No Image Available


Read more from TrainingZone

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Case Study: Coaching at the Post Office


Things are changing at Post Office Ltd: Europe’s largest retail network is expanding into financial services. However, with changing times come new challenges and the Post Office has adopted coaching methods to help its employees understand and cross-sell the expanded product offering. The partnership between the Post Office® and performance improvement coaching company Prosell is part of its £10 million, three-year investment into select coaching and training.

The Challenge

The Post Office employs 13,543 permanent staff across the UK, and many more indirectly employed through franchise partners. Employees and customers alike cherish the Post Office’s traditional role at the heart of the community - indeed 70% of its 29.2 million weekly customers believe the company offers good service, while 88% say the Post Office is an important part of the community.

The Post Office’s desire to provide further services for its huge client base, recognising its reputation for fantastic customer service, gave rise to the concept of the sales and marketing programme. Chief Executive David Mills set out to gain just one extra penny from each of the 42 million customer visits every week – and identified moving into the financial services market as the way to achieve that.

The staff training considerations involved in this strategic change are clearly huge. Employees needed to understand the changes, why they would benefit the company and also their role in achieving them. For counter staff, selling financial products presents markedly different challenges to selling the traditional Post Office portfolio. Indeed, with more outlets than all the UK’s banks and building societies combined, the Post Office needed to initiate the biggest training project in the country!

The Training

Prosell’s Conversational Selling Model fit the image of the Post Office as a service-led company, while placing greater emphasis on sales communication and realisation.

Initially 9,000 counter staff in the programme were trained in conversational selling techniques. Workshops were used to introduce the products and their benefits, helping employees role-play situations they would encounter on the job. Sessions identified the aspects of selling that work best for the Post Office and ways of instilling these qualities into the company’s new strategic direction.

Senior management buy-in was crucial, and the top 70 executives from across the organisation attended a session, while those in the wider Post Office® network were reached via bespoke sales training videos, self-learning CDs, financial product information sheets and the Selling Guide. A further round of workshops for 5,000 more employees is currently underway.

However, it was agreed that workshops alone wouldn’t produce the kind of company-wide culture change that underpins the Post Office’s strategy for growth. Creating a culture change in sales, service and the company as a whole is inevitably a long-term process, and an internal means of propagating the changes introduced by the Conversational Selling Model was absolutely crucial.


Line managers were introduced to the concept of sales coaching, and encouraged to take responsibility for evaluating their team’s progress. The coaching programmes – delivered ‘on the job’ – provided a means of monitoring both customer experience and sales effectiveness, and motivated line managers to align these with the desired level of service/sales.

This pattern of observational management means performance improvement is not confined to specific development sessions, but flourishes throughout the business. Line managers also achieved ‘silver’ and ‘gold’ coaching accreditation, allowing designated coaches to pass on their skills internally. A recognition culture is developing within the Post Office, with a new learning and development process becoming permanently embedded throughout the organisation.

Sales coaching has been warmly received by both counter staff and line managers and is now a key management discipline at the Post Office.


Effective coaching programmes should deliver ongoing evaluation of return on investment, in terms of behavioural change and financial impact.

An initial test phase compared the sales performance of 100 Post Office branches taking part in the development programme, against a pool of 100, which had not. Within three months, the branches participating in the programme out-performed the control group’s sales figures by 5%.

What’s more, 95% of workshop attendees agreed that the sales coaching programme provided a ‘positive experience’. The hands-on management style which the coaching programme has encouraged is also thought to have contributed to the increased number of employees who say they are ‘enjoying their role’ from 63% to 71% in the space of a year.

“The people development programme has installed a whole new way of doing things at the Post Office,” says Jonathan Hewett, Head of Sales at Post Office® Ltd. “It has helped smooth the transition into financial services, and was a major part of our preparations for the launch of our personal loan, the first Post Office branded financial service product.”

Mystery shopper initiatives were also run under the brand to further document levels of behavioural change. One mystery shopper trial, which set out to establish the impact of the coaching programme on Post Office banking facilities, found that banking transactions had risen by 23%.

The Future

The Post Office is currently 18 months into a three-and-a-half year employee development programme, and remains committed to sales coaching as a core tactic in establishing financial services market share. The organisation aims to further embed the new sales culture by taking selected line managers to the next level of coaching – allowing them to accredit their own coaches.

The Post Office sees the employee development programme as a vital element of its growth strategy. Hewett explains: “The development programme has already created significant cultural change, feeding into the organisation at all levels.

"It is essential, if we are to continue to develop and thrive in this fast-changing and highly competitive marketplace, that we continue our commitment to the sales development of our people who serve our customers every day.”


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!