Action Learning Sets providing a tonic for NHS practice managers

Action Learning Sets providing a tonic for NHS practice managers

We ran a series of Action Learning Sets for NHS practice managers in a London borough. The practice managers were over-worked, under-resourced and in some cases angry and frustrated. They’d been promoted on their organisational skills and attention to detail but had not been trained in leadership or management. They were finding it difficult to engage and coach their staff, generally relying instead on “telling” and “micro-managing.”

We set up Action Learning Sets which we facilitated.  The aim was to give them the time and space to bring their real world, pressing challenges and receive coaching and feedback from their peers. We were responsible for contracting so they felt safe to share difficult issues, modelled coaching, used time outs to point out shifts in thinking and mindsets, and helped the other participants hone their coaching and feedback skills.

After a very shaky start, with us sometimes sitting in empty rooms when delegates didn’t turn up, we continued to make ourselves available and very soon, word spread about how useful the action learning sets were, until very soon they became oversubscribed.

The outcomes were:

  • huge shifts in thinking, assumptions and beliefs
  • the emergence of a strong and cohesive Practice Manager Team from across all the GP Practices.
  • much needed support for each other as well as challenge around thinking and behaviours.
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