18 June 2019

What is it like being a QI Coach?

Charles Kennedy-Scott and Sharon Gugerly are both coaches currently supporting our Quality Improvement Programme. Here’s their views on what are the main duties of  a QI coach and how they have been using QI skills to help teams achieve their aims.

Charles Kennedy-Scott

I am a Quality and Performance Improvement Facilitator – I’m currently working on a 12-month project in the Trust to improve data, clinical and non-clinical. I trained as an engineer but never worked as one, and instead had a go at writing novels and had one published a long time ago, then found myself in the NHS, where I studied a Masters, and then joined ELFT ten years ago in  a management role in Forensics.

I trained as a coach in 2015 and have coached several projects since then. I also work as a QI coach in primary care in Tower Hamlets, and reckon in the past four years I’ve probably done around 500 hours of quality improvement coaching in primary and secondary care. I joined the Coaching course because someone suggested it to me. It was a great suggestion. Career-changing!

In my view, the main duties of a QI Coach are: 1) to learn the tools and understand them; 2) be able to apply them to people in the context in which those people work; 3) to look out for important details in meetings and projects that people who are close to the project or problem often don’t see. Among the projects I’ve coached so far are access projects, communication projects, improving staff experience projects.

The main challenges are facilitating people to help them find what they want to do and then helping them do it. The rewards are when people successfully achieve whatever it is they wanted or didn’t know they wanted to achieve. On a very basic level, we use many QI skills every day. This is because they rely mainly on common sense. I used to mend motorbike engines as a teenager, and all I was doing, I now realise, was process-mapping what was wrong with them and running tests (genuine PDSAs) to find out what would get the engines started again. QI ‘problems’ are very much like stubborn engines.

Sharon Gugerly

I started with ELFT in October 2015 as a SPOR Admin Assistant for the Luton Wellbeing Service and I am now the Admin & Marketing Lead for the Bedfordshire Wellbeing Service.  I consider myself fortunate to have been given the opportunity to progress within ELFT and I put this down to the love of my work, sheer hard work and the skills and knowledge that I gained whilst attending the ELFT Improvement Leaders’ Programme and QI Coaching Programme.

I was the Project Lead on the Enjoying Work Project for Luton Wellbeing Service and I am currently the Coach on the Reducing Drop-Out Rates for Low Intensity CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). Both projects and my new work role have given me the opportunity to draw on the many skills learnt from my QI training.

In my view the main duties of a Coach are to be able to listen without giving the team all the answers and to have knowledge of other methods to try if problems occur. I work with a team that can be challenging so I am drawing on my coaching skills regularly.

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