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Coaching for Culture with Mersey Care
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The team

A group of district nursing team leaders from South Liverpool took part in the 2018-19 cohort of the Innovation Agency’s coaching for culture programme. The team, led by care manager Anita Williams, were all from Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust. Mersey Care provides specialist inpatient and community services that support mental health, learning disabilities, addictions, brain injuries and physical health across the North West and beyond.

What we did

Anita Williams, Care Manager:

“Coming into my new role I quite quickly identified the problems, but I couldn’t really understand what the background was – what the culture and behaviours were behind it.

“The team culture diagnostic was very useful, I wish I could do it with all our other staff groups just to understand in depth what’s going on in the background. It’s all very well saying, ‘I haven’t had a break,’ but what’s actually going on?

“As part of the course I’ve set up explorative sessions, which we didn’t have before – engagement sessions with our own coaching department in the organisation and the staff. We’ve had one-to-one coaching development sessions with the teams I work with, moving away from strictly performance meetings to more of a nurturing, management supervision session.

“I think as a result I’ve seen a reduction in sickness levels in the teams that have engaged with the programme. Training has improved – and the staff look happier, which isn’t a bad thing!”

Anne Lamkin, Care Manager:

 “Probably our biggest challenge was making sure that staff were supported and felt that we were listening to them. It’s quite difficult when you have a large workforce and they’re all working on different sites at different times – trying to let them know that you are actually listening to their concerns can be a challenge.

“The forums have been really positive – people want to engage. We’ve realised that we do need to listen more to our staff. It’s about keeping them informed. We’re all so busy that sometimes you forget about communication.

“The Coaching Academy programme was a good opportunity for us to spend time with our team leaders away from the working environment, and to see them in a different light as well. It’s so different when you’re not in that working environment.”

Lynne Kane, District Nurse Team Leader:

“It’s been about making it fair, making sure the work was shared out across the team so that everyone got a break, and everyone got lunch. It feels more positive now. The overall environment for the team is much better. They seem much happier.

“Staff have come up to me saying it’s much better the way we do this – the team’s working better, we feel like we’re managing better, stress levels aren’t as high. We must be doing something right!

“One of the great things about the Coaching Academy was all of the team leaders getting together – there are things I’ve taken away from the other team leaders. We’ve never had that opportunity before to reflect on how people really felt. The results of the survey were quite upsetting at first, but now I definitely feel that we are turning a corner.”

The Coaching Academy

The Innovation Agency’s Coaching Academy is a programme that enables health and care professionals to improve culture, quality and safety of health and care through structured, focused interactions.

Coaching for a safe and continuously improving workplace culture is a one-year programme for clinical teams focused on developing safe, high-quality and compassionate services. The programme includes accredited coaching training for team leaders; a collaborative action learning programme with other teams, creating a community of practice; an accredited team culture diagnostic to identify key areas of focus; and quality improvement and innovation practical knowledge and skills.

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