About SEC Recruitment

Carly Brunsden is the People Director at SEC. It’s her role, as head of the Talent Team, to ensure that the company’s employees are fully supported in their long-term career growth. SEC offers employees a full learning and development programme to ensure they are equipped with the knowledge and skillsets they need to forge a successful career within the company.

“Our differentiation is our people, which is why we invest heavily in our workforce,” says Carly, “We recently undertook an internal survey to pinpoint what was important to our staff. From these findings, we identified four explicit values that now form the foundations of everything we do as an organisation: trust, honesty, integrity and commitment. These values guide the way we treat our staff, which is why personal and professional development is high on the agenda.”

The challenge

To progress in their careers, Billing Managers need to combine their own billings alongside that of managing and supporting a sales team. They are expected to coach, nurture and develop the people around them.

“By the very nature of the job, sales people often learn to adopt a selfish attitude,” says Carly. “It’s embedded behaviour that has served them well when tasked with hitting personal targets. But this ‘selfish subconscious’ can conflict with their new role as a mentor and team leader. We needed to re-engineer their mindsets so they recognise and accept that the success of the entire team reflects on them as leaders.”

The Solution

SEC Recruitment chose to partner with Team Head Coach.

“Although Team Head Coach specialises in recruitment, this was a bonus rather than a requirement,” says Carly. “It was more important that the external coaching was a good cultural fit with our organisation. We needed a programme that would first allow our managers to identify their own learned behaviour and its impact on their ability to nurture and develop within their teams. Secondly, we needed a programme that would enable our managers to use this knowledge to develop new communication and management skills.”

Carly continues, “As well as coaching the people already in a team leader position, we were also looking to identify those individuals who would make good team leaders of the future. This is why we included senior consultants in the management training programme. It gives them a taste of what being a team leader involves, so they can decide whether it’s a path they want to pursue.”

Michael Whatman from Team Head Coach says, “The Billings Manager Programme has been developed to address the unique challenges faced by many recruitment teams. The overriding objective is to give team leaders the tools they need to create a strong, high-performance culture. The programme investigates team dynamics, introduces new techniques for more effective collaboration and demonstrates a range of methods to help develop winning mind-sets.”

The 90-day programme consists of five stages, the first is all about self-reflection.

Michael explains, “Many people turn up for the first session with a negative attitude. I understand this. If you’ve been doing the role for a while, and everything’s going well, you will probably feel it’s a pointless exercise. The first thing we do is to set a series of activities that start to break down those barriers. Participants begin to see for themselves how their unconscious bias could be affecting the way they interact with the team. At this point most people are fully on-board and enthusiastic – they understand the value of the programme.”

The initial coaching programme took place at SEC Recruitments London office in March 2018 with 10 people. This was repeated the following year with a different group of 10 participants.

Participants ranged from senior consultants who are considering moving into a leadership role, billing managers already managing their own team, and the sales directors. It is important to SEC that senior sales managers and team leaders behave in a consistent and professional manner when managing their internal teams. Allowing all managers to undertake the same coaching programme enables SEC to achieve this.

The Result

Carly says that the programme was a very positive experience for all employees involved.

“As is normal with an external training provider, for one reason or another some are people are less enthusiastic than others,” says Carly. “Michael and his team are extremely professional at handling participants with varying levels of enthusiasm. The experiential activities, designed to expose potential problems and weaknesses, were extremely effective at focusing everyone’s minds.”

Carly continues, “We especially liked the elite sports mentality and metaphor-based training offered by Team Head Coach. It’s an approach that offers synergy with our own sales environment. The combination of a competitive and challenging environment, in a setting that requires individuals to work as a team to achieve the best results, relates well to our staff.”


  • Participants learnt a lot about themselves: they were initially surprised about their own ingrained tendencies and preferences
  • Managers are far more self-aware and understand their own potential for unconscious bias
  • The company has developed a common language and consistency across all managers and teams
  • The creation of a set of coaching strategies that are helping managers support and nurture their teams

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