Young Banker revisited: Lynn McLeod on the importance of asking – and answering – questions

  • 18 February 2020
  • Blog | Young Banker of the Year | Blog

What was your winning idea?

The theme of the 1994 competition was ‘Know your customer’. My idea was about adopting a strategy for encouraging greater customer loyalty. The strategy was based on the themes of quality marketing and quality service, with a view to delighting customers and gaining a competitive advantage.

The ideas I talked about were given a name the following year in 1995 when the term Customer Relationship Management (CRM) was coined. By the end of the decade, CRM was in full swing.

What would you say have been your key achievements?

  1. Becoming Young Banker of the Year
  2. Contributing to improvements in key business measures in HBOS’s retail contact centres, following delivery of a range of leadership development interventions. In particular, getting people excited about coaching and the results it achieved in terms of beneficial outcomes for individuals, as well as enhancing individual, team and business performance
  3. Running my own coaching business for six years
  4. Completing a Master’s degree in coaching, and developing my own coaching model, which reflected my own approach to coaching that I’d developed and used over the years
  5. Making a contribution to professionalism in banking by developing qualifications, creating learning materials, designing assessments, and tutoring students for exam success
  6. Hand-rearing (and keeping!) four Labrador puppies from birth – probably the most challenging and exhausting thing I’ve ever done in my life – and the biggest learning experience.

Why the fascination with coaching?

It produces such amazing results! Training and education typically involve ‘transmitting’ information to help learners acquire knowledge and pass exams – through textbooks and e-learning, for example. Coaching is a dialogue – it involves asking questions to help us reflect on and learn from our own experience. So, for example, instead of saying: “Here’s what a great team leader does”, you might ask: “What does a great team leader do?”

When self-employed, I specialised in coaching leaders in education and teaching teachers how to bring a coaching approach into the classroom. One teacher even won an education award for using coaching to engage primary school children in their learning and spoke at conferences to spread the word about her success.

At the Chartered Banker Institute, when revising the learning materials for our new Professional Banker Certificate, I aimed to strike a balance between ‘transmitting’ information and asking questions to help students reflect on their experience, apply their learning, and enhance their own practice. Although not strictly a ‘dialogue’, I believe that whenever we are asked a question, we can’t help but answer it somewhere in our head.

How important has involvement with the Chartered Banker Institute been in your career?

Extremely important. I’ve been a member of the Institute since 1985 when I signed up to do my ‘bank exams’, as they were known at the time. I became fully qualified in 1989. In 2000, I was honoured to receive a Fellowship for my contribution to banking and the Institute’s objectives.

Between 1996 and 2011, when I joined the Institute as an employee, I worked with the Institute in a variety of ways, including:

  • Writing articles for the Institute’s magazine
  • Devising exams for management subjects
  • Marking and verifying exams
  • Participating in Moderating Review Committee meetings to ensure consistency of marking and verification standards
  • Authoring a book on call centre management
  • Contributing to the development of subject syllabuses
  • Tutoring students in professionalism and ethics
  • Facilitating revision days for students
  • Designing and delivering personal and professional development workshops to support members’ continuing professional development
  • Facilitating workshops in schools to help students develop skills for life and work in support of the Institute’s Financial Education Partnership programme.

What do you enjoy most about Young Banker of the Year now?

Seeing how much talent, innovation and professionalism there is in banking. The ideas that today’s young bankers bring to the table are just incredible. We are so lucky to have such talented young people in our profession to inspire new generations and contribute to the development of banking both now and in the future.

Lynn McLeod is Head of Learning and Assessment at the Chartered Banker Institute. In 1994, when she became Young Banker of the Year, she was Training Officer for Banking of Scotland’s direct banking division.

Find out more about 2020’s Chartered Banker Young Banker of the Year competition, which is now open for entries. Please note: submissions must be received by 26 March.