resilience of NHS team

Case Study: Building the resilience of an NHS team at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic

Situation:

The Head of a regional commissioning team in the NHS wanted to use coaching to increase the personal and professional resilience of their team. At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, they were under enormous pressure to deliver in a fast-changing environment. In addition, the team had recently been through a major restructure which had impacted upon team morale and dynamics, and they were finding remote working challenging.

Task:

Desired coaching outcomes:

  • Career progression and leadership development, for example, develop skills and confidence to delegate work; deal with workplace conflict; have difficult conversations; develop communication & assertiveness skills; feel more organised and in control of workload
  • Developing capability within the team, including building self-belief and confidence in team members so they can take on more responsibility, lead on projects, manage staff, present in meetings and to audiences, as required within their current roles
  • Improvements in health and wellbeing, including achieving a better work-life balance; buildingresilience and developing coping mechanisms for dealing with work-related stress

Action:

A total of 9 managers received 1-2-1 coaching. Four members of the senior management team signed up to my 1-2-1 Executive Leadership Coaching Programme – this included the project sponsor and their direct reports. A further 5 managers were each offered six 1-2-1 executive coaching sessions to support their professional development. I used a range of evidence-based psychological coaching approaches including assessments to identify individual team members’ emotional resilience risks and strengths, workplace strengths, values and cultural fit, and leadership style. Coaching psychology tools, techniques and approaches were tailored to the needs of individuals. This included: performance coaching, cognitive-behavioural coaching (CBC), rational emotive behavioural techniques (REBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), solution-focused approaches, stress management techniques, health coaching, and training in communication and assertiveness skills.

Results:

Major insights and/or breakthroughs that coachees reported making through coaching:

  • Leadership development – better understanding of personal leadership style; clarity about personal development priorities
  • Improved performance and organisational skills
  • Increased self-confidence & assertiveness, e.g., in relation to delegating work; decision-making; speaking up in meetings; leading on projects; having difficult conversations
  • Learning about myself – self-reflection; greater self-awareness
  • Developing a more positive mindset
  • Feeling a greater sense of control, e.g., over workload
  • Improved work-life balance, including recognising personal stress triggers and developing coping mechanisms to better manage work-related stress
  • Improvements to health and wellbeing, e.g., lifestyle changes, such as making positive changes to diet; exercise routines; sleep; taking breaks; phone/social media use; etc.

Coachees reported they will now do these things differently as a result of the coaching:

  • Take the time to step back, reflect and think things through thoroughly
  • Be less self-critical
  • Accept what is within and outside of one’s control
  • Act with greater self-confidence, for example, acknowledging the strengths they bring to the team, contributing more to discussions in meetings and vocalising concerns, as necessary
  • Adjust approach to maintain better relationships at work

Coachees felt they benefited from and/or enjoyed the following aspects the most:

  • Having a neutral person who listens and with whom it is possible to discuss issues, explore options, and find solutions
  • Dedicated time for personal development
  • Improved relationships within the team
  • Gaining a better understanding of the cause of some frustrations at work and finding more helpful ways of dealing with these, e.g., accepting what is inside and outside of one’s own control

Ratings (average score out of 10)

  • Extent to which coaching contributed to the actual achievement of the goal – 9
  • Overall usefulness of results to the individual – 9
  • Overall satisfaction with the coaching – 10
  • Likelihood of recommending this coach to a friend or colleague – 10
  • Likelihood of recommending coaching in general as a method to friends and colleagues – 9