Business coaching supports the growth of Valmet Automotive

Valmet Automotive, a fast-growing company, employs 800 people at its battery factory in Salo, Finland. In five years, turnover has grown from zero to €980 million. For the past two years, the Salo plant's growth has been spearheaded by Kimmo Suupohja, Managing Director of the Salo plant. Valmet Automotive used MPS Business Coaching on its growth journey.

During years of rapid growth, Managing Director Kimmo Suupohja was given the task of stabilising operations. Previously, there had been no time to develop pre-employee skills. For Kimmo, good management of the organisation has always been important and this is reflected in the results.

va_logo-e1528261601446 (003)

Coaching to support frontline staff

"We had been performing well and had exceeded all the results we had set ourselves, but we needed to develop our leadership," says Suupohja, describing the situation where coaching was introduced.

Valmet Automotive's Salo plant had a large number of fresh and young managers and there were also several organisational changes in the background, which made it necessary to invest in the development of managers.

The aim is also to improve the efficiency of the arrangement whereby Valmet Automotive Salo sends skilled workers and managers to new factories.

Minna Hirsimäki, who is responsible for business coaching services, and MPS were already familiar to Suupohja and the cooperation was based on strong trust. It's such an important task that you can't put it out to tender and see where you can get it cheap. You have to be sure that coaching works," Kimmo said.

Scepticism about coaching changed with his own experience

Kimmo Suupohja said that he had been very sceptical about coaching until he tried it himself years earlier through MPS:


"I found pain points in myself that I hadn't noticed and that I could work on. It opened my eyes and since then I have used coaching myself as a mentor".

The current collaboration between Valmet Automotive's managers and MPS includes both business coaching and traditional leadership coaching. The mix of these two methods is particularly suitable for young managers and executives.


Coaching is also effective for a leader who feels stuck

Coaching works for young people who do not yet have long experience, but also for experienced managers who are locked in or stuck in their leadership role. "A coach is good for opening up a bit and helping you think in a new way," said Kimmo Suupohja.

Coaching works best when the coachee has the interest and ability to reflect on and develop their own performance.

In Kimmo's opinion, coaching also works in a corrective situation, where a person needs to develop their leadership skills, for example.

Coaching for leadership confidence and business growth

The Salo battery factory employs 51 different nationalities and the working language of its employees is English. At Valmet Automotive, coaching is used in particular to support managers in their communication skills, to involve people and to develop leadership skills. "What is unique about us are the people," says Kimmo, explaining why the company wants to develop the skills of its managers.

When Kimmo Suupohja sees the coaching participants in the corridor of the workplace, he always asks how things are going with the coach: "I can see from their smiles and faces how excited they have been about the discussions."

Kimmo believes that being positive and enthusiastic and strengthening your own leadership skills also has a positive impact on business.

Coaching moves you forward and boosts your confidence

According to Kimmo, participants have gained many benefits from coaching, including

  • sparring in their pre-employment work
  • confirmation of their ideas and actions
  • stronger self-esteem
  • confidence in leading others
  • encouragement and steering of ideas in the right direction


Since coaching based on the organisation's goals always starts with a tripartite discussion (at Valmet Automotive, the CEO, the coach and the coachee were involved), the organisation's will is strongly involved in the coaching, even though participation is always a personal growth journey for each participant. 

A good coach has two ears and one mouth

Kimmo appreciates the fact that the coach is experienced and has been involved in working life himself, which gives him a better understanding of different situations. Listening skills, confidentiality and respect are also important in a coach. "A coach can also speak directly and challenge the coachee's beliefs. Coaching is not like porridge and strawberries," says Kimmo Suupohja, summing up the benefits of business coaching.

Minna Hirsimäki and Iiro Pohjanoksa, who coached Valmet Automotive's first employees, say the best thing about the cooperation has been that the participants were excited to open themselves up and reflect on their own management style, and two promotions have taken place during the coaching.

Business coaching is a coaching service for organisations, provided by more than 30 certified business coaches at MPS. A business coaching journey typically lasts between 3 and 12 months and the coach and the coachee meet 1-2 times a month.

Coaching is suitable, for example, for taking on a new role, for leaders in different situations, for those developing their supervisory skills, and for those facing challenging work situations.

Read more about MPS business coaching.

“ (1)

What makes us unique is our people.


Kimmo Suupohja

Managing Director, Valmet Automotive, Salo


Contact us