Coaching is a way of providing additional, confidential one-to-one support that can be supported back in the workplace.

Open to all staff, our coaching scheme has helped over sixty members of staff from all departments and grades. Our team of twenty coaches - all York staff - have been externally accredited and undertake regular professional development.

Coaching is a voluntary and confidential process in which a trained coach guides an individual to consider alternatives to their current situation and identify an outcome that they are committed to.

It is one of the most powerful developmental approaches available to individuals and organisations.  

While the coach's focus will be on professional rather than personal development, coaches will often take a holistic view of a person to understand the context of their issues and understanding the important factors that will influence their mindset and motivation. 

Within our coaching scheme, we work to this description of coaching:

"the process of enabling individuals to acquire the knowledge, skills and techniques needed to perform effectively in their occupational role by motivating, inspiring, challenging, stimulating and guiding them. The coach must be able to recognise the needs of individuals being coached, develop coaching programmes appropriate to meet those needs, and help individuals achieve to their full potential."

In coaching the emphasis is on the future, on moving forward with skills development or personal goals and well-being.

Typical situations where coaching is particularly useful include:

  • supporting change and development activities
  • those wanting to develop more effective working relationships
  • those wanting to develop their performance or skills
  • those new to higher education
  • those transitioning into a new role
  • those considering their future direction
The coaching is not there to replace support and guidance from a line manager, but to offer an additional mechanism where one-to-one confidential coaching can be provided and supported by the direct line manager back in the workplace.
  • All staff will have access to the scheme and will be encouraged and supported to undertake coaching activities where appropriate.   
    • All applications need to be supported by a line manager
  • The process will be triangulated between the coach/coachee (applicant) and their line manager.
    • The coachee and their line manager will discuss expectations and desired outcomes prior to applying for the scheme
    • These outcomes will be recorded, shared and developed on with the coach
    • Formal evaluation against these outcomes will be conducted with feedback being sought from the coach, coachee and line manager
  • Adequate time will be available, by agreement, within the working day for any eligible individual wishing to participate in the scheme. It is anticipated that sessions will last no longer than 60–90 mins and will take place every 4-8 weeks.
    • Coaching may also take place outside the working day, if this is preferred by the coach and coachee
    • There will be no limits on the time scale for coaching relationships, although it is not anticipated that they will last longer than a year
  • Coaching relationships will be confidential and trustworthy.
    • The coaching scheme will have a code of confidentiality and ethics
    • The coaching scheme will operate independently of the performance review
    • The desired outcomes and any agreed actions will be shared by the coachee with their line manager
    • The coaching scheme will comply with the principles of the Data Protection Act
  • The coaching scheme will be managed and monitored to national standards
    • All coaches will be accredited or working towards a minimum of the ILM Level 3 Certificate for Workplace Coaches
    • We will match and continue to support individual coaching pairs as long as they are working together

If you are considering applying to the scheme you should:

  • review the information available on the scheme
  • contact us at if any clarification is required
  • reflect on what you hope to get from the coaching
  • discuss the idea with your line manager and gain their support
  • complete and submit an application form [docx]

Applications to the scheme can be made at any time.  Applications will be processed within four to six weeks of receipt.

Where possible line management support will be required. We recommend that before submitting your application you agree with them the following:

  • desired outcomes and record these on the application form
  • expectations of both parties
  • frequency of sessions
  • support back in the workplace

If line management support is not possible then please contact us at

The matching process

The application form will act as the main consideration in the matching process. Within four to six weeks of receiving an application to the scheme we will:

  • identify up to three potential coaches
  • contact coaches to check their availability
  • send you up to three coach biographies

Once you have confirmed your chosen coach, the coach will be informed and the relationship will be able to start.

All proposed matches will be agreed with both parties on the outset and there will be opportunity to raise concerns over a match before commencing with a coaching relationship.

It is accepted that not all proposed relationships will be suitable and that it is possible that conflicts of interest may affect the potential success of coaching relationships. In such cases we will attempt to make an alternative match.

We give feedback to individuals on their application. If we cannot match you with a coach or other development choices may be more appropriate to meet your needs and expectations, we will advise you on the other options available.

It is important that the benefits of coaching relationships are measured. This lets us evaluate the effectiveness of this approach, identify organisational learning and assure the quality of the coaching.

Individual coaching relationships will be evaluated regularly throughout three stages of the relationship:

  • in the initial stages of the relationship (within 6-12 weeks of the matching and pairing process)
  • at the end of the relationship
  • six months after the end of the relationship

The purpose of the evaluation is to ensure the relationships are forming well and that they are proving to be purposeful and successful.

In respect of the confidential nature of the scheme neither coach nor coachee will be expected to impart detailed information about the content of their relationship. We do require both parties to give an overview of the main objectives, achievements and purpose of the relationship so that we can show the business benefits of the scheme.


I have been telling friends about it, and it made me realise that I really do feel that the University as an institution cares about me, and offers me a way to grow and develop. So thank you very much for suggesting this and putting it in place. It's a terrific scheme

A senior academic

See what others have said about the coaching scheme