Thames Reach
Monday 20 November 2017
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Life coaches

Thames Reach recognised that service user trainees may need some assistance with their personal and career development during their traineeship.

Having the opportunity to discuss their feelings and thoughts about the impact of work on their identity, friendships, health and career options can help to sustain trainees during the placement period.

Photo of Pauline Jobson
Pauline Jobson was a life coach

The aims of the GROW life coaching service are:

  • To assist service user trainees to successfully make the emotional and psychological transition from homelessness to employment
  • To assist GROW trainees to move on at the end of the placement into other paid employment

Life coaching offers trainees the opportunity to discuss their feelings and thoughts about the impact paid work has on their:

  • Health – staying healthy at work

  • Identity – the change from homeless person to worker; service user to colleague

  • Self development – financial management, preventing relapse, support systems outside of work

  • Social networks – the change in peer group and making friends at work

  • Commitments – balancing work with other commitments

Life coaching sessions offer the trainee a chance to clarify issues and options and identify the best course of action to take. One action may be trainees making self-referrals to support services which are external to those within Thames Reach,  such as counselling or specialist support groups. 

In addition, the life coaching service provides GROW trainees with support and advice to progress their careers, making the move on from the traineeship a success. This support includes:

  • Setting career goals

  • Building job application skills, such as completing successful application forms, writing a CV, interview skills, selection tests, assessment centres and providing references

  • Encouragement to apply for jobs

“I’ve had fantastic help from the people at Thames Reach. I’ve had a life coach and if I’ve had any problems at all, I’ve gone to visit him. He’s always available. Everyone’s seemed so willing to help me.”

GROW trainee

The following documents provide more detailed information about the GROW life coaching service, and can be downloaded from the traineeship resources page:

  • Description of Life Coaching Service    

  • Summary of Life Coaching Service

  • Life Coach job description

  • Agreement between trainee and Life Coach

  • Life Coaching session notes form

  • Life Coach training

Lessons learnt

At times a few of our trainees’ lives have become complicated during placement, bringing much emotional, psychological and practical strain. Life coaches were not always certain of the limits of their role and wondered if they should be providing counselling or therapy – how best to support trainees.

Thames Reach found the life coaching service worked best when we ensured life coaches:

  • Felt well prepared for their roles, including training on which issues may arise for trainees and how to provide effective support

  • Were able to discuss their role, concerns and the trainee’s issues in confidence with other life coaches and with the GROW Project Manager when required. We offered quarterly review meetings for Life Coaches

  • Understood the limits of their role and how to ensure trainees get enough support when in crisis, for instance, by implementing their Stress Management Plan, as agreed during the induction