The Coaching Academy has decades of combined experience in the health, care, education and the public sector, including many team members with highly specialised skills and knowledge. We’ll match the best team member to your challenge, to ensure a great partnership. Many of our managers and associates are qualified coaches and highly experienced facilitators, with strong connections in the North West Coast.
Jen Kohan, Head of the Coaching Academy
Jen Kohan's love for gardening mirrors her professional practice: she nurtures others, supports growth and also gets her hands dirty!
Jen’s public service background in the United States as a secondary school teacher, instructional coach, education policy advisor and trade union organiser has given her a unique perspective and set of skills to benefit the Coaching Academy, Innovation Agency and our wider health and care ecosystem.
As the Head of the Coaching Academy, Jen is passionate about developing innovative curriculum and programming but feels her greatest asset is in facilitating restorative, courageous conversations. She creates and holds space for communities to learn together, build relationships, collaborate honestly and navigate change. Her person-centred ethos is the bedrock of her practice as a facilitator and coach.
Jen holds a senior coaching credential from the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC), and is particularly proud of developing the Coaching Academy’s two EMCC-accredited coach training programmes, which help to create system capacity for innovation and improvement.
Wendy Burton, Senior Programme Manager
Years ago, when Wendy Burton was being coached, her coach asked: What kind of fire are you? A flickering flame, a bonfire, or do you light little fires everywhere you go? Wendy says, “My coaching career has been lighting little fires with people. You can’t turn the Queen Mary around [the NHS], but I can work with people to light little fires. When you light their fires, they go off and light fires of their own. Or you help them reignite their flame. That’s where I get my job satisfaction from: lighting somebody else’s fire.”
Wendy continues to develop herself in conflict coaching and change, and is most proud of the work she has done with teams in difficulty, when she has had an opportunity to be “brave with brave people”. She says, “Systems often put a lid on things, ignore them or manage through punitive processes. It doesn’t work. The issues rumble along under the surface causing more damage until they erupt."
Wendy is passionate about restoration and how we build relationships that can endure and be sustained through constant change. In the past, Wendy’s work included supporting teams to deconstruct and rebuild services at risk of being decommissioned and influencing culture changes within challenging areas of practice, where they were also at risk. Although the process can be uncomfortable, it’s the right thing to do from a quality and patient experience perspective: two themes that have followed Wendy throughout the NHS since she became a registered nurse in 1981. She maintains her registration and CPD today – something that is also very is important to her, despite branching off into OD roles 14 years ago.
Wendy has a BA in clinical leadership and a MSc in Healthcare Leadership. Her research dissertation examined compassionate leadership linked to systems. . Another concept she feels passionately about.
Outside of work, Wendy spends time with her family, including two grandchildren. You can also find her wild camping and bee keeping.
Lindsey Roome, Senior Programme Manager
Lindsey Roome has 26 years of experience in different roles and parts of the NHS, primarily in Lancashire and south Cumbria. “I’ve been an opportunist!” she says. Beginning her career in HR and Organisational Development, Lindsey then received a Masters in Health Care Leadership and became involved in large projects involving digital care records and population health. It was here she became particularly interested in behaviour change, personalised care and health coaching: how to enable people to take more responsibility and make better decisions about their health.
Lindsey feels her biggest strength is as a “honest broker” where she can put people at ease and bring them together to have difficult conversations. Lindsey’s goal is to see organisations foster a learning culture where people aren’t afraid to fail or take risks; where they learn to be less suspicious of change and recognise that they are all working together for the same goals. “We are stronger collectively. Collective decisions are the ones that stick at the end of the day.”
Outside of work Lindsey enjoys yoga, walks in her local area and time in her garden and greenhouse.
Natalie Latham, Programme Manager
Natalie Latham has found her niche in organisational development and systems thinking – making her a very welcome addition to the Coaching Academy at the start of 2022. She loves understanding the complexities of organisations: culture, history, where power sits, how decisions are made. Prior to becoming an OD practitioner, Natalie experienced a number of service transformations in public sector roles where the culture and workforce weren’t ready for change. The impact this had on staff and ultimately the services they were able to provide made a huge impression on her and has inspired her to help other organisations to avoid a similar fate. And nowhere was culture more important to understand than when Natalie worked as an OD business partner in secure and specialist learning disability services for the NHS – which included secure hospital environments. Natalie believes “the future is in the system” and she wants to encourage organisations and individuals to look outward and form long-reaching connections. It’s a perfect time to do this with the formation of integrated care systems.
