Project Description

The Save the Children Pro Bono coaching programme has been running for six years now, following its launch in 2009 after a successful pilot. Toby Lindsay, Executive Director of Twelve Winds Consulting, has been involved in the initiative in a pro bono capacity since 2010.

Client

Save the Children, is an international non-governmental organisation that promotes children’s rights, provides relief and helps support children in developing countries.

Situation

Save the Children has created, in partnership with professional coaches, a unique network of seventy plus experienced, professional executive level coaches who offer pro bono coaching support to senior leaders within the organisation. This includes working alongside senior leaders undertaking formal leadership development programmes, such as the annual, yearlong LDP for executive leaders, or via bespoke 1-1 engagements to support key leaders in the organisation.

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. On average each coach provides around twenty four hours of coaching support per annum with a commercial value of around six thousand pounds.

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. On average each coach provides around twenty four hours of coaching support per annum with a commercial value of around six thousand pounds.

Our approach

Toby has provided over one hundred hours of executive level coaching support to four senior leaders in the organisation and is currently initiating his fifth coaching engagement. These leaders have been senior professionals working at Country, Regional and executive Director level within Save during a period of significant change for the wider organisation as well as the individual coaches. As well as working on the delivery of coaching within the Pro-Bono programme, Toby is an active member of the coaching network and part of a core group of coaches that help us as we shape the coaching agenda.

All Toby’s coaching engagements have been undertaking as professional support to senior leaders undertaken the Save the Children Leadership Development Programme, and as such have been yearlong engagements covering a significant breadth and depth of personal development effecting lasting organisational change. Specific areas of focus have included:

  • Developing leadership efficacy and impact; self-awareness, leadership styles, personal impact and use of self
  • Transition; role and personal
  • Team development; group dynamics and processes, team development, delegation and empowering others
  • Coaching and mentoring as a management style and element of organisational culture
  • Goal identification, influencing and negation
  • Change; personal, organisational and global – making the links, managing the shifts, appreciation of development and loss
  • Meaning, purpose and values; individual and organisational

All of these have been worked on with clear focus on and linkage to the fundamental, golden thread of improving the lives of children.

Success story

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 Save’s (current and future) ongoing approach to development and it is the intention to generate wider organisational change using a coaching approach within management. It is anticipated that this will bring about short and long term benefits at an individual, team, organisational and social level.

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 the staff of Save the Children 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.

Toby Lindsay is proud to be part of the Pro Bono coaching initiative at Save the Children and he has benefitted greatly from the opportunity in terms of his professional development and the range and quality of work he has undertaken. Fundamentally the opportunity to do good work in service of a cause he believes in deeply, is privilege for Toby and it is clear from feedback and reports that his work has made a difference in supporting senior leaders within the organisation.

The development of the Pro-Bono coaching initiative from an initial pilot to a significant organisation wide development intervention is a significant and impactful achievement that has had implications for the wider organisational culture and strategy and playing a part in that is deeply satisfying for Toby.