Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals NHS Trust - building high performing teams through coaching

Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is the largest provider of acute hospital services in Surrey. From two hospital sites, Ashford Hospital, Middlesex, and St Peter's Hospital in Chertsey, the Trust serves a population of around 380,000 people.

The coach development programme has been one of the most powerful elements in developing the Trust’s coaching culture.

Louise McKenzie, Director of Workforce Transformation at Ashford and St Peter's

Building high-performing teams through coaching

Research indicates that team coaching in the NHS improves team performance, which in turn improves patient outcomes (source: International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring Special, 2011). The Trust was a pioneer in this area, being the first to undertake cross-functional team coaching across the whole organisation, bringing together staff who have a direct impact on patient outcomes through its Team ASPH coaching programme.

Lane4 has worked with the Trust on its team coaching programme since it started in 2012. Louise McKenzie, Director of Workforce Transformation at Ashford St. Peters NHS Foundation Trust, comments, “Our aim is to create good team dynamics, work better across traditional clinical hierarchies, encourage new ways of thinking and working, and build on the strengths of team members to complement one another’s skills. It’s true to say that Lane4 had to overcome some initial scepticism in running team coaching sessions, but the benefits of helping teams to drive their own performance have become evident in a number of departments.”

Enabling innovation

Louise notes, “The team coaching process is very collaborative and action-based, with teams using the workshops to devise a practical plan to solve problems and make change happen.”

The issues that teams have tackled through team coaching include:

  • Empowering the Endoscopy team to enable them to achieve an external accreditation standard that they had been struggling for a number of years to achieve
  • Doctors, nurses, managers and IT staff in Post-natal Care optimising their processes together for better patient care
  • Day Surgery forging a stronger team identity in order to influence key stakeholders, such as negotiating effectively with surgeons

Developing a coaching culture

The Board subsequently approved the business case for a second programme to develop strong internal team coaches within the organisation. The first cohort has now successfully completed their training.

Louise is clear about the impact: “I believe the internal coach development programme has been one of the most powerful elements in developing the Trust’s coaching culture. We are equipping senior managers and clinicians to lead their teams in building stronger relationships and holding better quality conversations. They have the skills to be more autonomous in managing complex change and solving problems. It has been immensely empowering for the coaches”

Louise, who participated in the programme herself, says, “The training from Lane4 has been rigorous. We’ve met regularly as a group during the year-long programme, creating personal portfolios of evidence in the interim. It’s significant that four senior doctors completed the programme, quite a commitment given their workload, demonstrating that they saw the value of the training. All of the participants felt they had learnt invaluable new skills, helping their colleagues to unlock their potential, and critically helping teams to learn together rather than being told what to do. We are determined to keep the momentum going and integrate what we have learnt into our day-to-day work.”

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