Three, It’s the Magic Number

Three, It’s the Magic Number

An article written by Emily Johnson, BBO Health & Wellbeing Coach on the value of the BBO dual coaching model.

As one of the first Health and Wellbeing Coaches for Building Better Opportunities, I have witnessed its growth and development into the exciting, unique and wide-ranging IPS programme it is today. During my role, I have experienced life as both a ‘lone coach’ and as part of a dual coach health & wellbeing and employment specialist team. As a result I have been able to reflect on the impact that both of these coaching models has had on the experiences and outcomes of our customers. 

Delivered effectively, IPS models have been shown in several randomised control trials to be more than twice as effective at supporting people into competitive employment and training than traditional ‘train-then-place’ models. BBO Sheffield City Region goes a step further and, following the example of the Norwegian IPS model, adopts a dual-coaching model at its core. This pairs health & wellbeing practitioners alongside highly-experienced work and employment specialists, to form holistic and close-knit multi-disciplinary mini-teams. These mini-teams work alongside the provision of specialist debt and welfare advice, personal tuition and training courses to provide a bespoke service in order to best meet customer need and offer individually-tailored specialist support to both gain and then retain employment. 

From a customer perspective, a sole-coaching model will inevitably result in instances where more specialist knowledge is required or where gaps in the coach’s experience become evident. It was evident from the outset what a difference a dual coaching team would make to the customer experience and outcome. Joint sessions with customers become dynamic, with employment and training information available immediately, and answers and suggestions at our finger-tips. Job roles, training routes, specialist labour market knowledge and suggestions for career directions poured-forth, seamlessly interwoven into discussions around mental health conditions, coping strategies, grading, occupational performance and how best to recognise and celebrate our customers’ many strengths in the workplace. 

By working in this dual-coaching capacity, occupational therapy meets employment coaching to provide a solid dual-coaching approach which flows and is highly-agile, with total flexibility to meet individual specific customer need. For example, whilst all initial customer appointments and in-depth assessments are conducted by both coaches, many of our customers go on in time to express a greater obvious need/preference for either the HWC or WEC input, to meet their individually-tailored goals. This ebbs and flows, and may change depending on which goals they wish to prioritise in what order. Even where customers may be having more input from one coach than the other at a particular point, the health and wellbeing and employment coach fully discuss each and every customer’s progress and goals, any successes and all forthcoming plans and actions on a weekly basis. This adds clarity, focus and dynamism to the case-loading process, creating a steady flow for our customers along the journey from referral to outcome and beyond. 

It is heartening having a coaching partner to share the many triumphs and occasional inevitable challenges with. With team morale and motivation boosted, dynamism is greater and it is fair to say that a dual-coaching team is greater than the sum of its parts.

In summary, is clear that the dual coaching model adopted by BBO SCR is rich in benefits both for us a coaches and for our customers. Dual-coaching allows us to deliver a fully-rounded, holistic, sensitive and dynamic service to assist our customers to recognise and utilise their many strengths and to be able to bring these into the labour market where they will add value and be celebrated.

 The realstrength of the BBO coaching model however lies in the relationship between the threeteam members: the Health and Wellbeing Coach, the Work and Enterprise Coach, and the customer. The customer is always at the very heart of our actions, and it is the customer who drives the goal-setting and actualisation. It is when meeting together as a three that the realmagic of dual-coaching happens, and where the dynamism lies. So when it comes to team numbers: one is a challenge, two is fantastic… but it’s three that’s the magic number.

30thJan 2018 - Emily Johnson – Health and Wellbeing Coach, BBO Sheffield City Region

South Yorkshire Housing Association

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