Save the Children’s Pro-Bono Coaching Programme: Innovation, performance, development
How to establish a coaching culture to enhance organisational performance

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We have co-created a unique and innovative partnership between Save the Children and a network of (now 70+) independent professional coaches, who provide management and leadership coaching on a pro-bono basis. Launched in 2009, following a successful pilot, this initiative contributes enormously to enhance the effectiveness and development of our leaders.
Save the Children recruits and selects the coaches and supports networking, information sharing and the continuing professional development of the coaching pool. Formal coaching events happen twice yearly, with presentations from senior staff; during which coaches are encouraged to shape the coaching agenda within the organisation.

The impact of the coaching has been transformational in motivating senior staff to work successfully through a wide range of leadership and management challenges. Leaders have found the coaching has increased their confidence and effectiveness, and enabled them to deliver outstanding impact for children around the world at a time of significant organisational change. Moreover, enthusiastic leaders have become coaching champions for wider coaching initiatives.
Coaching underpins our (current and future) ongoing approach to development and it is our intention to generate wider organisational change using a coaching approach within management. We anticipate that this will bring about short and long term benefits at an individual, team, organisational and social level.

The Save the Children programme is distinctive in bringing together a high quality group of established and experienced independent coaching practitioners. To be able to draw from this collective expertise and experience on a pro-bono basis and to offer a very different way of engaging with the organisation and mission of Save the Children makes our programme unique.
Coaches are recruited through informal coaching networks. Since 2009 the pool of coaches has expanded to 70 + in number., Discussion days, on-line updating and information sharing, as well as informal and formal consultation has ensured a network that has a strong identity and is sustainable. This makes the network a valued partner for enhanced professional development within the organisation.[/one_half_last]

Developing the programme has not been without challenges. In 2009 there was very little understanding of coaching, particularly how it differed from mentoring. There remains work to do in ensuring a wider understanding of the roles and responsibilities within the coaching relationship. Any organisation developing a coaching initiative will need to consider early integration with internal management and leadership programmes.
Ensuring that staff understand and appreciate the opportunity, and are committed to the process is key. Monitoring and reviewing coaching to demonstrate its impact on the organisation is demanding but the need to capture evaluative as well as anecdotal evidence is vital.

Wider understanding and recognition of the benefits of coaching has meant an increase in demand for individual coaching from staff not just on leadership programmes. In addition our staff have used coaching approaches in a wide variety of management contexts e.g. capacity building in our ‘Front Line Health Workers’ programme and a collaboration with UN OCHA.
This partnership has provided a strong professional support network for independent coaches and coaching now underpins the management development and enhanced performance agenda within the organisation. It is envisaged that the initiative will continue to evolve and positively impact the effectiveness of our leaders in delivering accelerated change for children[/one_half_last] Speakers
Shola Awolesi
Global Leadership Development Manager
Save the Children

Shola Awolesi is a Learning and Development professional, she works with organisations to identify learning needs, design and deliver programs to improve individual, team and organisational performance. Shola is currently Global Leadership Development Manager at Save the Children, where she manages Save the Children’s flagship leadership program in London. Shola also oversees the Senior Management Development Programme (SMDP) Save the Children’s High Potentials programme, working in partnership with key stakeholders around the globe to design and deliver the SMDP ensuring that the programs are adapted to the regional context.
Shola is a coach, who works with managers and leaders to improve performance, she manages Save the Children network of pro-bono coaches and is working internally to develop a coaching culture to enhance performance.

Jane Eames
Save the Children

Jane Eames has been coaching as part of Save the Children’s Leadership Development Programme since April 2011. As a Corporate and Executive Coach Jane brings twenty years’ experience of working in the television industry, where she produced and directed documentaries and current affairs for major broadcasters, and experienced the effects of radical organisational change. She specialises in Leadership Skills, Effective Communication, Organisational Creativity and Change.