Mental Health Foundation – Leadership and Management Development Through Coaching

Successful leaders are the driving force behind charities such as the Mental Health Foundation (MHF). They set the vision, champion the strategy, inspire teams and manage the organisation through its challenges. They know when to seize opportunities and how to rally their teams to work hard to drive your strategy and vision.

To support our current and emerging leaders MHF ran a pilot coaching programme in Spring 2020 as the country went into lockdown for the first time. The programme aimed to support and empower our people with the move to a new structure and to new roles, as well as foster better ways of working, to achieve the Mental Health Foundation’s organisational strategy, which was launched in January 2020.

The coaching programme provided a dedicated space for participants to explore challenges in a safe and supported way. This was achieved through 6, 1-hour one-to-one sessions, focussing on an area identified by each participant.

The coaching was designed to help with typical issues such as feeling overwhelmed, managing change, emerging leaders, confidence, performance, relationships and returning to work.

A total of 21 members of our people participated in the coaching sessions over the period of March to October 2020. Of those who attended the sessions, 13 participants completed the evaluation.  

Evaluation of coaching impact

To understand if the programme had achieved its projected outcomes and to support the MHF's decision to role - out to a larger cohort of our people, an evaluation was undertaken by an in-house team using a question-based survey.

Summary of feedback

  • All respondents felt that their objectives/intentions set at the start of the coaching were met ‘reasonably well’ to ‘extremely well’ by the coaching programme
  • 92% of the respondents said that they would recommend the coaching programme to a colleague
  • 85% of respondents answered that the frequency was “about right”
  • 77% felt that they received accurate and sufficient information to help their decision in choosing whether to take advantage of the opportunity
  • Suggested improvements that could be made to the coaching programme included: providing additional information and advice, allowing more flexibility and control over the session approach and frequency, including more structure and content and ensuring wider staff involvement

What participants said about the impact of working with a coach:

“Working with a coach has had a really positive effect on my personal and professional life. I learned how to tap into skills and techniques that I didn’t have the confidence to use before. I feel far more able to ask for what I need in situations, including saying no if I need to and recognising and valuing my worth and contribution“

“I expected to find coaching quite difficult to engage with and I worried about revealing challenges that I was facing. I found it very solution-focused and goal-oriented, which made it easy to engage with.”

“I have practised using a range of communication strategies and leadership approaches, which has helped with assertiveness and adapting to my change in role.”

Past coachees recommended coaching if people:

“…feel as though you get pulled in lots of directions at work or are 'wearing far too many hats'. If you feel you are stuck personally or professionally and aren’t sure why. If you feel your self-esteem could do with a boost.”

“have experienced a change in role or are experiencing challenges that are new, especially in managerial positions. It can be helpful in building confidence, recognising strengths and enhancing the range of ways to apply existing abilities.”

The Director of HR & Wellbeing Anna Kingsley-Nyinah added to this feedback by saying – ‘A key strategic commitment to our people is to develop the Foundation as ‘a great place to work where people do great work’. Related to this, a core value for us is 'Side by Side', creating space for personal development, shared understanding and connection. This programme helped our people feel more confident in themselves and others, their decisions and managing their challenges.’
The CEO of the Mental Health Foundation, Mark Rowland had this to say – ‘2020 was a year of change for MHF, with the launch of a new five-year strategy, moving to working from home and pivoting programmes online, due to Covid-19. I was keen to introduce this coaching programme to help our people deal with these challenges with confidence and demonstrate how we valued them. I am excited that we are now rolling this out across the charity.’

What's next?

Based on the evaluation MHF has rolled out the 1 to 1 coaching programme to all emerging leaders and managers. Additionally, for 2021, based on the feedback from the evaluation that included the suggestion of ensuring wider staff involvement,  a group coaching offering will be piloted, so that junior staff will be able to develop their personal growth and reflection in a self-managed way to support the Foundation’s Strategy – Making Prevention Happen.

If you would like to know more about the impact of this programme or discuss how something similar could benefit your organisation please contact Sarah Tite, Director Fundraising and Communication.

Our Coaching Partners

Deliver Grow

Ali Mcnab Coaching

Middleton Consultancy

Abounding Solutions