COPE Programme Report

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Earlier in the year Result CIC was considering how, as a community interest company, it could best support disabled people’s organisations in Greater Manchester. Jane Cordell, a Result CIC Director, is a Trustee for three such organisations. She observed the considerable financial and other pressures on these organisations and the negative impact these could have on their leaders.

Result CIC Directors felt that charity leaders may be expected to take on more and more challenges without receiving much, or any, support themselves.

With funding support from the Office of Disability Issues (ODI), a programme was developed to encourage senior managers and leaders of disability organisations to collaborate and share ideas while learning about themselves, their working style and much more. The programme's underpinning theme was coaching skills and how to use them at work to increase staff – and their own – capacity.

The result was the COPE programme: Challenge: Organisational and Personal Excellence.

It combined individual coaching with group learning in an open but safe environment which promoted sharing. All Result CIC facilitators are disabled. One participant noted the impact of this:

'[It] makes a huge difference when facilitators understand access issues and are aware of disability politics. […].'

We looked at how to shift from a negative to a positive mindset. We also looked at personal and learning styles and how to adapt yours to others while respecting differences.

Another important theme was active listening and asking good questions – as part of the regular input on coaching skills. Participants said they found it really helpful to be coached themselves and learn the skills of coaching at the same time.

One participant said: 'The coaching sessions were fantastic. [One simple technique from] my coaching sessions has revolutionised my life.'

We had a diverse group covering a wide range of disabilities. Participants could therefore draw on the experience of others: 'Most useful was the opportunity to benchmark with other Disabled People’s organisations­­­­­­­­ and the focus on taking control over what you can influence and not being demoralised by those things you can’t.'

We also encouraged participants to use the course to develop their networks:
'The course really made me think and the new connections I made with people are going to be so valuable.'

We asked participants to evaluate themselves at the start and end of the course on a scale from 1 to 10. The results were extremely positive e.g:

36% increase in participants’ confidence in their leadership skills.
28% increase in self-confidence levels
23% increase in feeling competent within their role


The evidence of this first programme strongly validates our belief that coaching – and coaching skills – can be very valuable for people working in challenging circumstances. The COPE programme was such a success, we are keen to ensure we can benefit others.

 
 

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