Worldwide Performance Coach Training for Leadership

CASE STUDY: Westminster City Council

The Coaching & Mentoring Course

We were approached by the Transformation and Engagement team in Westminster City Council’s Finance and Resources Department to provide a coaching skills course for 17 candidates, leading to ILM certification as an executive coach, with the aim of providing internal coaches to colleagues across the department.

We provided our signature coaching and mentoring course, which is based on the time-honoured GROW model and covers everything required to become a professional coach and coaching leader. The course was delivered over five face-to-face days, including practical assessments where participants delivered GROW sessions to each other observed by our assessor.

Our training is based on our experience over 20 years that coaching is not merely a set of skills, but a mindset which builds relationships, unifies teams, raises performance, and creates an innovative culture. As well as acquiring coaching skills, participants learn how to approach any situation in a coaching style, across the whole spectrum from non-directive to directive management.

The course was highly interactive and practical. Topics covered included foundation coaching skills, the GROW model, our models for Permission Protocol and Coaching Feedback, our team-building framework for Generative Thinking Meetings, plus coaching structure and worksheets.

The programme is designed to:

  • qualify participants as accredited professional executive coaches
  • embed coaching skills into their everyday styles of leadership and communication
  • introduce the principles of the ‘ask instead of tell’ approach to problem solving
  • provide the skills required to motivate employees
  • introduce the principles of ‘solution-focused thinking’
  • provide motivating and inspiring coaching feedback skills
  • improve delegation skills
  • provide a structure for productive and team-building meetings
  • provide tools and skills to support performance development
  • embed a coaching mindset
  • create a coaching culture

In order to embed the learning, participants were paired to practise with each other between the training sessions. One of the most common challenges that organisations face is that while people may enjoy a training course, they sometimes fail to use the skills when back in the workplace. We know that humans learn through making mistakes (think of children learning to walk), but managers cannot afford to risk the awkwardness of failure with their reports, colleagues, or customers, so they do not attempt to use the new skills and quickly forget them.

To remedy this, the practical assignments between training modules provide participants with a ‘safe place’ where they can experiment, make mistakes, and make the skills their own. In this way they absorb the learning and are able to source the appropriate skill at any time, fluently and automatically. These practical assignments formed an essential part of the training, and as well as embedding the learning, they provide participants with an opportunity to network with other employees and strengthen team bonding.

A comprehensive set of materials was provided for each course, including an 80-page manual, a PDF of slides shown during the training, and copies of Carol Wilson’s book ‘Performance Coaching: a Complete Guide to Best Practice Coaching and Training’ (Kogan Page).

All the participants successfully completed the accreditation criteria and were awarded:

  1. ‘Coaching for Performance Accredited Coach (CfPAC)’ certificate which reflects the contribution of Sir John Whitmore to our programmes.
  2. An ILM Recognised Certificate. The ILM is the leadership arm of the UK’s foremost workplace awards provider, City & Guilds.

Comments from the participants were very positive:

  • “An excellent course, very motivational. I would recommend it to all managers – in fact it should be compulsory! I thoroughly enjoyed the course and am looking forward to applying what I have learnt. The trainers very knowledgeable and supportive” – Mandy Williams, Culture and Strategy Manager, Finance and Resources Department.
  • “Great content and training style. I was really impressed with the presenters and learning styles. Loved it, thank you, really thought provoking.” – Sarah Risby, Head of Commercial.
  • “A thoroughly excellent course – it really made me think. I will apply the learning within my management role and in my personal life.“ – Ant Lineker, Finance Manager.
  • “A really great practical course, with great trainers. The practice was invaluable, and observing coaching examples demonstrated by the trainers.” – Anita Stokes, Lead Strategic Finance Manager.
  • “This course has been amazing. It has been beneficial to me both as a coach and a coachee, and I have certainly grown in both aspects. I really have enjoyed it , and plan to continue my coaching going forward. It was very interactive, with open and approachable trainers, a great pace, and lots of practice. Throughout the course I feel that I have grown and developed. A great course, I really did get a lot out of it.” – Zoe Waters, Senior Finance Business Manager.
  • “The instructors were great and explained coaching very well. As each session took place I became more confident.” – Shannon Wallace, Customer Lead Officer.
  • “Taking part in the Coaching and Mentoring Course has been an excellent development opportunity for me to initially explore how I could use coaching in my everyday work, and then realising how much the course was offering beyond that. My sessions with my regular coaching partner have been very useful as a coach, but also enlightening as a coachee. My goal ahead of the course was to feel more comfortable with coaching moments, but I have been given so many more tools than that, that I am keen to help embed the coaching culture within my department and continue to be able to provide coaching sessions for those that would like them.” – Kim Wreford, Strategic Finance Manager.
  • “I am so pleased with what I have learned through my coaching journey, and extremely happy with how the course was set out from start to finish. I found the practice coaching sessions with other trainee coaches extremely helpful. They allowed us to give and receive open, honest and constructive feedback, and helped me to gain a great understanding of what a coach is. Thank you, James and Chloe, for this great course, it really made me feel at ease and possible to feel like I can coach!”- Lauren Walser, Projects & Performance Co-ordinator.
  • “The trainers, content and slides were all really helpful. James and Chloe are very supportive, helpful and accommodating.“ – Naina Bhudia, Assistant Finance Manager.
  • “A useful course which has provided me with some great techniques which I will use for staff development as well as alternate ways of thinking. Good content, well explained by the trainers throughout. Content which was unfamiliar to me was made accessible through the trainers approach and the material provided.” – Abbey Gough, Deputy Head of Corporate Finance.
  • “The course was well delivered, and live examples made it easy to see coaching in action. I will apply it when delivering one-to-ones and to coach others in the organisation to create a coaching culture.” – Raj Shah, Finance Manager.
  • “I am grateful for the addition of the ‘coaching mindset’ to the other mindsets I adopt in my professional and personal life, and I am enjoying experimenting with the most advantageous ‘hat’ to wear in different scenarios.” – Neil Samson, Senior User Researcher.
  • “Amazing experience, I’m really glad I joined the course.” – Zakia Qureshi, Project Manager.

Read a case history illustrating the learning acquired from the course and its application here.