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Royal College of Physicians

When the Royal College of Physicians wanted to support its senior managers through a range of projects and change initiatives, it selected QA to run coaching sessions aligned to individuals' personal objectives.

The Challenge

The Royal College of Physicians (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, a coaching approach was selected which provided a roleoriented, bespoke developmental solution that could respond to specific challenges as they arose.

We chose one-to-one coaching as 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

The Solution

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 best 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

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 one represented underdeveloped skills or behaviours, and ten 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 Royal College of Physicians

The Royal College of Physicians 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.

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.

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

Learning and Development Manager | Royal College of Physicians

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