Bosch China: Building a Coaching Culture

Siew Kim Jean Lee, Liman Zhao

Research output: Other contributionCase Studies


This case delves into the journey of Bosch (China) Investment Co., Ltd. (hereinafter “Bosch China”) as it looked to establish a coaching culture across three distinct phases: “initiation, development, and one step further”. It presents the background, challenges, reflections, and strategies entailed in this pursuit while exploring the way forward for its coaching culture as Bosch China approached the fifth anniversary of its Coach Club. In mid-2016, Bosch China introduced the “Coaching Practice of Leadership” course to facilitate its transition from traditional manufacturer to IoT-oriented tech firm while nurturing the required talents. However, the initiative met skepticism from executives right from inception. Through partnerships with external coaches, engagement of internal business executives, and operations of the coach club, Bosch China managed to get more and more employees to embrace the concept of “coaching”. As the company continued its journey, industry changes and pandemic disruptions posed substantial challenges, prompting Bosch Group to scale back China investments. Faced with slashed training budgets, Bosch China internalized coaching courses. It introduced team coaching to extend the reach of coaching leadership to a broader group of mid-level managers and business divisions. While the coaching culture took shape, the company made several trade-offs, exemplified in sections like “local identity vs. global alignment”, “independence vs. ICF accreditation”, and “taking proactive action vs. responding to needs”. After five years of exploration, Bosch China’s efforts to foster a coaching culture yielded tangible outcomes. Internally, this practice garnered recognition from executives like Han Dongli, Vice President of Bosch Intelligent Manufacturing Solutions China, and contributed to business growth in the divisions concerned. Externally, it earned accolades like the Ram Charan Management Practice Award and the ICF Germany Prism Award. Nevertheless, internal skepticism regarding the implementation of the coaching culture persisted. Some business executives viewed it as a mere garnish and argued that, given the significant business pressure, the company should prioritize skill training and employee development over pursuing a coaching culture. On November 15, 2021, Rosa Lee, Executive Vice President responsible for human resources management, received an invitation from Bosch's German headquarters to summarize her experiences of establishing a coaching culture at Bosch China and to promote it to a broader audience. The tension between advocates and detractors of coaching culture left Rosa Lee deep in thought: How should she demonstrate her experience building a coaching culture at Bosch China? Could it be replicated at HQ or within other organizations? What would be the essential conditions and steps for such an endeavor?
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2024

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Field Case

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Published by

China Europe International Business School


  • Coaching
  • coaching culture
  • coaching leadership
  • strategic transformation
  • team coaching
  • transactional leadership
  • transformational leadership
  • talent development

Case studies discipline

  • General Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Organizational Behavior

Case studies industry

  • Manufacturing
  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services


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