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Business, Engagement Edition Financial Longevity Through Coaching


By: Glen Goldspink •  4 years ago •  

The Bank of Queensland (BOQ) offers a unique business model where almost two-thirds of their branches are run by Owner-Managers. Owner-Managers not only run their branch, they also own their branch. As small-business owners they have the freedom to personally manage their customer relationships and the incentive to drive their business’s success. This underpins relationships and BOQ’s philosophy that it’s possible to love a bank!

BOQ ‘Fitter4Biz’ coaching program

The Fitter4Biz program was the brainchild of the BOQ franchise network’s leadership team. They realised the network was made up of banking specialists with incredible technical expertise, that sometimes struggled with the broader remit that comes with owning a small business. Now, as well as being bankers, Owner-Managers were expected to put on their marketing hat, their human resources hat, their business operations hat – a vast new wardrobe of responsibilities! So the goal was to deliver a program that partnered with Owner-Managers to help them become exceptional business managers who excelled at banking.

BOQ brought in specialist coaches to develop and deliver the ‘Fitter4Biz’ program: including Glen Goldspink, a banking expert, who helped tailor the program for a banking audience.

The original program was delivered over a 12-month period and focused on business development areas such as:

 the business planning cycle

 training staff

 developing a customer-contact program

 leadership and growth

 leverage strategies

The program included webinars in-between sessions to allow participants to discuss topics as a group. Participants were also given a range of supporting materials including leading business books, white papers and YouTube clips such as TEDx Talks. Participating Owner-Managers were partnered together in a buddy system to provide an extra layer of support throughout the program.

Participation in the Fitter4Biz program was completely voluntary to ensure those that enrolled were prepared to roll up their sleeves and get involved. 45% of the Owner-Managers participated across seven different state-based cohorts. The 12-month program was rolled out progressively with the first group starting in April 2014 and the final group completing the course in September 2015.

The program was so successful for Owner-Managers that BOQ decided to deliver a similar program to corporately-owned branches in January 2015.


Performance outcomes of the program were measured at the beginning of 2016. Participating branches average loan settlements were 37% higher than non-participating branches and their customer run-off was 3% lower. Without reservation, the coaching uptake by business owners translated to the top and bottom lines across the board.

Other great results from the program included the level of peer support where business owners previously working in isolation had the opportunity to discuss ideas and work through solutions to common issues. This boosted engagement and collaboration amongst the retail network.

Lessons learnt

BOQ received exceptional feedback on the value of the program, and also learnt some lessons along the way that fed into the ongoing improvement of the program that re-commenced this March.

The first improvement made was to include dedicated course time to turn course content into specific, personalised action plans for each participant’s business. Each session is now split into two, the first half focusing on content from the topic expert, and the second half on developing specific action plans to take straight back to the business.

Another key learning was how critical Regional and State Managers’ involvement is to the success of the program. These managers look after a number of Owner-Managers in their region, and are the natural reporting lines for the franchise network. They play a crucial ongoing business development and coaching role which is recognised in the new program which now includes separate preview sessions for them. This helps Regional Managers support Owner-Managers to implement their action plans.

Now there is also more time allowed between sessions so participants have more time to put what they’ve learnt into practice. The new program allows 6-7 weeks between sessions.

Finally, the variance in performance from the corporate branches following the program highlighted the need to have much more personalised and prescriptive professional development action plans for corporate branch participants. This will help ensure participants can achieve similar benchmarks across a range of metrics.

BOQ has now also partnered with the Australian Institute of Management and their specialist coaches who they’ve enlisted to help deliver the program content. Following on from the success of the previous program, 57% of the franchise network have enrolled.

Brett Davies, BOQ Owner-Manager Coorparoo

Having a business plan is one thing, making it a working document that changes with your business is another. I was also reminded of the importance of practical, and more importantly, achievable goal setting, as well as how to readjust if something goes wrong and you don’t achieve what you planned– don’t just give up. I learnt that having a buddy or a mentor to run things past and vent to is extremely helpful, you don’t have to do it all on your own.

I enjoyed the friendships I built with peers. We are all different but face the same issues and have very similar goals. There was accountability that came from setting goals publically and then the support when things didn’t go to plan. It is easy to set goals, but if there is no one to answer to there are no consequences for not achieving them.

The program helped me refocus on what I needed to change to make the business as successful as it could be and reminded me that I was the only one that could do that. I have had strong improvement in all parts of business, better systems in place, better results which in turn has benefited financially.

Melissa Green, BOQ Owner-Manager Mackay City

Systems and processes will improve the business – McDonalds even have a process for emptying the bin. It was eye-opening once I understood that, as well as making sure the business had an operating rhythm. We had open and honest rapport between group members about what was working and not working in our businesses. The members provided feedback on what they saw we could do better without judgement. I was blessed to find people who genuinely cared.

I have chosen two managers within my team to be the cheerleaders of what I have learnt. I can see they now interact with their immediate team in a more confident way. We’re able to get the most out of our team by knowing more now about how to extract that extra effort, doing the work because they want to not because they have too.

I was able to turn my business around to become one of the top performers in my tier again. In the banking industry, policy can change very quickly and I have been given the tools to understand more clearly that I need to focus my energy on what I can control, and when these events occur I now understand more clearly that the outcome is directly related to what my reaction is to that event.


Glen Goldspink is the Business Coach for Retail Capability where he shares his knowledge and skills with both BOQ Franchisees and Branch Managers. He assists them on their journey to becoming exceptional business owners and managers who excel at banking.

Bank of Queensland BIO

Established over 140 years ago, BOQ is a leading Australian bank that focuses on building long- lasting customer relationships. One of its key differences is its unique Owner-Manager branch model which enables bank managers to own their own branches and truly embed themselves in their local communities. BOQ gives customers a genuine alternative from larger, less-engaged banks for finance and insurance services to individuals, families and small-to- medium business. BOQ is ranked among the top 100 companies on the ASX.

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