“Meeting in a stuffy office to talk about how crap my life is just isn’t engaging. Fancy grabbing a coffee and talking about last night’s game like everyone else?”
Some people were initially positive about ‘key working’ sessions and many valued the relationship with their key-worker including the practical help and advice they received on issues such as welfare benefits.
However, a significant number of people said they only attended weekly sessions to comply with their plan so they would be nominated for accommodation. Many people expressed unhappiness at turning up every week in small institutional offices just to talk about their ‘issues’. They disliked being constantly reminded about their situation and having to talk about their problems at a time and place that was often dictated to them. It was draining and it didn’t inspire them to want to turn up. Many sessions left them feeling worse about themselves rather than engaged and motivated.
We took action
We stopped making our service mandatory and introduced voluntary engagement. We want people to feel in control. To balance the power dynamic, we considered our service to be a ‘product’; something that we had to market and to sell. If people chose not to buy our product or engage with us, we needed to go back to the drawing board and improve. Like many products, we offer a four week trial, so people can test us out and change their mind before they commit to working with a coach. This allows people to build a relationship before deciding on the changes they want to make in their lives.
The PTS gives people the choice to choose to work with us and puts the hard work in the hands of our coaches to make sure that what they are offering is what people want.