Case study

Creating A Leadership Capability Framework With Coats


With a rich heritage dating back to the 1750s, Coats is the world’s leading industrial thread and textile crafts business. A truly global company, Coats operates in more than 70 countries, employing 20,000 people across six continents. YSC Consulting’s role was to support the market leader in textile manufacturing to identify, define and roll out a new leadership framework to maintain market leadership, build pride in the brand and drive future growth.

Coats recognized that despite its longstanding and global market presence, complacency was not an option. Like other textile manufacturers, the business faced increasing market complexity and volatility. This was due to a range of factors such as technological and regulatory changes, increasing customer expectations and competition and flux in labor and talent demands across different pockets of the globe.

Consequently, the business needed to adopt more flexible and bolder ways of operating in order to remain competitively agile. From a leadership perspective, this meant getting clear on the behaviors needed to take the organization forward and fulfil its vision, without losing the rich threads of Coats’ DNA that had underpinned success to date.


In order to assist the business in achieving its vision across a dynamic global landscape, Coats enlisted YSC as a partner to create a profile of success from a behavioral perspective.

More specifically, this meant developing a custom leadership capability framework that could be applied across the business to underpin all HR and Organizational Development initiatives, including selection, talent and leadership development, succession planning and performance management.

We worked closely with the Head of Talent & Learning, the senior leadership team and a representative cross-section of the broader business to ensure that the framework was culturally resonant and applicable across the full spectrum of the global business.

The diagnostic phase engaged the senior leadership team to understand the contextual challenges inherent in the industry and implications for Coats. This was supplemented by YSC cross-industry research, our leadership capability benchmarking database and YSC’s JDI Model of Potential.

The draft profile was then developed in broad consultation with 200+ members of the business spanning organizational levels, geographies and functions. We employed a multi-pronged and iterative approach involving stakeholder interviews, online surveys and focus groups.

This enabled us to get a holistic perspective on what success looked like anywhere from a Manufacturing Manager in India to a Sales Representative in ANZ; from a Finance Director in USA to a Quality Assessor in Europe.

Once a straw man framework was developed, YSC partnered with the business in testing the framework by clarifying key leadership transitions and agreeing on capability language that was reflective of Coats’ spirit, values and brand.


The leadership capability framework was launched successfully throughout the business and received with resoundingly positive feedback from the CEO and wider business. The transparency, organizational relevance and rigor behind it were particularly well received.

Since its inception, Coats has integrated the framework into various Organizational Development & HR initiatives, in order to drive capability and grow bench strength at a global level. It offers clear, measurable dimensions that underlie Coats’ principles, goals and vision for success.

Following this piece of consultancy work, we have continued our close relationship with the business and are working with Coats in a number of areas including selection and talent development.

“The key to delivering a successful talent and learning strategy for Coats is prioritization: knowing what will have the greatest impact on growth, productivity and teamwork and then delivering it successfully in a complex, global environment. None of this could have been achieved without first laying down an infrastructure that describes what excellent performance looks like in terms of skills and behaviors across all functions and levels in the organization. YSC’s pragmatic, yet future-focused, work on the LCF provided that infrastructure and, therefore, brought coherence which meant we could move on to delivery.”

Simon Youngs, Head of Talent & Learning, Coats