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Greater collaboration through having the conversations that matter at Birmingham Hospice

Birmingham Hospice Case Study

Industry: Charity / Third sector
Services used: CAPE Flagship people management programme


Birmingham Hospice has put its patients at the heart of everything it has done throughout its 157-year history. Birmingham Hospice meets its community's complex, sensitive needs, from caring for those in their Inpatient Units to providing vital day services in their Living Well Centres and supporting families with personalised bereavement counselling. With over 200 employees working across two facilities and mobile in the community, they care for 1000 people a day.


Every team member at Birmingham Hospice needs to understand how to effectively talk with a range of internal stakeholders, team members and external communities, often discussing some of the most challenging and sensitive matters one encounters in their lifetime. In 2021 Birmingham Hospice merged two well-established hospices, bringing colleagues who had not previously collaborated into a new leadership team.

As part of this transformation, Birmingham Hospice identified 40 of its leaders to support in building their confidence and skills in managing people. The aim was to help them have conversations around collaboration and performance to drive exceptional patient outcomes and internal performance. To achieve this, Birmingham Hospice knew they needed to create a supportive culture and provide a safe environment to empower managers to take ownership of this initiative.



CAPE worked with the executive leadership team to develop a multi-faceted programme to grow its managers' personal and professional capabilities and achieve tangible business outcomes. We discussed the key metrics the Hospice wanted to improve and what should ‘feel’ different in the organisation upon programme completion. We then tailored the CAPE Flagship people management programme around their unique aims. Key focus areas included:

  • The importance of different types of conversations and how to use coaching skills to support and challenge equally
  • Techniques for understanding how to motivate and support people through change and uncertainty
  • How to communicate effectively and bring a team together to encourage excellent performance

Managers participated in a 12-month programme comprising 6 in-person interactive workshops, 1:1 coaching and cross-team peer learning. During workshops, participants worked through real-life people management scenarios, using various techniques, including how to give feedback and coaching style conversations, to explore best practice approaches to overcome challenges and empower team members.

1:1 coaching sessions also supercharged development by providing individually tailored support. Each participant had 3 sessions, which comprised the provision of a confidential thinking space to explore managers key challenges and opportunities.

For the programme's final 6 months, each participant partnered with a person from another charity / not-for-profit to put their skills into practice and have impactful coaching-style conversations. This enabled the managers to step out of their comfort zone and have the opportunity to work with someone where they as a manager have no responsibility.



Birmingham Hospice has achieved the outcomes they were looking for through the programme and has seen a cultural shift, putting it on track to achieve its long-term objectives. They’ve seen increased collaboration across its two main facilities and between different clinical and corporate teams. They’ve successfully navigated the various internal and external challenges that not-for-profits and patient-centred organisations typically experience.

Key impact and effectiveness themes from participants: 

  • A positive impact on team development
  • Better at managing change
  • Delegating more effectively
  • Courage to have performance management conversations
  • Developed resilience
  • Letting other people lead – empowerment
  • Shift from doing and rescuing – helping others take ownership

Participant quotes: 

I am challenging more and believing in myself more as a manager. I think my colleagues have benefited too, as they are coming to me less but also saying that when they come to see me, they have tried to sort out the issues and have come to me as a last resort. My conversations are more inquisitive.’ 

‘I am giving less advice and asking more open questions in all meetings and exchanges where applicable. In team meetings this is really helpful to get the team to come up with solutions rather than me giving a solution, and the teams are more engaged as a direct result.’ 

I am more comfortable being the person who doesn't always try to solve the problem, and I hope this has allowed my team to feel more empowered.’ 


Charity / not-for-profit coaching conversations

The charity / not-for-profit coaching conversations enabled the managers to develop their confidence and capability whilst providing impactful development space for charity partners through over 100 conversations.

Charity / not-for-profit partner feedback: 

  • 77% of participants agree/strongly agree to feel more confident following the conversations.
  • 85% agree/strongly agree it helped to identify skills and strengths to be effective in their roles.
  • 77% strongly agree that their coach created a space for them to share, think and develop new ideas.
  • 70% said they are 9 or 10/10 likely to recommend the coaching conversations.






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