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Personal and professional development coaching with the Residential Services team, University of Southampton

Laura Palmour, Residences Manager, University of Southampton


What was occupying my mind?

I manage a large and diverse team who work at a number of different locations.  The team had been through a fair amount of change, both in terms of process and personnel.  I was aware that they were stretched and had little time to allocate to their personal development.  I believed that this was having an impact on them and the service they provided to their customers, a large student community in our Halls of Residence.

In addition, colleagues at different locations had developed different ways of working without thinking about the strategic consequences, or the benefits of sharing best practice.  Changes in personnel had moved some colleagues into positions of responsibility where they needed some support to help them get the most from their team, and to do so in a way that utilised their strengths most effectively.  I needed something that would support appropriate individuals, engage the whole team in coming together as a single unit, and which would focus minds on the continuous improvement of our customer service.

What did Jeremy do to help?

Jeremy listened carefully to how I described the current situation and the picture that I painted of a desirable future.  He was sensitive to my needs and made suggestions of development work that would help both individuals and groups.  Throughout he was careful to positively manage my expectations and encourage me to think about how to measure the success of our collaboration.

Jeremy set up 1-2-1 coaching relationships with four staff whose developmental needs were identified by themselves, their management, and their peers.  He made suggestions about training content for the team to stretch and challenge delegates in thinking how their roles contributed to the purpose of the team as a whole.  While the content was customer service focussed there was a common thread of encouraging the team to think more creatively, and to take stronger ownership of their work.  Over several months Jeremy designed and delivered several training sessions covering nearly 50 staff and delivered 35 hours of 1-2-1 coaching.

What are the outcomes?

The feedback from all the training sessions was hugely positive.  Colleagues bought their learning back into the workplace.   Their language around customer service has changed with people being much clearer on the importance of thinking of the impact of their actions on other stakeholders, particular student customers and team colleagues.  A significant outcome has been an increased appreciation of how different personalities respond in different ways to the same message.  Jeremy’s coaching has been fundamental to each coachee meeting their development goals.


 " It has contributed to staff being promoted to, or cementing their position as, supervision and management.  The focus on clarity of the common purpose, the central importance of the customer, and accommodating diversity represent long lasting outcomes on which future training and development can build.  We are continuing to work with Jeremy on further training and development as a direct consequence of the quality of the work he has done with us so far."


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