Well Pharmacy, the third largest pharmacy chain in the UK, commissioned Xenonex to design and deliver the coaching aspects of its ‘Leading Well Programme’ established for their regional and area operations managers.
Following changes to their field leadership team, the Leading Well development programme was introduced to support the team in their new roles. An essential element of this was the inclusion of coaching skills and practice to transition from a transactional management style to a style which involved more non-directive coaching.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF A BESPOKE COACHING PROGRAMME
Xenonex gathered a great deal of detail from Well Pharmacy in the first instance, across several meetings. This was to ensure that the programme developed not only fulfilled objectives but also brought the Well Pharmacy leadership team on board, in terms of the power of coaching, during the process.
Cath Hurst, Talent Programmes Specialist for Well Pharmacy said “Xenonex put in a great deal of effort to ensure the final programme was fit for purpose. The whole process was so in-depth: Xenonex challenged our approach when it was necessary, and their support staff were always very responsive with any requests. It was extremely reassuring to be in the hands of experts within the coaching field”.
The final programme, facilitated by Anita Bašić (a Senior Executive Coach at Xenonex), consisted of two ‘live online’, interactive and practical workshops that helped Well Pharmacy colleagues understand how to use key coaching skills every day in the workplace.
The workshops focused on enhancing communication skills through:
using open questioning
practising active listening techniques
learning how and when to use a range of coaching tools
The programme also involved a live coach practice session, to allow participants to review their own coaching skills by receiving feedback from peers and the workshop tutors.
HOW DID IT GO?
The sessions received phenomenal feedback. It was generally felt that the blended approach allowed the workshops to be both engaging and conversational. One participant commented that the programme was a breath of fresh air in comparison to ‘death by Powerpoint’.
Working together in a safe environment also allowed the teams to share dilemmas and workplace issues in contextualised situations that they could all relate to. Another participant described how they left the session with a ‘warm, fuzzy feeling’.
Cath Hurst continued, "There was a tangible buzz following the workshops. Xenonex has lit a fire within the team which we wish to continue to burn brightly. The mindset of the team has transitioned from 'this is how it has always been' to seeing an enormous opportunity through coaching. A few delegates were even hesitant to take part in the practise coaching sessions initially. However, once they had participated, they immediately recognised the benefits of practising active listening and appropriate questioning within a challenging, but safe environment. It has enabled them to see the link between non-directive coaching and performance and they are now very much on board in terms of making timely changes that will have a positive effect in their regions and areas."
As well as the quality of the programme, the Xenonex online portal also received great feedback from delegates. It was felt that it worked really well having access to all resources in one place and having somewhere to go back to for future reference.
Xenonex received scores of 10 out of 10 across the board. The programme has helped the field leadership team at Well Pharmacy embrace the need for change, but it is also recognised that it will take time and effort for coaching to be fully embedded. These are just a few examples of the positive ways that the leadership teams are already using their newfound coaching skills:
“I have started to coach myself whilst driving between pharmacies. Also, it is good to use the phone to have coaching conversations.”
“Adopting a positive mindset before I go into a pharmacy visit.”
“I am learning to use explicit praise where someone has come up with their own solution.”
“I am learning to delegate more and make people accountable and responsible for their job roles rather than compensating for this myself.”
“I am more aware of the need to stop answering my own questions.”
THE NEXT STEPS
Following on from the success of the workshops, we are developing a programme to work with their wider teams at Well Pharmacy to further spread the use of coaching tools throughout the organisation. We are also continuing to provide 1-1 executive coaching programmes to a number of their senior colleagues.
It was a pleasure for Xenonex to work on a bespoke programme with an organisation which is so open to the positive benefits of non-directive coaching. It is so rewarding to hear examples of how changes have already started to happen and how they are having a positive impact on the business. We are looking forward to working with Well Pharmacy on the next stage of this journey.