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An Introduction to Leading with Kindness and Compassion in Health and Social Care

Develop your understanding of how to lead with compassion and kindness within the health and social care sectors.

8,360 enrolled on this course

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Learn what is meant by leading with kindness and compassion

This introductory three-week course from The King’s Fund is for anyone working in or interested in health and social care in its broadest sense, regardless of experience or role.

It’s designed to introduce you to some of the foundations of leadership, kindness, and compassion. You’ll explore why these qualities matter now more than ever, and how to develop your personal practice of kind and compassionate leadership.

Understand why kindness and compassion matter

With so many overlapping pressures facing the health and social care system, and the inequities that many groups continue to experience, kindness and compassion can be hard to practice and sustain.

Research shows a compelling link between compassion in leadership and staff wellbeing, team performance, and better outcomes for patients and service users. The need for kindness and compassion in health and care leadership is increasingly being reflected in national policy work across the UK.

Recognise what kind and compassionate leadership looks like

As well as deepening your understanding and knowledge of leadership in health and care, this course will help you develop your own practice of kind and compassionate leadership.

You’ll hear from leaders and experts from across the health and care system and explore some practical ways that you can develop a compassionate mindset and cultivate kindness and compassion in your relationships with others.

Learn from experts in health and social care from The King’s Fund

Established in 1897, The King’s Fund is an independent charitable organisation working to improve health and care in England.

They have a recognised history of leadership and organisational development in the UK’s health and social care sectors, and you’ll be learning from specialists in these fields throughout.


  • Week 1

    What does it mean to lead with kindness and compassion?

    • Getting started

      Find out more about how this course will work, who you will be learning with and what you can expect from the next three weeks.

    • Defining the field

      What is leadership? What is compassion? How do we define these concepts before we start to think about how they apply to yourself as a leader, how you lead others and how this shows up in systems and organisations.

    • Understanding kind and compassionate leadership

      Now that you understand the core concepts, it is time to focus on how this applies to you.

  • Week 2

    Why lead with kindness and compassion?

    • Making the case for kindness and compassion

      Explore the evidence on why kindness and compassion is needed for all in the health and social care system.

    • The challenge facing kind and compassionate leaders

      What does leading with kindness and compassion look like? How is it experienced by colleagues, peers, patients and service users?

  • Week 3

    How do I lead with kindness and compassion?

    • Leading myself with kindness and compassion

      The first act of leading with kindness and compassion is to practice it for yourself as a leader. Find out what this looks like in practice.

    • Leading others with kindness and compassion

      How will you lead others with kindness and compassion in mind? What will this feel like for others? What will you need to do to enable this?

    • Finishing up

      Now that you have completed this course, how are you going to take forward the learning and insight into your workplace, studies or training?

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Engage with the evidence around why kindness and compassion is important for improving outcomes, staff wellbeing and performance and inclusive organisational cultures
  • Reflect on your own leadership behaviours and the behaviours you see around you in the workplace
  • Practice simple and every day techniques to model self-compassion and kindness towards others
  • Discuss the wider systemic issues that prevent kindness and compassion from being present in health and care
  • Explore the different ways in which we define the concepts of leadership, kindness and compassion
  • Begin to develop a personal practice of kind and compassionate leadership

Who is the course for?

This course is primarily suited to:

  • People working in health and social care, regardless of sector, role or seniority.
  • Leaders in the NHS, local government, independent and voluntary, community and social enterprise sector.
  • Learners who are thinking about working within the health and social care system
  • Patients, service users and carers who use the health and social care system

Who will you learn with?

I work at The King's Fund as a Senior Consultant in Leadership & Organisational Development. I am also co-founder and Director at The Centre for Patient Leadership

I am a Senior Consultant in the leadership and organisation development team at The King's Fund.

Who developed the course?

The King's Fund

The King’s Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. Its vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all.


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  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

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  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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