Meet our client: The Royal College of Physicians

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) supports and represents physicians and is responsible for setting and monitoring standards of medical training-providing educational programmes and evidence-based clinical guidelines and audits, to support fellows and members in improving clinical care. In addition, RCP takes a wide role in public health. Read more about RCP on their website. 

The challenge:

The RCP wanted to offer individual support for its senior managers involved in high profile or complex projects and change initiatives. To accommodate the complex, changing and confidential nature of these activities, they selected a coaching approach that provided a role-oriented, bespoke developmental solution that could respond to specific challenges as they arose.

The solution:

“We chose one-to-one coaching at our preferred learning style so we could target the real issues actually experienced by our senior managers.” – Kevin Crabtree, Learning and Development Manager, Royal College of Physicians

RCP decided that, to obtain optimum results, they would offer coaching on an optional basis. As senior managers put themselves forward, they were matched to a coach. Due to the confidential and personal nature of the process, it was important that each individual was matched to a coach they could work well with and who could provide an ideal balance of challenge and support. To facilitate this, an initial consultation meeting was held to identify the left match.

Once each participating manager had been allocated a coach, a set of coaching objectives were agreed. These consisted of a significant primary objective, accompanied by a number of additional goals. These pre-agreed objectives provided the primary focus throughout the programme and were used to review and, where necessary, refocus the process. In addition, individuals were encouraged to bring other issues to the sessions.

The coaching programme was designed to lead senior managers through three coaching stages:

  • Clarifying: objectives and measures of success defined and agreed
  • Practising: new skills, techniques and behaviours practised
  • Mastery:  taking ownership of learning and transferring it to standard business practice
“We felt coaching provided better return on investment more quickly. Because it’s one-to-one, individuals have more time and can focus on their specific situations more than they could with ‘chalk and talk’ courses. The coaches we use really know and understand our organisation and its politics.” – Kevin Crabtree

At each stage of the coaching journey, the intervals between coaching sessions were increased. Sessions were held close together at the start of the programme to gather momentum, and further apart towards the end, allowing more time for the consolidation of skills and behavioural changes taking place. Additionally, ongoing support was available between sessions. Senior managers could liaise with their coach by email, or for more urgent or complicated enquiries, by telephone.

At the start, middle and end of the coaching programme, individuals self-assessed their progress against each of their coaching objectives. Individuals were asked to chart their skills or capabilities on a calibration scale, on which 1 represented underdeveloped skills or behaviours, and 10 represented impeccable performance. By plotting subsequent assessments on the same chart, a visual representation of an individual’s progress could be produced. These calibration scales were used to benchmark development as the coaching progressed.

The outcome

Following the introduction of the coaching, RCP has observed enhanced performance by those undergoing coaching, as well as improved communication within teams. Self-assessments have returned consistently positive results – the aggregated results indicate that, overall, individuals felt their abilities had doubled between the start and end of the process.

Due to the success of the initial sessions for senior managers, there has been a positive uptake and the process is now being introduced at other levels within the organisation, with managers recommending coaching for individuals within their teams.

How can QA help your organisation?

Find out how QA's Managed Learning Services (MLS) can help your organisation to identify skills gaps, training opportunities and individuals' career paths and to manage your learning and training needs in a cost-effective way, including degree apprenticeships of existing employees or recruiting new apprentices or tech consultants if needed. Click here for more about MLS.

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