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Hole-in-one: unlock your team’s potential


Adopting a simple coaching technique can help to bring about brilliant results

As we explore the “new world”, the demands on health service managers are great. We have all got to embrace a new range of leadership styles that deliver results while remaining compassionate, and with the patient at the heart of decision making.

One of the leadership styles and cultures that we all need to develop is coaching.

If you think about the best boss that you have ever had, were they the one who told you what to do or the one that helped you to find your own way?

My guess is the latter, because great leaders understand that it is their job to unlock the potential of those around them to help people to perform at the best of their abilities. Coaching is a great way of achieving this.

Coaching in a business sense has been around since the 1970s and has its origins in a self-improvement golfing manual - Tim Gallway’s The Inner Game of Golf.

He realised that merely passing on knowledge from coach to coachee and being directive would limit the growth of the coachee to the level of the coach.

Instead, Gallway proposed a new way of coaching and asked the coachee a series of questions aimed at unlocking their potential and allowing them to improve their own performance.

Golfers worldwide improved their game and soon wanted to apply the same approach to their working lives.

Coaching is a billion dollar industry that draws parallels with psychology, counselling and therapy and yet the same simple truth exists: great coaching is about asking the perfect question.

Coaching conversations can happen anywhere and be as short as 30 seconds; on the ward, by the photocopier, or over a coffee. Anybody can be a coach and in every environment.

Julie Starr, author of Brilliant Coaching: How to be a Brilliant Coach in Your Workplace, puts it best when she says that starting to coach is about stopping telling and starting to ask.

Instead of hearing about a problem and responding with: “OK, here’s what you need to do,” simply reply:

“OK, what do you think needs to happen?”

I am certain that adopting a simple coaching technique will bring about brilliant results for you and the members of your team.

If you want to know more about coaching then why not contact your trust’s human resources team. They may even have an internal database of coaches for you to access.

Ed Tempest is programme lead at the East Midlands Leadership Academy. He has worked extensively across the private, public and voluntary sectors to design and deliver learning and capacity building mechanisms


Readers' comments (2)

  • as someone who has been a nurse for over 20 years I would say there are a lot of times when nurses adopt coaching roles and encourage staff to develop their own skills, I have been doing this for years-the difference is we have just not known it was called coaching-we probably called it developing our staff

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  • clearly the writer knows little about the nursing process and what nurses do in the workplace as part of their everyday job. how much can one get paid for writing what is already written in any good book on management?

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