What We Did
Five healthcare regions were tasked with implementing a pilot programme for a new approach to delivering a range of primary care services. The pilot involved approximately 40 senior healthcare leads, working in five regional action learning sets, each facilitated by a group coach.
Action learning has been described as ‘….a continuous process of learning and reflection, supported by colleagues, with the intention of getting things done’. The action learning sets met every six weeks over a twelve-month period. Each session lasted one day, with the set responsible for planning the agenda for each session. Beyond the first introductory/group contracting session, agendas reflected a balance between the review of previously agreed actions and mini-projects, together with an opportunity to concentrate on new and emerging challenges arising from the pilot implementation process.
The focus of the group coaching was on engaging the groups, facilitating joint-problem solving and helping identify best practice in terms of the new service delivery model. There was also a strong emphasis on helping build the regions’ capability for change, sharing learning and communicating findings from the action learning sets back into the wider primary care system.
A learning management system was used to capture insights from each action learning set, from which recurring themes were identified as the basis for establishing communities of interest. As part of the group coaching process, each set was encouraged to continually review its own learning over the twelve-month period. An end-of-programme evaluation was conducted within and across sets and regions, involving all participants, as well as the group coaches
The Leadership Advantage
- Group coaching using action learning sets created rich opportunities for leaders’ reflection and learning
- Learning was converted into appropriate actions as the basis for an informed implementation of the pilot approach
- Group coaching was identified as a highly effective process for delivering a transformational model of region-wide practice
- The groups reported increases in their problem-solving and learning capability, extending beyond the pilot programme.