csNHS1: coaching culture for London Trust Hospital


A multi-site NHS Trust Hospital in London wanted both a cultural shift towards a ‘Coaching Organisation’ and improved development of staff by managers.


Medical staff were largely not developing others in spite of corporate policy. There was a culture of manage and tell in medical, research, support and senior management staff. The exigencies of emergency and critical care tended to underpin the existing traits of fire-fighting, stress and telling or doing (rather than teaching and delegating).


We co-developed a strategic learning journey for senior and middle managers among the 6,500 staff and a multi-level awareness programme running before, during and after the 4-year intervention. High-level awareness meetings, HR training programme in coaching for the Director down, staff-awareness meetings, pre-course work, modulized training interventions with inter-training activities, a post-course coaching forum for graduates of the programme, and continuing opportunities for further-skills development.


As the programme developed a second level of modulized training was delivered for more junior levels of management across every activity in the Trust, with themed learning. Additionally, some 1-2-1 coaching sessions were also delivered. Culture-wide outcomes were limited by cash-flow isues in years 2 & 3 but in several Trust areas of activity, where all or most managers had been on the course, there was a seismic shift in management approach to one of questioning and developing people as a preferred approach with most people, most of the time. If the full funding had been available, this could have produced a Trust-wide impact and more work remains to be done when funding allows. The courses attracted matrons, nursing officers, leading research scientists, finance managers, organisational development team, consultants, directors and heads of faculty. Over half a dozen managers outside of HR functions went on to do 10-20 days of further coach-training.