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Alpamayo Coaching working with the University of Southampton Students’ Union (SUSU)

Margarita Palmer-Stanelik, Head of People, SUSU

What Was The Challenge?

Every year a Student Leadership Team (SLT) is elected by their peers.  SLT informs the direction of Southampton University Student Union (SUSU) for the year to come and oversees its accountability to students.  I have been interested to know how best to support this group of talented individuals.  In particular, how to help them hit the ground running and how to encourage effective team working.  The diversity of their responsibilities and their personal manifestos makes this a sizeable challenge.

SUSU has put in place a comprehensive programme of learning development activities across the organisation.  A part of this was to embed a coaching culture within the SLT team supported by a similar approach with our full time staff.   I wanted this to deliver the right balance of learning for SLT;  to afford them the independence to deliver on their manifesto, support to realise their full potential, and the understanding to realise benefits from working together as a team.

What did Jeremy do to help?

In the early stages of introducing a coaching approach to SUSU we worked closely with Jeremy.  We valued his insights into the definition of developmental coaching and the appropriate use of coaching models.  His advice on delivery and review of the coaching training was instrumental to our success. We designed a bespoke coaching model that suited our purpose and the mission of our organisation.  Our staff reacted positively, quickly coming to understand the benefits of a coaching approach.  Through Jeremy’s consultation, our model gained the credibility and quality it required in order to yield effective results for our staff’.

Since that time I have worked with Jeremy in specifically commissioning group coaching for our Student Leadership Team.  Jeremy gave careful consideration of the coachees’ needs in the consultation stages and made valuable suggestions of techniques and activities to be utilised in two separate group coaching and training sessions with them.  He developed a bespoke programme for us and adapted it in real time in response to needs of the SLT group at the time of the training.  His engaging and calm manner worked well with the coachees.  He built rapport quickly, encouraging a trusting group dynamic that clearly resulted in open and honest discussion.

Jeremy provides an exceptional professional service.  Planning steps were agreed and delivered on time and the sessions achieved all their objectives and more.  I would highly recommend Jeremy to anyone looking for leadership, individual or group coaching for a variety of contexts and work situations.

What are the outcomes?

SLT has uniformly high praise of Jeremy’s training.  Enjoyable, informative and challenging they described it as a ‘really great thing to do’ and ‘definitely something worth continuing’.  Importantly, SLT strongly agreed that the programme helped them to be more aware of their strengths and how collaborative application of them makes for a more effective team.

One output from the session was that SLT agreed a team charter of standards and behaviours.  Displaying it prominently in their office helped them and other members of SUSU to hold each other to account. 

An outcome of the training was a greater self awareness that paid dividends in their work throughout the year.  One of SLT commented on the impact of Jeremy’s training saying


‘I found the sessions from Jeremy to be incredibly helpful in focusing myself individually and as part of the team. They were illuminating, in so far as helping me gain a greater understanding of my skill set, and Jeremy facilitated the activities really well. Afterwards, I found myself using the principles mentioned by him to work better with my colleagues and achieve the objective I had set myself.’

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