How coaching can play a key role in the development of nurse managers: L Westcott

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Aims and objectives

The aim of this study was to explore empirically the role that coaching plays in the development of nurse managers in order to inform further research and policy makers about the potential utility and value of this means of development.


There is evidence of the importance of the role of nurse managers who are first line managers of a team of nurses within any health sector. However, there appears to be little understanding of the United Kingdom wide scope of nurse manager development across the United Kingdom and the means to increase its effectiveness. At the same time, it appears that some nurse managers receive coaching to help in their development.


This is a mixed methods study, using a pragmatist paradigm.


Data was gathered from a quantitative survey and qualitative interviews. This paper is reporting the results of the qualitative interviews only. Twenty-one qualitative interviews were undertaken with nurse managers, coaches and directors of nursing to draw out their own experiences of coaching for nurse managers. Thematic analysis framework was used for data interrogation, identifying new patterns and emerging themes.


Themes that emerged from interviews include how nurse managers were introduced to coaching, how they balanced transitions, the role of reflection, the value of relationships and overlaps between clinical supervision, mentoring and coaching.


Findings show that following coaching, nurse managers gained increased resilience, confidence and better coping mechanisms. This resulted in perceived improved team management and cohesion and appeared to lead to better quality of care for patients.

Relevance to clinical practice

This study suggests the importance of nurse managers accessing coaching, to enable transformational leadership of their teams of nurses. It suggests also the importance of organisations supporting a coaching culture, to ensure staff satisfaction, motivation and improved quality of patient care.

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