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Mentoring & Coaching Hub: Empowering MSF’s Global Workforce

The highly-successful Mentoring & Coaching Hub project is overcoming challenges such as high turnover and increasing demands on MSF staff by providing much-needed Individual and team coaching, mentoring, and some online trainings to reach a truly global workforce.

Tell us about the problem you are trying to solve.

MSF faces high turnover rates and, in the past, has not focused adequate time and resources on supporting and developing staff. Mentoring & Coaching Hub arose out of a need to invest in and develop a better learning environment for MSF teams and leaders via mentoring and coaching, and to provide shared resources that are accessible to existing and new initiatives throughout MSF. Combined, these goals will transform MSF’s leadership and management culture.


What is your solution? What motivates you to work on addressing this problem?

Our solution involves training senior staff as mentors and coaches to support and build competence and confidence in newer staff members. To develop their skills, mentors and coaches are provided with professional development opportunities, such as webinars and supervised peer-learning groups, that will help them grow in their practice while following international quality standards. Participating in the mentoring workshops of our accredited programme ensures that the mentors receive tangible value for their experience and provides the mentees with the guidance and support they need to excel in their work. We are supporting leaders in the MSF global workforce by giving them the tools to practice key leadership skills ( creating an accessible and confidential digital handbook for mentee/mentor pairs). Our digital learning repository is accessible to not just coaches, mentors, and mentees, but everyone in the movement. They can find useful resources, documentation, articles and academic papers, all related to mentoring, coaching, and leadership practices. We are striving to change the management culture in MSF through a model of continuous learning.

What have you done so far and what results have you achieved? 

Mentoring & Coaching Hub has implemented an internationally accredited educational curriculum for both mentors and coaches. Mentoring & Coaching Hub has trained 230 mentors in the last 2.5 years, from all 5 OCs and MSF Canada. We have also trained a first cohort of 24 MSF coaches and just started training the second cohort of 18 new MSF coaches. We are working on expanding our network of external and global coaching experts. Around 70 MSF employees have started an individual coaching relationship in the first 10 months of the programme, as we are scaling up to increase our reach and coach more staff.

After two years of research, and with one out of three longitudinal studies now finalized, we have a clear view of the impact that Mentoring & Coaching Hub has had on mentoring field leaders. We have fostered a successful story of collaboration, and the team is widely recognized for its expertise in mentoring and coaching. Participants in the program have shared the value this has brought to their work.

Mentor – “The mentoring experience has influenced my ideas around development and identifying people’s needs… Mentoring has increased my competence in supporting people in the field.”
Mentee – “Through MSF and mentoring, I saw myself as a leader, able to become a strategic leader and transform my identity.”

During our evaluations*, we discovered that:

    68% of mentees said that mentoring helped them most with people management development and leadership competence.
    71% of mentees felt that mentoring had significantly assisted them in their leadership skill development and thus helped them perform in their role.
    71% of mentees said that “mentoring has helped me much more, or more, than other forms of support.”

*Sourced from the Mentoring Impact Evaluation Study from May 2019. Full and short reports will be available soon on the Mentoring & Coaching website.


What challenges have you faced? What lessons have you learned? What is next?

Among many learnings in the last two years:

    – The structure of MSF is quite large and complex, and it takes time to build collaborative relationships and to disseminate relevant information. We learned that designing a primary structure, identifying the different technologies available, and creating an ecosystem where different systems can work together are time-intensive processes.

    – We are currently working on making our content more user-friendly, more accessible (by offering translations in three more languages), and more adapted to our global workforce. Since we work with different digital tools and systems, our goal is to integrate them and create a single flux of data that can be analyzed, understood, and used to give insight into future program improvements. Additionally, we are training more trainers to ensure sustainability of our activities.

Are there any interesting partners that you are collaborating with?

One of our objectives is to expand our external network and integrate the knowledge and technologies we can learn from those partners. Mentoring & Coaching Hub is an official member of the European Mentoring and Coaching Council organisation and network. MSF coaches are trained in our Coaching Education that has an accreditation from the International Coach Federation (ICF). We gain knowledge and expertise from academics and practitioners, and we benchmark our practices against their standards, as well as the standards of the International Coaching Federation (with whom we hope to collaborate with in the future). Our Digital Logbook for mentors and mentees was co-developed with Dossier AS (a Norwegian company) and we will continue working with them to develop new digital induction and matching tools. Internally, we are partnering and collaborating with various HR departments (MSF-USA, OCBA, OCA, OCB, OCG and MSF-Canada) as well as the International Office and other TIC projects (LEAP and TEMBO).

What is the expected long-term impact of the project? How will this project improve MSF’s lifesaving work and the lives of MSF’s patients?

Our long-term goal is to make mentoring and coaching available to as many staff as possible in MSF. By creating a space for shared resources and learning, this project will enhance collaboration among MSF mentoring and coaching programs and allow them to continuously innovate together. As seen in our study, mentoring has many positive effects on the well-being, resilience, self-awareness, performance, leadership competencies, and even retention of mentees (mainly team leaders at the field level). We strongly believe that such an investment and impact on our human capital will contribute to furthering MSF’s social mission.

To learn more about this important program, please visit the Mentoring & Coaching website.