Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) have a presence in nearly every community and aim to build a more diverse workforce to reflect the communities they serve. YSC Consulting and LBG worked in partnership to prepare women for senior leadership succession.


In seeking to ensure the company represents their customers, LBG aimed to bring about long-term sustainable change.

  • LBG have made a commitment to having 40% of their senior roles filled by women by 2020, from a baseline figure of 27%.
  • LBG’s Human Resource Director of Culture, Capability and Engagement was keen to investigate the cultural enablers and inhibitors.


YSC’s experience in diversity and inclusion (see YSC’s 30% Club research, ‘Cracking the Code’) made YSC a good partner to achieve LBG’s vision. The Sponsoring Leadership Programme, was constructed to:

  • Focus on sponsorship, because having a sponsor is a key enabler of satisfaction with career progression.
  • Create a cultural shift amongst senior leaders and opportunities for LBG’s most talented women.
  • Prepare a group of high performing women leaders for a move into more senior leadership roles within 18 months, by Clarifying aspirations and informing development plans which would provide the insight for sponsorship and self-advocacy.


  • A group of 26 high performing female leaders in significant roles were sponsored by male and female senior executives. The pairing was on the basis of creating partnerships of difference.
  • Championing of the programme by Andrew Bester, CEO of Commercial Banking at LBG, demonstrated the importance of diversifying leadership at LBG, and helped attract volunteer sponsors.


  • YSC facilitated a developmental interview exploring early life, critical career turning points and leadership experiences, which each female leader.
  • A detailed report for each participant was explored in a two-hour coaching session and a development plan was constructed.
  • Follow-up calls between the participant, YSC coach and line manager provided further support and insight.


  • Through a series of development events and online collaboration, LBG and YSC fostered a sense of community in the sponsor groups.
  • This was to create benefits in addition to simply the one on one relationships.


  • The Sponsoring Leadership Programme addressed the need to change current senior leaders’ mind-sets and helped them to address their own unconscious bias with hiring and developing female talent.
  • The sponsors experienced satisfaction in supporting and challenging their sponsees and influencing future hiring decisions. Also, through the YSC insight process, they had more awareness of the career issues their female sponsees were dealing with.
  • Through the YSC interview and relationship with their sponsor, the female leaders on the programme became aware of different career paths they could access. They recognised how they routinely underestimated their abilities and self-selected out of more senior promotion opportunities.
  • Twelve of the 26 participants have since been promoted or moved into developmental roles to support their growth.


For LBG to achieve the shift in gender, YSC is advising that the demand side of the equation may offer the biggest potential for large scale change. Mobilising men and women equally to create change is the big win.


“The Sponsoring Leadership Programme is providing a small step in the right direction. There is so much more to be done but we are excited by the momentum this is creating. The approach is being replicated at more junior grades in the organisation, driven by some of our sponsors from the Sponsoring Leadership Programme.” Kate Guthrie, HR Director of Culture, Capability and Engagement.