One of the biggest challenges on the Positive People project is ensuring we are able to spend the right amount of time with our clients. We have to keep in mind throughout that these are people who have come to us looking for answers and solutions to very complicated problems and situations that thankfully, we've never had to experience for ourselves.
Our goal is to ensure they get the support they need in a timeframe that gets them on their own personal road to recovery at a pace they're comfortable with, whilst not rolling through things slowly. It's no good for them if they aren't making progress, and it's no good for us when we've got so many people to help and work with.
So how do we accomplish this?
The Change Coach is the central piece of the puzzle. They listen to each case individually, and they have a wealth of knowledge and understanding of particular issues and situations. They act as a mentor - signposting clients to different services, funding their journey, and supporting their needs. A Change Coach is not afraid of having to switch gears if necessary and is already ready. "My job as a coach is to be inspirational and move them into things they may not have discovered for themselves. If we found something that would suit a participant better, it's right that we think outside of the box and provide them with that support," said Susanna Robson, Digital Change Coach for South Devon.
Over the first few meetings, the Change Coach gets a feel for the amount of support a participant needs and how long it might take. Creating Action Plans is a huge element of providing this path, and most importantly, clarity for the participant. The Change Coach can refer back to this and check off each completed element as they go, as well as checking and adapting if a participant is starting to struggle with an aspect of their support.
With our digital trainers, we make participants aware of the amount of support we can provide. We're flexible too. If a participant maybe requires a few more weeks, it's worth giving them that little bit extra than releasing them before they're ready. "We plan out sessions in detail so we can see progress week to week, and adapt the timescale we've set so that they are able to achieve their goals without unnecessary pressure. It's important that they are happy with their learning timetable too, so we structure this in agreement with the participant," said Emma Hupertz, Digital Training Assistant for South Devon.
It should be noted that as long as a participant needs support, we are there. But equally, there has to be an understanding that we are not helping if a participant is kept on programme for months. There's a great sense of reward of getting the participant to their destination and onward - and it's even better if we get them there quicker than anyone else has ever tried to do.