In Natalie’s downtime she likes to escape to the mountains and beaches of North Wales and burying her head in a book. In 2020 she set a goal of reading 50 books and she finished 52!
Siân Taylor, Associate
Siân Taylor began her coaching journey over 15 years ago to apply the skills in her own managerial roles. After working in a number of science research management roles in the North West and obtaining coaching qualifications she naturally began to shift from coaching her immediate team to coaching peers and senior leaders. Sian was fascinated to see how organisational culture was influencing leaders, and the effect that had on staff. “When I spoke with other managers, it became clear that they were concerned about how the system was shaping their senior colleagues. They wanted to lead differently. I knew I was in a unique position to help them, and improve the overall organisational culture through coaching. It is rewarding to know that you are creating a ripple effect by helping individuals to lead differently”. The relationships that she has formed have been so fruitful that nearly 5 years ago she decided to become a professional coach with her own consultancy. “Working with my coachees, I can offer challenge and a different perspective, without judgement, which enables them to become more self aware, confront vulnerabilities to become more confident, look forward and be proactive.” It is through Sian’s consultancy that she began supporting the Coaching Academy in a number of our programmes, including Evaluation Fundamentals and the new leadership development programme for aspiring NEDs. Sian’s depth of experience in both health sciences and coaching has given her a unique perspective that Coaching Academy learners have truly benefitted from.
Gill Phazey, Associate
Gill Phazey, organisational and leadership development expert, likes to ask a lot of questions: How can we help people bring the best of themselves every day? How are our organisational and cultural structures allowing people to bring their own skills and passions to work? How do we create the sense of belonging where we value what people bring? How do we really appreciate that inclusivity?
These are all important to ask within the NHS – where Gill has spent nearly all her career. She describes herself as a jack of all trades, and, within the world of OD, Gill has done a little of everything. However, her passion is designing and delivering developmental programmes. She wants to help learners walk away with what they need to be good leaders, create a good service, transform things to make them better. When coaching people in leadership positions, Gill loves to see them reach an “ah-ha” moment when they uncover the leadership skills they already have within.
Gill has been working as an independent consultant since 2013, which has given her the flexibility to lend her skills to health and care organisations throughout the North West who are in need of her expertise. She has provided the Coaching Academy with coaching and programme management support, most notably with the clinical and care professional leadership framework for NHS England.
Claire Haigh, Associate
Claire Haigh has extensive organisational transformation and development experience in the public sector in the North West and is particularly passionate about system-wide working and open collaboration with service users. “Doing things the 'quick and easy way' means we end up with the wrong answers to the challenges we have. There needs to be shared power between stakeholders, and services need to be co-designed. I want to make sure we hear all voices, not just the loudest.”
In some of Claire’s previous roles she felt like she wasn’t making a difference, so in 2016 she took a leap of faith to start a community interest company with a business partner. “Working independently means I can choose to work with organizations who share my values,” says Claire. She has since supported a number of regional and national initiatives for clients, particularly within the care sector.
Claire has been involved with the Coaching Academy since our beginning, supporting workshops and providing coaching expertise. In particular, she was instrumental in creating the Spread and Adoption online programme. Most recently she has supported the Coaching Academy with online consultation for the development of the Cheshire & Merseyside ICS’s clinical and care leadership framework.
Paula Furmedge, Associate
“Coaching can be truly transformational” says Paula Furmedge, coach and organisational development professional. She is passionate about coaching and supporting organisations and individuals to thrive in times of change, looking at complex issues through a system-thinking lens. She has worked in various training and OD roles in the NHS for 15 years and now works as an independent coach and development consultant.
“Coaching pays dividends. It helps the person; it helps his or her team; it helps their service users. It draws people out, builds resilience, unlocks potential. It enables people to take a step back, hold a mirror up and start to see what is really going on.”
Paula has supported the Coaching Academy with its coach training programmes, mentoring trainee coach practitioners through one-to-one sessions and pastoral support. Paula has also brought her love of large-scale programme management and ability to bring people and teams together to the Coaching Academy, most recently supporting the Cheshire and Merseyside ICS in the creation of its clinical and care leadership framework.