Covid-19 is an unprecedented, global public health crisis with far reaching impacts, particularly in fragile contexts where people are at their most vulnerable and will be impacted for months and years to come. Constant change and unpredictability are a natural manifestation of the working environment and in this unstable VUCA world, providing a sense of control and stability can help prepare people for uncertainty 

Leaders are now working in environments which are new, of completely different scale and where both work and home are often equally affected and impacted. Leaders are under incredible levels of pressure as they navigate a rapidly changing landscape which necessitates new ways of leading and working; with an increased focus on providing emotional/pastoral care for their teams. The unprecedented scale of this global pandemic are presenting personal and professional challenges including remote working both within immediate teams and partners etc, the absence of global surge capabilities; dealing with loss and/or a reduction in workforce to deliver against high demand of need as well as battling a public health emergency.  

While there are several initiatives in play to leverage coaching and mentoring to support leaders and their teams, the demand is ever increasing.


The growing demand for targeted and flexible coaching has highlighted the role of internal coaches and the benefits that developing strong a pool of high-quality coaches can have on an organisation. Leaders from across the sector can effectively act as champions for the establishment of coaching. This will enable them to influence within their areas so that enthusiasm for coaching continues to cascade across organisations and the wider sector. Coaches should not only be accredited, supervised and experienced, but also fit well with the organisation and be challenging enough to help senior leaders achieve the change needed. This coaching community needs to come together regularly to update them on the organisation and to gather lessons learned from the various coaching conversations while protecting appropriate confidentiality. Key principles to consider when developing a coaching pool includes:

1. Good quality accredited training — this ensures that coaches feel confident are equipped to coach internally.

2. On-going continuous professional development and supervision it’s really easy for good practice to slip, regular development will maintain and increase the quality of coaching as well as provide a forum for sharing and community.
3. Adhering to coaching ethics and standards from a professional coaching body — reputation is everything for the internal coach, once your credibility is gone there is no going back and if your clients don’t trust you, you cannot coach them.
4. Clearly communicating the purpose and audience for internal coaching — this can be defined through your vision for coaching. Once this is clear there are no doubts around favouritism or exclusion.
5. Having a consistent and transparent coaching process — all coaches should be using the same documentation and process, this presents a professional process and one that can be more easily evaluated.


The Humanitarian Leadership Academy at Save the Children has been investing in developing a pool of humanitarian coaches to act as an internal resource to draw upon. This pool has critical technical expertise alongside relevant coaching skills that can support leaders and their teams through crisis and change.


The criteria below were developed in order to guide the selection of internal  coaches to attend the Leader as Coach programme. The criteria can be used by organisations to recruit their own internal coaches.

Person Specification

  • Diverse experience / background ideally within the sector.
  • Flexibility to work in a coaching and or mentoring capacity as is appropriate and to meet specific programme requirements.
  • Experience of working with a diverse range of people.
  • Ability to use a range of coaching techniques and delivery methods to coach, i.e. face to face, telephone, skype etc.
  • Cultural sensitivity and appreciation of local context.
  • Adheres / subscribes to a recognised coaching code of practice.
  • Adheres to the organisation’s code of conduct.
  • Awareness of and ability to work within area of competence and recognises when there is a need to refer the coaching to someone more experienced.
  • Commitment to review and evaluate coaching within the context of the specific programme.


  • A clear commitment to the organisation.
  • The agreement and support of the line manager to take on the role of an internal coach.
  • Good management leadership skills and communication skills.
  • A commitment to personal/professional development
  • Core coaching skills including
    • Good listening skills
    • The ability to ask good, insight-provoking questions
    • The ability to hold back on giving advice (urging the participant to work answers out without help – at least to start with)
    • The ability to challenge assumptions
    • The ability to communicate clearly


The Humanitarian Leadership Academy has partnered with Coach Mentoring Ltd to develop highly effective internal coaches and mentors and by developing internal leaders to coach, organisations can create a more scalable, sustainable and robust approach to driving change. Because they understand the organisation’s culture, landscape, and interests, internal coaches significantly increase retention, engagement, productivity and performance.

It was decided in September 2018 by the senior leadership that the way to best support this strategy, is through a PGC in Coaching and Mentoring for Leadership in Organisations.

