It’s as Simple as a Conversation

Asset Coach, Mecha Akande, looks at the key areas where the PTS differs from the traditional approach. From the conversations a coach has, to the importance of a meeting place and what that all means for the people Mayday works with.

The Personal Transitions Service (PTS) is entirely person led, this means the basis of most of the conversations you have as a coach are about giving back the power of choice to the person you’re working with. It’s vital that you start to build a relationship of trust by having real and challenging conversations, listening to the persons interests and finding their spark.

The first conversation you have with someone can be as simple as discussing a person’s likes and interests, and what they want to build on to reach their goal, whether that’s exploring a passion for sport or researching local art classes.

No pathways or tick boxes here!

Conversations are purposely unstructured and where possible led by the person you’re working with. This aims to encourage a person to speak freely about what they want to talk about, reaching goals naturally, without force or pretence. This strength based approach often comes as a surprise to people, but from the feedback we’ve had it’s a positive one.

No one has offered me support in this way before.

It seems too good to be true.

Moving forward

Following these conversations I find people are keen to move forward, and tend to initiate organising the next meeting – of course this is always at a time and place of their choosing. But experiencing that enthusiasm as a coach is incredibly rewarding and only benefits the relationship going forward.

It’s all in a meeting place

As well as the strength based and personalised tone of the conversation, it’s important that the meeting with the person you’re working with is arranged in a place of purpose to them. This might be a location that is familiar, a place where they feel confident and comfortable to express their best self.

So if someone wants to meet in a coffee shop at 11am or in the local park at 5pm, that’s absolutely fine. At times it can be hard to get someone to choose something as simple as a place to meet, but this is all part of the process of that person taking back the control over their lives – it’s an invaluable step.

The PTS in the real world

Someone I have been working with recently has a great interest in Pokemon, Marvel and animated movies. He has an incredibly small select group of friends and tends to only build relationships with those who reside in the same block of flats and have an invested interest in his interests.

A simple starting point can lead you anywhere

Eight months ago he would request to meet at the block of flats where he lived, he ‘engaged’ regularly and spoke little about anything other than his interests. Over time we progressively moved on to meeting in book shops and libraries. Through months of confidence building and self-belief he was able to extend his circle beyond that of his residential block and found himself going to a local book shop. Here he could talk about his interests with like minded people and began to extend his network, his confidence grew and he began to listen to others and even positively challenge their ideas.

Taking an interest, rather than ticking a box

Last month he brought an animated DVD to me, MIYAZAKI’S Spirited Away, a studio Ghibli Collection, which he insisted I should watch. This invitation to take part in his hobby was great, it meant I was able to get an insight into some of his favourite characters and the genre of music he relates to. It’s a privilege for a coach to be part of another person’s passion, it’s an example of trust and something not to be taken lightly.

The proof is in the meeting place!

Next month he will be attending Comic Con in Birmingham with some friends, which is an amazing achievement and a far cry from the person who struggled to socialise beyond his flat just eight months ago. Another example of the positive relationship we now have and how far he has come, is that his latest ‘Place of Purpose’ was to go to the cinema to watch the newest Marvel movie ‘Infinity Warfare’, a busy environment full of people he didn’t know.

He really enjoyed this experience and after the film he explained that he prefers this way of meeting, as he finds it more purposeful. Whereas with traditional services he sat across a table, with paperwork to complete and a magnitude of tick boxes.

Changing conversations and meeting places may seem like a small thing, but it makes a huge difference to the people we work with. Without the strength based and personalised approach of the PTS I doubt we would have ever built such a positive relationship and he would not have made so much progress in such a short time.

For me as an Asset Coach, this is what the PTS is all about. Making tough times a temporary transition, rather than a reoccurring theme in a person’s life.

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