NHS England and NHS Improvement launched their confidential coaching service #LookingAfterYouToo in April 2020, at the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Since then, over 7,000 sessions have been booked with experienced coaches. All as the primary care workforce continue to face unprecedented challenges and ongoing pressures. Both personally and professionally.
The free offer is available to all staff working in the delivery of primary care services. Either employed by the NHS or working with an NHS-funded employer delivering an NHS funded primary care contract.
The coaches tailor all coaching to the needs of the coachee, with many highly rating the service.
Gaining pre-emptive help
Recent evaluation results indicate, on average, significant increases in feelings of wellbeing and resilience following sessions with coaches.
Many dental staff have registered for the service. Including a dental practitioner based in a community dental service.
In the earlier parts of lockdown, they say that the constant updates and lack of clarity in the government guidelines created ‘a lot of unknowns and a lot of uncertainty…I wanted some pre-emptive help before I felt the situation become too stressful’.
In the first session they discussed with the coach what they could do to improve their effectiveness and impact as a manager. They could ‘get very wound up’.
The coach was able to contextualise the experiences they were describing. They discussed the idea of ‘a window of tolerance’ that can differ between individuals in stressful situations.
The dental practitioner explained how the coach made them feel very comfortable. They have recommended the coaching to others in their team and within their network. In comparison to other wellbeing services, they found that coaching nudged them to think about how they were reacting, and proactively discuss how this could be changed for the better.
Coaches might signpost to further support if they think it is helpful. The coaches send follow-up emails to support coachees in maintaining their wellness once they finish coaching sessions.
Looking after NHS staff
Heather Simpson, senior programme lead at NHS England and NHS Improvement, says: ‘We know how important maintaining good psychological health and wellbeing is for us all.
‘This service is in response to what people are telling us they need during these incredibly challenging times.
‘The pandemic has placed additional complexity and pressure on our primary care colleagues. This service aims to provide an easy to access, confidential space to support all our colleagues in primary care.
‘Our staff have been working tirelessly looking after others throughout the pandemic. This service provides a space for us to look after them.’
Coaching sessions are available Mondays to Fridays between 08:00am – 10:00pm. And also on Saturdays and Sundays between 10:00am – 6:00pm.
In addition to #LookingAfterYouToo, a new service called #LookingAfterYourTeam launched in January 2021. This is for those who lead, manage or organise a team or group in primary care.
Find out more about #LookingAfterYouToo and book a coaching session: www.england.nhs.uk/looking-after-you-too.