on the journey with them for nine months.


A 2018 participant stated “My coach helped me make extensive development both personally and professionally during the course of the program! It was one of the highlights of the program.”

Terry Copley, who manages the program internally, stated that “Over the past 10 years, the use of GROW as a coaching method and communication style has become embedded in Hilti. We see it as a way of not only getting the best out of your people but understanding your team through questions and a simple methodology to get to a team member’s business goals as well as personal goals. When these are aligned, magic happens!

Feedback has been extremely positive:

“Excellent slides & documentation; very interactive, simple theory.”

“Great day, thank you! Excellent teacher/coach!”

“I really like the mix of input and practical exercise”.

“I was worried about the pace of having the course in English – it is comfortable, thank you!”

“A good model to establish in the organisation for myself in my job as a business coach and for the managers. The trainer leaves the impression of being well experienced and created an atmosphere which made it easy to follow, great!”

“This model is an easy framework in which to put any dilemma you have into.”

“Overall, highly enjoyable first day. James, your sense of humor and instructional style were appropriate and kept my interest, which is challenging with jet lag as well. Nicely done!”

“It was another great day. Thank you! because you moved my thoughts, I learned a lot.”

“The training is perfect as it is!”

“I really enjoyed today, also as it was an appropriate mix of both participant practice and good discussion among the team. I can’t wait to actually start using and practising to continue on my journey to greatness!”

“Thank you James for this experience and the atmosphere you created during the session.”

“I really like the examples – they are very helpful and make it easier to picture and understand the content!”

“Today was another really good day in helping make the connection between theory and practicalities. Thank you for recognising the energy level of the group and giving all the time needed to prepare for tomorrow’s assessment. Cheers James! J

“The course was extremely relevant to my needs as an HR partner who will be assigned coachees.”

“I was really positively surprised at how much practice we were doing. This will help me in my daily life.”

“Fantastic trainer – excellent, not only knows content but has ‘real’ world examples which makes a huge difference in learnings.”

“I feel comfortable that I understand the process and have the confidence and motivation to practise. I see potential benefit of the company, to develop into a real coaching, learning organisation.”

“I am truly impressed with the overall aims at this workshop and supplemental books and coaching guide. The organisation has taken this topic to a whole new level, beyond the typical outcome. It’s refreshing to see the course is about helping extraordinary people achieve outstanding results.”

“Due to the excellent preparation and practice, it was very comfortable to conduct coaching discussions via telephone, even the one where the assessor was listening in. As well, I felt like the assessor gave me great feedback after the session, which has helped me hone my skills further and continue to self-reflect on my coaching behaviours.”