Case Studies

16/11/2009 - NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement


Developing Coaching Skills & Capabilities

The NHS Institute decided to build its coaching capabilities within the service through a Coaching Skills Development programme with The School of Coaching.

The National Health Service Institute
The NHS Institute assists the National Health Service (NHS) in transforming healthcare for patients by developing and spreading new work practices, technology and improved leadership.

Business Challenge
To support senior leaders through major change and to help them be successful beyond the transition.

Client Goals
The Institute’s objective was to develop a nationwide community of coaches enabling both new and accredited
coaches to learn and support each other in their own role (and as coaches) of rigorous and effective coaching to leaders and managers within the NHS from a diversity of backgrounds. The programmes would need to be delivered to tight timescales and complex logistics.

How The School of Coaching Helped
In developing coaching skills amongst a wide and diverse population in the medical and scientific arena, one of our examples is developing CEO’s, directors and managers in cohort groups for the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement. To start we developed our understanding of the context in which coaches would be asked to operate the expectations that we made upon them and the intended impact of their coaching.

This allowed us to develop a programme that included:

  • A selection process
  • An assessment process
  • Three two day back-to-back teaching modules
  • Pre and post-programme one-to-one coaching sessions with faculty
  • The completion of learning logs for the certification process
  • A formal evaluation process
  • Regular meetings with the programme leaders and the client contacts
  • Regular review of feedback from participants

The programme was highly experiential with participants practicing coaching in every workshop and between workshops with ‘practice clients’. Learning was supported by group discussion and input from the Faculty.


The Programme was successful:

  • 85 participants went through the programme in six cohorts. 79 of these participants were accredited, initially, most of those who ‘failed’ were coached further, re-submitted and then accredited.
  • Nine of the participants went on to complete an Advanced Programme. The two programmes together equalled The School’s flagship Coach’s Programme, accredited to Senior Practitioner level with the EMCC.
  • As a direct consequence of the programme approximately 500 other NHS staff received coaching.
  • The reputation of the programme led to a further 18 programmes of a similar nature being run in other Trusts.
  • A further five CEOs either engaged in coaching for themselves or their team, or both.

Participant feedback included the following:

  • Appreciation of the mix of models, techniques, group discussion and time spent practicing the skills.
  • The appropriateness of the learning to the real workplace needs; pragmatic and practical.
  • The value of the one-on-one relationship with a member of Faculty in that real focus was established, appropriate feedback was given and on-going support received.
  • The inspiration given by the depth of experience and authenticity of the Faculty.
  • The structure of the programme; principally the two day events which gave for a suitable intense yet reflective environment while minimising travel time.
  • There were comments about the intensity of the programme and the perception that too much content was included.

The learning that The School has taken from this experience, and that we have designed into the proposal includes:

  • Maintaining the rigour of the one-on-ones and the assessment process
  • Building the programme around two-day events
  • Keeping the intellectual content to an appropriate minimum and leaving more time for practice under supervision, reflection and group discussion



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