Manager as Coach and Mentor

University of Derby introduces a coaching culture

“The work based learning model offered by UDC was ideal for us because we needed to embed and grow a new leadership culture over time. We couldn’t have achieved this by sending managers on an external open course.”
Bev Millinchip, Senior Organisation and People Development Advisor, University of Derby

When the University of Derby wanted to increase staff engagement and empower managers, it turned to its dedicated corporate learning team.

The brief

Results from the University’s annual staff engagement survey supported the aim of the senior leadership team to develop a more collaborative and inclusive style of leadership.

The leadership team felt that the University’s highly capable and creative managers would flourish if given greater autonomy and if empowered to find answers for themselves.

Our solution

We developed a work based learning programme - Manager as Coach and Mentor - that focused on honing learners’ practical coaching and mentoring skills, in order to make them more empowering managers.

Two pathways were developed – the University Certificate at Level 4 and the Advanced Diploma at Level 6 – to enable managers of varying seniority levels to take part.

We designed an integrated programme that included:

  • face-to-face taught sessions
  • group work
  • role-play
  • 1:1 observed coaching sessions within the delegate’s workplace
  • informal ‘coaching breakfasts’
  • an online learning portal.

This approach enabled people to learn the underpinning theory and ethical considerations related to coaching and mentoring, as well as giving them plenty of opportunity to practice techniques and share ideas with other learners.

The results

  • The staff engagement index for the institution has risen from 61 to 69 out of 100 (64 is the sector norm and 70 denotes a high performing organisation).
  • The programme won Bronze at the Training Journal Awards 2012.
  • There were improvements in the number of staff who agreed with the following statements in the annual Staff Engagement Survey:  
  • “Managers consider the wellbeing of employees when making important decisions”
  • “I’ve experienced meaningful discussions with my manager in my review”
  • “I feel well informed and understand objectives”

“I benefited hugely from this course. My staff all really engaged with the Development and Performance Review process this year and all received outstanding ratings, despite the fact that they had to cope with many changes. The way they reacted to these changes is a credit to them as individuals and also to the impact coaching can have in the change management process.”
Clare Foyle, Manager of Strategic Performance and Intelligence, University of Derby

Find out more

See our tailored  programme and accreditation services, or contact us on 0800 678 3311 or