Guy's and St Thomas's NHS Foundation Trust offers various apprenticeships to develop their people, including the coaching professional apprenticeship, which we developed in partnership with BPP.

Eleanor Wharf, a Clinical Embryologist at Guy's Hospital's Assisted Conception Unit (ACU), decided to enroll in the coaching apprenticeship to improve her leadership and mentoring skills. As well as supporting her colleagues, she was also interested in how coaching could empower patients through their fertility journey in the ACU.

Guy's and St Thomas's NHS Foundation Trust

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Five hospitals, community care services, medical education, and research in London

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Leadership ranked outstanding by the Care Quality Commission

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71% of staff recommend the trust as a place to work

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Aims to offer 350 new apprenticeships every year

The challenge

Assisted conception can be a very uncertain and stressful process. Guy's ACU provides in-house counselling services - different from fertility coaching, which focuses on empowering people to be more confident in their decision-making and reduce anxiety.

Eleanor realised that combining our training with her expertise in embryology would put her in a unique position to bring a fertility coaching service to Guy's.

The real challenge for Eleanor was thinking about how best to work with the senior leadership at the ACU to implement the coaching.

Coaching offered something different for patients on their fertility journey – a valuable opportunity to open up about their worries and concerns.

It has been so satisfying and personally fulfilling to use my coaching skills to improve patient’s experiences at such a difficult time for them.”

Eleanor Wharf, Clinical Embryologist

How we helped

Our coaching apprenticeship is an innovative partnership model, combining BBP's high-quality apprenticeship provision and Grant Thornton’s extensive coaching insight and expertise. Participants get exclusive access to a growing peer network of hundreds of coaches with regular virtual events and best-practice sharing. Best practice content is designed by professional coach practitioners delivering the latest thinking in the sector.

The structure of the apprenticeship and support from coach-mentors enabled Eleanor to run a six-month pilot scheme in 2022 to test the effectiveness of fertility coaching at Guy’s.

The results

Patients were asked to complete pre- and post- coaching questionnaires, which generated powerful qualitative data demonstrating that coaching improved their resilience, increased preparedness, and supported their emotional well-being. After presenting the results to the senior leadership team Eleanor was given permission to continue her work with a weekly fertility coaching clinic at the ACU.

"Eleanor's story highlights the versatility of our coaching development programme and how coaching skills, tools and techniques can be applied to a wide range of specialisms or scenarios."

Ruth Walsh, Director, People Advisory 

Coaching professional apprenticeship

Demand is growing for professionalising coaching skills within culture and governance infrastructures to support new ways of working.

About our team

With over £3.3 billion of the Apprenticeship Levy unused in the UK in the last three years, we're on a mission to support optimise your levy to further develop your workforce. You can call on our range of apprenticeship programmes in leadership and management, accountancy, data and coaching – all co-designed and co-delivered with a select group of training providers. We bring you a unique offering: a combination of high quality training and extensive real-world business expertise. Our programmes are designed to provide some of the most sought-after skills that can be implemented to make real business impact.

Ruth Walsh

Ruth Walsh