Unlimited Potential has been working with the NHS Leadership Academy – offering external coaching for its Chief Executives, its executive teams and senior directors. This work is helping to embed a coaching culture at the organisation – with the aim of improved patient outcomes.
The NHS prioritises coaching as an intervention for its leaders. This encourages a coaching culture at the organisation, leading to fewer staff grievances, higher-quality conversations, increased engagement, improved staff output and therefore better patient outcomes. For several years it has had an internal coaching database made up of NHS staff who are fully qualified and experienced coaches. Any leader in the NHS can access the database and find a coach for themselves.
To fully embed a coaching culture across the organisation, it was essential that leaders at all levels were actively engaged in coaching. But Chief Executives, Directors and other senior leaders were reluctant to use the internal database. They needed a ‘safe space’ to talk about difficulties in the workplace with someone independent. The NHS Leadership Academy believed external coaching could support talent management and succession planning – allowing individuals to discuss career aspirations with somebody from outside the organisation. The NHS turned to Unlimited Potential to fill the gap.
Unlimited Potential worked closely with the NHS Leadership Academy to understand the NHS and its senior leadership population. It was also important that the coaching we offered seamlessly fitted in with the existing NHS process to connect people with coaches.
Those senior NHS leaders seeking an external coach are put in touch with Unlimited Potential. We have an initial conversation to fully understand what the individual needs to achieve through the coaching. After the conversation, we find suitable coaches and hold a ‘chemistry meeting’ (or meetings) where the individual and coach meet, to discover whether they can work well together. Once a leader has found a suitable coach, they both commit to four coaching sessions.
Once the sessions have taken place, we send the individual a confidential report – and we send a summary to the NHS Leadership Academy (with confidential details excluded). We also ask the individual to evaluate the experience and the impact it has had.
“We’ve had really good reports – and we’ve had Chief Executives who want to extend their coaching with Unlimited Potential. A return customer is a happy customer.” –
The evaluation reveals that the coaching scheme has been very successful. Individuals feel more confident and are better able to have quality conversations with colleagues. Several senior leaders and Chief Executives have requested additional sessions as they have found the coaching to be so effective.
Unlimited Potential continues to provide coaching to senior leaders at the NHS. Our coaching still receives good feedback and we often get requests from leaders for additional sessions.