Coaching NHS teams through difficult times - Barts Charity

Coaching for NHS staff during Covid-19 pandemic

Donations are helping to support Barts Heath NHS Trust staff during Covid-19 by reducing the impact of stress and improving emotional resilience.

  • Date: February 11, 2021

Tackling pressure on NHS staff

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to put huge pressure on staff across Barts Health NHS Trust, we’re funding team coaching for 12 teams. Emergency care, critical care and teams in Covid-19 hotspot areas will take part in coaching sessions during the recovery phase.

Each team will be matched with an experienced coach who will work closely with them via video team coaching sessions. The bespoke coaching will be tailored to each team’s specific needs, with topics varying from how to unwind using relaxation techniques, to how to become better at decision making.

Benefits of coaching

In the short term, staff can expect to benefit from reduced stress, improved feelings of wellbeing, and more productive team relationships.

Longer term, the coaching aims to build greater resilience and adaptability. The sessions hope to equip individuals with the skills needed to check in and support each other’s mental and emotional health.

These latest team coaching sessions follow on from a free programme of support offered during the first wave of the pandemic by Hult Ashridge Executive Education and other independent coaches. The coaching was highly valued by all 15 teams which took part, with everyone saying that team communication had improved as a result.

"Thanks to our trainer and her skills we were able to reconnect with each other as a group to achieve our goals."
Jimi Funlayo Odejinmi, Consultant Gynaecologist at Whipps Cross Hospital

A positive response to team coaching

Jimi Funlayo Odejinmi, consultant gynaecologist at Whipps Cross Hospital, said: “The pandemic hit during the restructuring of the women’s and neonatal service. Thanks to our trainer and her skills we were able to reconnect with each other as a group to achieve our goals. I also had some individual sessions with the coach, and what I remember most was the ‘pause and reflect’ aspects of having a conversation and the art of listening. In turn this provided the “headspace” to improve communication within the team.”

Coach Doris, who worked with Jimi’s team, says: “It’s been a difficult time for many, especially for the NHS, and I’m grateful for the chance to give something back in these Covid times. I discovered that, while all the team members have worked together for many years, they also learnt more about each other. Not just in their professional capacity as medics, but also in their private lives too.”

Coach Susanne, supporting NHS staff through the pandemic

Supporting your team

Coach Susanne also offered pro bono sessions. She says: “There can be a misconception about team coaching from the business world, that it’s all about strategy, role and task. Here it is different. Each session is to support yourself and each other at this time. I encourage the teams to relax, be open and honest, and listen deeply to colleagues. Then the ‘magic’ takes care of itself; you feel more resourced for work.

“Barts Health colleagues fed back to each other saying they noticed each other smiling more, were more relaxed and enjoyed learning more about each other.”

Funding for this coaching has been made available thanks to a £50,000 grant from NHS Charities Together. Following the successful implementation of this initiative, it is hoped that coaching will become a permanent fixture in the Barts Health staff development programme.

With your help, Barts Charity can be there for the Barts Health NHS Trust hospitals through Covid-19 and beyond. We fund initiatives that support staff and save lives.

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