Honing a leadership team at The Department of Health

We coached the team heading up the UK Department of Health’s Workforce Strategy division, whose role is to ensure the NHS delivers high quality compassionate care. We met together and apart over a period of 12 months, addressing a range of topics and left them clearer and more unified around their joint purpose, and more disciplined in their work with each other and key stakeholders.

Context and objectives

The Department of Health (DH) leads, shapes and funds health and care in England, working with 23 agencies and public bodies. We worked with the Workforce Strategy Division’s leadership team, consisting of the Director and four Deputy Directors. Its remit is to ensure the health and care workforce can deliver high quality compassionate care, ensuring that quality of care is as important as quality of treatment. The division’s staff and leadership team are located in Leeds and London.

The Director asked us to support his new team’s development; the intention being to provide excellent leadership and management to staff as the role, purpose and structure of the DH shifted in response to a number of significant reforms. He wanted the finer details of the coaching agenda to come from all of the team, not just him. We agree that it’s critical that a team, its leader and its coaches are all engaged in establishing the direction the coaching should take – the purpose and process. It’s also essential to work ‘systemically’, attending to the various systems in and around the team that influence its ability to deliver on its objectives. And, of course, the team and its stakeholders are busy people, so the coaching must be an efficient, impactful use of time.

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In our client’s words… [+]