Coaching NHS teams through these difficult times
Donations are helping to support Barts Heath staff during COVID-19 by reducing the impact of stress and improving emotional resilience

As the pandemic continues to put huge pressure on staff across Barts Health, we’re providing team coaching funding for 12 teams in emergency care, critical care and COVID hotspot areas 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.

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, and 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

Jimi Funlayo Odejinmi, consultant gynaecologist at Whipps Cross Hospital, said: “The pandemic hit during the restructuring of the women’s and neonatal service, and 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, which in turn 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

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

This coaching funding 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 Trust staff development programme.

With your help, Barts Charity can be there for the Barts NHS Trust Hospitals through COVID-19 and beyond, funding initiatives that support staff and save lives.

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