Today we would like to highlight the work of a longtime CoachingOurselves client organization, The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH). IUIH embodies communityship in action and has been using CoachingOurselves for seven years to support their employees.
IUIH is based in Brisbane, urban South East Queensland, which is home to 11% of Australia’s and 38% of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. It was founded in 2009 by the four local community controlled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health organisations that knew if the lives of Aboriginal people were to improve, a different way of providing health services was essential. IUIH began with five employees and in 2022 IUIH currently employs over 750 staff across 20 multi-disciplinary primary healthcare clinics. Over half of their workforce identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
Since their inception, IUIH has been focused on reforming the way health services are governed and putting community back at the centre of the health service system. Key to their success and growth has been their commitment to embody a peer-based approach to leadership with emphasis on growing their own managers and leaders from within the organisation. This development has been founded on IUIH’s cultural integrity investment framework which supports staff to understand and embed the integrity of cultural knowledge and practice in all aspects of their work, ensuring it resonates and makes sense to their community.
CoachingOurselves was introduced to the IUIH in 2015 by Australian CoachingOurselves partner, consultant Monica Redden. IUIH saw a link between Coaching Ourselves and yarnin, the reciprocal sharing of stories highly valued in Aboriginal culture. The CO ethos of listening, sharing views and learning together, as demonstrated in the structure of the modules, aligns with IUIHs relational way of working together.
CO has enabled key skill development and confidence for leaders and managers. It has also inspired IUIH to write their own Yarnin-Up modules specific to their cultural values on themes such as privilege, social determinants of health, and reflection , which are integrated into the overall approach to workforce development.
“In essence” said Alison Nelson, Director of Organisational Development, “CoachingOurselves gives us structured modules as tools for exploring principles and practices of leadership based on emotional intelligence and peer learning which are core to our ways of working. Over the years we have worked through most of the topics. We tend to select regular go-to topics as well as topics that are relevant for what is happening at the time. The diversity of topics targeting different levels of skill and experience is really helpful, however we do sometimes modify language and elements to fit-in to our southern hemisphere reality as well as community controlled organisation values. I think having a team dedicated to checking over the topics and translating where necessary to make them relevant has been important.
As a start-up organisation, we have had to manage growth at a rapid pace, we can’t grow managers and leaders quickly enough! CO is a trusted and high quality product and an important resource in our workforce development toolkit.
Some of the regular go-to modules we draw upon include Friendly Consulting-helps us to learn about learning, drawing on collective knowledge and how to have constructive conversation; Silos & Slabs-helps new staff understand how and why we operate the way we do, it is also a great channel to get feedback from participants on their current experiences; Appreciating Appreciative Inquiry -helps us to look at things differently and to be creative in building ideas and solutions; Accountability: It’s a Tricky World -helps us to focus on the transition into management roles. We have recently used Dealing with Delegation and found that to be very interesting.”
We are grateful to Monica Redden for cultivating this relationship and to IUIH for choosing CoachingOurselves as part of their ongoing organizational and leadership development process. We remain inspired by their work and wish the IUIH continued success and thriving.
To learn more about the IUIH, please visit their website.