The crucial role of health coaching in helping people back to work

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We know that health is a major factor in people’s journey back into work.  

Research from The Health Foundation, which looks at the relationship between health and work, suggests unemployment can harm health, and poor health makes it harder to find or sustain employment. Figures show that in communities with higher employment rates, there is a higher healthy life expectancy on average. 

Maximus has vast experience of delivering health coaching through a number of our services, including The Greater Manchester Working Well Early Help programme and the Restart Scheme delivered in communities across the UK.  

Our employability programmes incorporate expert health coaching to help participants make positive changes in order to overcome their health barriers and move forward with their lives. 

On the Restart Scheme in South and East London, over 800 participants have been referred to our highly skilled Health Coaches, while in South and West Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, over 200 people have benefitted from the service.  

Our Employment Advisors can refer participants with mild to moderate health and wellbeing barriers directly to the service, and over six sessions, the coaches provide tailored support using a participant-led light touch approach – encouraging them to set their own goals and helping them to achieve them. 

Whether participants need support with their mental health, a boost in confidence and self-esteem, coping strategies to help with stress and anxiety, advice on nutrition, nicotine or alcohol addiction, or simply some extra motivation, the Health Coaches empower them to make positive wellbeing decisions to get back on track. 

Sean Kierans, from Newham, was supported through the Restart Scheme’s Health Coaches when he fell out of work after becoming suddenly ill. When he joined the scheme, he was despondent about his health issues, which he had been struggling with for nearly 18 months. 

But with the help of his dedicated Health Coach, Sharon Martin, he was able to take positive strides forward.  

Sean reflected: “Sharon gave me the confidence to take charge of my health issues. She supported me in very practical ways, engendering in me a sense of empowerment to take further action.”

Sean had been suffering from very bad headaches and balance issues, which was later diagnosed as Labyrinthitis. Thanks to Sharon’s advice and support, Sean began a course of treatment, which included medication and physiotherapy.

Sean said: “Sharon helped me to the see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am getting better all the time and have secured a voluntary work placement as a stepping stone to return to paid employment.”

Sharon Baker, Restart Scheme Coaching Manager in South and East London, explained: “Mild to moderate health and wellbeing barriers are being addressed or removed on an hourly basis through our Health Coaching. Participants who are prepared to embrace change see remarkable improvements to their health and wellbeing.”

If further support is needed after the six sessions, the coaches can signpost participants to members of our Community Partnership Network for more long-term support.  

Sharon Quinn, Restart Scheme Coaching Manager for South and West Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, knows how important it is to support as many participants as possible over the coming year and beyond.  

Sharon said: “In the current climate and with the effects of Covid still having an impact, it is critically important that we offer support from all angles. We are seeing more and more people affected by health issues which has a huge effect on their ability to contemplate employment.  

“Through the Restart Scheme, it isn’t simply about placing participants into jobs – we want to help them to sustain long-term employment, which in turn will have a positive impact on their overall wellbeing. 

“If we can support the participant to make positive changes to support their health and wellbeing, then they will be better equipped to start dealing with other barriers to enable them to succeed at work. 

“In the coming years, we hope to reach even more participants – empowering them with tools that can support them in other aspects of their lives.” 

24 November, 2022