NHS Senior Leadership Onboarding and Support

Coaching and Mentoring

Many leaders see sourcing a coach or mentor to support and develop leadership skills and performance as essential.

The key to finding the right support is to recognise what you hope to gain by having a coach or mentor and then find someone who you feel has the right experience and style to support your development. Though this may take a little time – it is worth the investment to gain the most out of the relationship.

You might use a coach for a defined period to support you in navigating challenging and ambiguous issues. You may work with a mentor over a longer period focusing on wider leadership skills and approaches across a career.

People approach finding a coach differently with some individuals accessing support via the NHS Leadership Academy, or through professional organisations and networks and others negotiating directly with their Chair or CEO for resources to fund a coach. The following resources support sourcing a coach or mentor and other materials to help you think about getting the most out those relationships.

Sourcing a Coach or Mentor

Expert coaching and mentoring body: European Coaching and Mentoring Council
Exists to develop, promote and set the expectation of best practice in mentoring, coaching, and supervision globally for the benefit of society. Their goal is to be the ‘go to’ body in mentoring, coaching, and supervision. It has a register of accredited individuals and their competency framework.

Expert coaching body: International Coaching Federation
Seeks to advance the coaching profession by setting high standards, providing independent certification and building a worldwide network of trained coaching professionals – it has research resources and has great tips for finding a coach.

Organisation: NHS Leadership Academy
The Regional Leadership Academies have registers of largely NHS staff who offer to coach and mentor colleagues at all levels of the service. Some of the academies have a number of executive level coaches on their books – contact your local Leadership Academy from the links on this page.

Professional faculty: Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management
The Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM), established in 2011 by all the UK medical royal colleges and faculties and endorsed by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, is the UK professional home for medical leadership. Their primary objective is to raise the standard of patient care by improving medical leadership and they have a register of coaches too.

Coaching professional body: The Association for Coaching
Established in 2002 and is an independent and not-for- profit professional body dedicated to promoting best practice and raising awareness and standards of coaching worldwide.

Reverse Mentoring

Reverse mentoring can provide a lens through which senior leaders can better understand the experience of people working in their organisation to create strategies and workplaces which improve the experience and development of staff to fulfill their own and the organisation’s potential.

Article: You can read about how Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust approached BAME Reverse mentoring here.

Article: Read the Harvard Business Review’s article about it . These kind of reverse mentoring relationships can support senior leadership insight into how we work to attract and retain younger staff.

Article: ‘Reverse Mentoring for Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (ReMEDI): building inclusive leadership and culture’. Read about how Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (DHCFT) has been operating in partnership with the University of Nottingham (UoN) and NHS Future Focused Finance’s Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Colleagues Network in order to establish the ‘reverse mentoring’ programme.

Top tips: NHS Horizon’s Top tips for Mentoring and Reverse Mentoring

Further materials

Book: BRANN, A. (2014) Neuroscience for coaches. London: Kogan Page.

Book: JONES, G. and GORELL, R. (2018) How to create a coaching culture. 2nd ed. HR Fundamentals. London: CIPD and Kogan Page.

Book: PARSLOE, E. and LEEDHAM, M. (2016) Coaching and mentoring: practical techniques for developing learning and performance. London: Kogan Page

Article: NORMAN, C. (2019) How to make a coaching relationship workPeople Management (online). 20 February.

Article: 8 Tips for Hiring and Using a Career Coach Forbes

Article: CEOs Need Mentors Too Harvard Business Review

Article: The unsolved value of executive coaching: A meta-analysis of outcomes using randomised control trial studies American Psychological Association