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Chairs Winner 2015 2

This project, Developing High Performance Cultures, involved a collaboration with world leading, offshore construction business, Technip.

The aim of the work was to drive safety culture alongside improving performance in people, and achieved by engaging senior offshore teams (Captains, Chief Engineers, Offshore Construction Managers (OCM’s) and their deputies) responsible for teams of up to 100 individuals on a team of vessels operating globally. The challenge was increased by the remote nature of the operations (in the North Sea and international waters from Newfoundland to the Gulf), the diverse needs of group members and the desire for a more engaging style of learning.


Initial meetings with the client established key objectives and the issues outlined above. Based upon these findings and client discussions, it was agreed that a pilot programme was to be developed. This pilot used two groups of three (representing one vessel’s management team and their respective back-to-back colleagues). Due to the factors identified above, the programme was based around a non-formal classroom process, informed by psychological research into key safety leadership behaviours, drawing on multiple methods and a focus towards encouraging engagement with learning content.

Independent evaluation and interviews with pilot cohort delegates, coaches and trainers were used to gain the valuable feedback, which informed the development of the final version programme. Changes were made to the group size; resulting in cohorts of nine delegates, representing three vessels per cohort, content and length of programme, and the length of the programme, being 6-months.

The programme

The following multiple methods were used:

  • Pre-course 360 Safety Leadership Questionnaire – A behavioural safety leadership questionnaire was designed through primary research into safety leadership. The aim of the 360 was to assist delegates in reflecting on their leadership and how others perceive them. Each person received a personal report and developed a coaching plan
  • Classroom learning – with content based on psychological elements for safety leadership and high performance. Each element used a film or media clip, as a means to engage delegates and encourage discussion of personal experiences alongside business psychological research, with each of three sessions delivered in a time focused period to maximise the use of the learning time
  • Action learning sets – were established in groups of three, with initial training for the group, and the encouragement to run the sets during their periods of deployment; helping each other in their learning as a team
  • 1-1 Coaching – delivered by phone links to offshore. The aim was to support learning transfer and help individuals remain focused on the personal goals set during the programme whilst working offshore
  • Work-based project – with the topic agreed with the line manager. The aim was to personalise learning, support the application of learning to real life issues and encourage engagement. Project presentations, at the end of the programme, were filmed and shared with the Managing Director and HR Director, with the encouragement and desire that ideas could have potential for wider application across the fleet
  • Workbooks – for individuals to create personal goals based on classroom learning and application of goals supported by 1-1 coaching
  • Award – Institute for Leadership & Management (ILM) Development Award – used to encourage engagement and completion of the work-based projects


The result is a programme that raises self-awareness through the 360 and uses evidenced-based learning content. This in turn encourages the application of learning through work-based projects that improve performance offshore, supports and challenges individual leadership through coaching, and rewards participation through an ILM Award for those who complete the required elements of the programme during its six month lifespan.

About the winners

Embrion -01Embrion is a business psychology consultancy company, led by Prof. Jonathan Passmore (pictured above with ABP Chair, Clodagh O’Reilly) and Jim McGovern.

Embrion focuses on leadership, coaching and change, and has offices in Scotland and England.

Its clients range from multi-national oil and gas companies to retail and financial services (for further information, visit

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