GOING DIGITAL, GOING GLOBAL

Adobe’s Initiative to Provide Leadership Coaching at Scale

THE CHALLENGE

Adobe, a multinational software company at the forefront of digital design and business service technology, partnered with Skillsoft Coaching, to offer a bespoke, scalable, executive-quality coaching experience targeting individual contributors, people managers, and team leaders globally within their organization.

Adobe leaders are tasked with constantly innovating and developing software solutions for the rapidly evolving creative and marketing landscapes. This means HR executives must focus on initiatives that drive significant positive impact and make good use of employee time. With this guiding principle in mind, the Adobe Talent Development team worked closely with Skillsoft Coaching to customize their entire engagement and create a coaching experience that is uniquely suited to the needs and challenges faced by their leaders.

With over 500 participants across 16 countries to date, Adobe has embarked on a scaled leadership development initiative focused on building internal leaders in early and mid-level management roles and providing a high-quality, impactful, and streamlined coaching experience to employees in offices all over the world.

THE SOLUTION

One step they took was to customize an initial leadership assessment & 360°, incorporating the core skills and behaviors needed to successfully lead at Adobe. This customization is crucial not only for ensuring a strong cultural fit, but also for aligning the focus of the coaching to Adobe’s standard of leadership. Participants then chose a subset of key behaviors to focus on. Each coaching engagement consisted of 12, 60-minute coaching sessions over the course of six months, guided by a tailored development plan and supported by micro-learning content.

1. Behavior Change

Every Skillsoft Coaching participant begins with a self-assessment & 360° that solicits feedback from the coaches, their manager(s), direct reports, cross-functional colleagues, and other team members. Because Adobe is provided 1:1 coaching to multiple layers of leadership, they chose to tailor the behaviors in the initial self-assessment & 360° to each specific level of their organization. That way, the coaching was aligned not only to Adobe’s overall culture, but also to the relevant behavioral expectations at each level.

Individual Contributors (ICs)

  • +21.8% average improvement across all leadership skills

Managers & Senior Managers

  • +28.4% average improvement in Motivating Others
  • +20.7% improvement in Managing Projects
  • +19.6% improvement in Demonstrating Empathy

Directors & Principals

Improvements across focus areas of Accountability, Communicate Vision, Partnerships Persistence, and Tradeoffs.

“The Skillsoft Coaching experience has honestly been the most insightful experience I have ever had in my career so far. It has been humbling, but also surprising, and very thought-provoking...I feel that it helped me prepare to be the best manager I can be.”

ADOBE COACHING PARTICIPANT

2. ENGAGEMENT CHANGE

Also of interest to Adobe is the impact of the coaching on leaders’ overall engagement and sentiment toward their role and the company. To measure this, they customized Skillsoft Coaching's Engagement Survey and tailored it to each level of leadership. Participants then completed a pre and post survey, enabling Adobe to demonstrate quantifiable improvements in areas such as leadership confidence and role clarity.

Individual Contributors (ICs)

After six months of coaching, they rated significant improvements across key engagement areas.

  • +14% “I have the authority and support I need to succeed in my role.”
  • +13.7% “I am actively focused on my personal professional development.”
  • +12.3% “I know what I need to do in order to advance in my company.”

Managers & Senior Managers

Overall, they reported higher levels of managerial confidence and became more focused on their own development.

  • +25.3% “I know what I need to do in order to advance in my company.”
  • +19.2% “I am actively focused on my personal professional development.”
  • +13.4% “I know how to be a good manager.”

Directors & Principals

After six months of coaching, they reported some of the largest positive changes in overall sentiment and engagement. They felt more attuned to key success factors, more acknowledged for their work, and rated themselves as altogether more likely to remain at Adobe.

  • +49.9% “When I do good managerial work, it is recognized.”
  • +44.6% “I intended to be working at Adobes two years from now.”
  • +38.7% “I know what I need to do in order to advance in my company.”

3. Goal Achievement

Adobe participants at every level also worked with their coach to create a coaching and development plan. The plan includes concrete goals, defined outcomes, and actionable strategies that provide structure and a clear focus for the coaching experience. Goals typically fall into one of three categories:

  • Personal Development
  • Team Development
  • Business Development

Adobe coaching participants achieved an average 87.3% overall goal achievement across all three categories.

RESULTS AFTER SIX MONTHS OF COACHING

+49.9%

Felt their work was recognized

+44.6%

Intended to remain at Adobe

93.5%

Average overall goal achievement across Team Development goals

86.9%

Average overall goal achievement across Personal Development goals

84.6%

Average overall goal achievement across Business Development goals

Skillsoft Coaching is a great partner to Adobe and has enabled us to expand high-quality coaching across multiple levels of leaders with great results.

Danielle Clark

Head of Global Talent, Adobe

SO WHAT’S NEXT?

While Adobe has seen considerable progress and impact to date, their Skillsoft Coaching initiatives are far from finished. This case study included data from 213 of Adobe’s coaching engagements, though the total number of participants is over 500 and growing. Skillsoft Coaching was an integral piece of Adobe’s strategy to shift toward virtual development during the pandemic, and they have expanded their partnership with Skillsoft Coaching into the next three years as they continue to support their leaders with coaching.

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Adobe is the global leader in digital media and digital marketing solutions. Our creative, marketing and document solutions empower everyone – from emerging artists to global brands – to bring digital creations to life and deliver immersive, compelling experiences to the right person at the right moment for the best results. In short, Adobe is everywhere, and we’re changing the world through digital experiences.