Strategies for Spread and Adoption

Mental health in the workplace

In 2019, our Spread and Adoption programme focused on innovations in mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. Participants brought a range of fantastic innovations at different stages of development. Some were fully fledged businesses while others were at earlier stages of planning and set up. This report includes some of their stories and 100-word ‘pitches’ that were honed during the programme.


Innovative leaders

Creative leaders: Taking a (re)freshed approach

The Coaching Academy was commissioned by the NHS North East and Yorkshire Leadership Academy (NEYLA) to deliver “Creative Leaders”, a series of four virtual bite-size workshops for health and care leaders at all levels, anywhere in the country, to learn about and apply creative leadership tactics to post-pandemic renewal and recovery challenges. The programme combined engaging personal reflection, interactive workshops, group coaching and an opportunity to collaborate with other leaders through an online community of practice.

Jackie Kerr, Primary Care and System Leadership Development Co-ordinator at NEYLA, said: “I am very task driven and focused on getting the job done. However, after attending the first two workshops, I realised not only the importance of stepping back and allowing yourself some “thinking” time but it also reminded me of the familiar saying: 'If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got' and how easy it is to fall into this trap. Natalie Latham, the workshop’s facilitator is very knowledgeable and engaging. Participants have been introduced to various models and tools and then given the opportunity to discuss and apply these in breakout sessions. The workshops have been very well received and I look forward to learning more about how to be more creative and think differently.”

Coaching for aspiring leaders

Helping people from protected groups get a seat at the board table

“The future I envision is one where we can change the dynamics of traditional boards, better represent the world we live in, and demonstrate that diverse boards are much more than a check-box exercise and a real source of corporate strength,” says Natasha Odita, Workforce Programme Manager/Strategic Workforce Lead at Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group, and a Merseyside resident.

To help people like Natasha see this vision become reality, NHS England and Improvement North West commissioned the Coaching Academy to develop a leadership development coaching programme in Cheshire and Merseyside to support people who identify with protected groups to take the next step in their career by becoming a non-executive director or board chair in health and care.

The focus on this level of leadership was because of the potential to have a ‘trickle-down’ effect on recruitment from protected groups at all other levels and make a significant impact to how whole organisations engage with both staff and service users who are members of protected groups. The Coaching Academy was pleased to have over 50 people come forward for the 10 spaces available in the programme. The programme featured: group discussions to strengthen professional networks and break down barriers, one-to-one coaching, a leadership assessment and guest NED speakers from local heathcare boards sharing experience and advice. Because of the level of interest and quality of applications, a second cohort is planned for early in 2023 with members of the first cohort helping shape 'phase 2' content.

Natasha says, “I’ve had a very diverse career path and I know I have a lot to offer as a NED. This programme has provided me with a community of practice where we can grow and achieve our aspirations together. It has given me confidence to know I am not alone. I also value being provided with space to clearly think about my strengths, and undercover strengths I didn’t realise I had and how to maximise them.”

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