CHALLENGING ROLE PLAY | Engaging Excellence ~ Lowell Group

What the client wanted

The client is Lowell Group, a leading debt purchasing organisation based in Leeds, whose business is to acquire non-performing accounts from other organisations and recover the debt. This is an extremely stretching environment which calls for the highest levels of interpersonal skill, professionalism and ethical standards of all of the high calibre front-line staff.

The Engaging Excellence Programme was designed and delivered as a collaboration between Gill Parkin Consulting ( and Impromptu Ltd. The objective of this highly interactive workshop is to provide Team Leaders and Group Team Leaders from Lowell with an opportunity to develop their skills in handling challenging performance and behaviour related conversations with the Telephone Negotiators who work under them.

What we did

The programme was designed to maximise the hands-on, practical involvement of the participants. Half-day workshops were agreed with a small number of Team Leaders to enable as much experiential engagement as possible. The workshops comprised of two elements.

The first element comprised of ‘Snapshot Scenarios’ using the method of Forum Theatre. The role players portrayed unsatisfactory conversations between fictitious Team Leaders and Telephone Negotiators in realistic situations where challenging behaviours and attitudes were represented by the line-report. The task for the participants was to ‘coach’ the mock Team Leaders to improve their skills in managing the interaction.

Each scenario was then re-run with further coaching from the real Team Leaders to continuously improve the meeting and refine the participants understanding of the interpersonal and leadership skills required to handle this type of interaction effectively.

The second element used Tag Forum Role Playing (where the participants can tag in and out of the meeting) using a more sophisticated scenario incorporating a mix of business and personal issues. The Team Leaders were able to tailor the scenario to fit with real and live issues for them and thereby gain invaluable experience of confronting and dealing with complex, challenging and real situations in a safe and supportive environment.

They were also able, through the feedback and discussions, to gain rich insights into their own impact as Team Leaders, and develop effective strategies for maximising this impact.

The outcomes

Feedback has been extremely positive from this programme, not just on the day but, more importantly, Team Leaders reporting how effective they have been in applying the learning and new skills back in the workplace in conversations with members of their teams.

Chris Nowland, Group Training Manager from Lowell comments

“The success of any course is measured by the impact it has on the delegates and the results they are subsequently able to achieve.”

The ‘Engaging Excellence’ Programme has certainly delivered, as testified by one of the attendees. 

“The use of professional Role Players was ground breaking inspiring and effective. Through them I was able to coach my own underperformers and overcome real barriers to communication in order to identify and address root causes that resulted in poor performance. As soon as I left the session I immediately put what I learned into practise. The results were astounding. I am truly grateful for the training and development that is being provided at Lowell. Because of this I am now truly ‘Engaging Excellence’.”