The selection process includes identifying early adopters and influencers to serve as strong ambassadors for the coaching program. When leaders from many levels and many departments become internal coaches, they enhance the credibility and sustainability of the program. Senior Leaders have mentoring and coaching skills in order to support the continued focus on building capacity and capabilities at regional, national and local level, where we want to make our country offices agents of change.


The programme creates a close-knit network of coaches and mentors who have journeyed together through the course and who can continue to draw on each other for support, peer supervision and learning.

  • To develop senior leaders with certified mentoring and coaching skills.
  • To enable senior leaders to feel confident using a mentoring and coaching approach in the workplace.


There are 3 modules, comprising 76 hours of blended teaching, which will be delivered over the course of a year. Cohorts of 10 participants work best through our virtual teaching model, which is delivered in 1.5 and 3 hour webinars.

Module 1:

The Fundamentals of Coaching and Mentoring

(28 hours contact time)

This module provides participants with the knowledge and skills of coaching and mentoring and reflective practice so that they can perform effectively as a coach and mentor. Participants will be introduced to a variety of concepts, theories, models and techniques to help develop systematic understanding and critical awareness of coaching and mentoring within the context of practice.

The assessment for this module is a coursework assignment where participants critically review a range of coaching and mentoring concepts, theories and models that can be used to support coaching and mentoring interventions (6000 words).

Module 2:

Coaching & Mentoring for Organisation Development

(28 hours contact time)

This module provides participants with an understanding of differing roles and forms of specific coaching and mentoring intervention for the practitioner in the workplace and through critical reflection help participants gain a clearer understanding of challenges and dilemmas confronting coaches and mentors. The module will enable participants to develop a broader understanding and critical awareness of the role of the coach and mentor in the process of organisational development.

The assessment for this module is a coursework reflective assignment reviewing interventions concerning coaching and mentoring intervention projects in the context of organisational development, undertaken by the participant (6000 words).

Module 3:

Coaching & Mentoring Reflective Practice

(20 hours contact time)

The module provides participants with an opportunity to develop knowledge for and from reflexive practice in the context of their coaching and mentoring practice. They will also reflect on how coaching and mentoring can be applied to personal, professional and organisational growth and consider their application in the development of individual and collective development strategy.

The module requires the submission of a Critical Reflective Practice Assignment (6000 words).


What is Coaching Supervision?

Coaching supervision plays a pivotal role in drawing out the organisational learning from the many coaching conversations taking place in an organisation.  ‘Supervision sessions are a place for the coach to reflect on the work they are undertaking, with another more experienced coach. It has the dual purpose of supporting the continued learning and development of the coach, as well as giving a degree of protection to the person being coached’ (Bluckert 2004).

As part of the Leader as Coach programme, all coaches are assigned a supervisor. we are looking to expand this to cover all of our coaches over time.


What is Transactional Analysis?

Transactional analysis (TA) is a really useful set of coaching tools to add to your coaching toolkit and a coach can bring rapid changes in the coachee with the use of this model. It provides practical application for managing people and behaviours and gives opportunities for the coach to understand the coachees thinking process and partner with them for change. TA stems from the theory of Sigmund Freud that says each of us have parts of our personality that affect our behaviour according to different circumstances. The aim of TA is to increase awareness, spontaneity and the capacity for relationship.

In coaching, the individual comes with an issue because their patterns of thinking, feeling and behaviour no longer works in their current situation. The great thing about TA is that every concept represents a pattern.


Ego state model – this is the Parent, Adult and Child model. The model helps us understand where we are  communicating from and to. The aim being to be in the Adult ego state and access the other useful parts of the Parent and Child ego state.

Transactions – These describe how we communicate with each other from one ego state to another. This is how we communicate with others and ourselves. We have our own inner narrative and transactional analysis helps provide an understanding of your inner narrative.

Complementary transactions – These occur when both people are at the same level (Parent talking to Parent, etc.). Here, both are often thinking in the same way and communication is easier. Problems usually occur in Crossed transactions, where each is talking to a different level.

At its core TA starts with the presumption that everyone is OK. We all sometimes indulge ourselves in not-OK behaviour. TA assumes everyone has the capacity to think for themselves and is free to make decisions for themselves. Any decision can be changed later.

The aim of TA is to free people from some of the baggage that we have picked up in life and to give us more choices as rational adults when we make decisions.


Team coaching can provide opportunities for the team to re-energise, refocus and stretch beyond their current abilities…

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