Fulfilment at work encompasses not only the work we do on a day-to-day basis but a range of themes and activities that together form a critical component of an individual’s health and wellbeing.

Coaching and mentoring programmes are development approaches which typically involve one-to-one conversations to help enhance employees’ skills, knowledge and career progression. The terms ‘coaching’ and ‘mentoring’ are often used interchangeably, however there are some differences:

  • A thinking partnership and someone to share ideas with in a structured setting

  • Usually short-term  

  • Usually more structured towards certain goals or areas of development 

  • Helps staff member to identify their own solutions 

  • Coaching is not determined by the experience level of the coach, it can also be delivered by a peer  

  • On-going relationship, often more long-term and takes a broader view of the person 

  • Can be formal or informal 

  • The mentor will share their ideas and experience 

  • Mentor is usually more experienced and qualified than the client 

There are many benefits of coaching and mentoring programmes within health and social care settings. 

Research conducted within the NHS found that these schemes facilitated improvements for both employees and the wider organisation. It offers employees an opportunity to enhance work performance and feel valued within their role, which in turn has a positive effect on patient care. The bi-directional benefits of these programmes are increasingly recognised, with positives experiences reported by both mentors and mentees. These schemes can also enable wider cultural change, which can further promote staff wellbeing.  

Some mentoring/coaching schemes are focussed on speciality areas, for example they may focus on different professions (e.g. nursing) or for under-represented groups (e.g. BAME, LGBTQ+, disability). Some mentoring schemes also aim to promote inclusion and equality within leadership roles in the NHS.

Type of scheme where someone in a more senior position is mentored by someone more junior than themselves. The aim is to promote leaders’ understanding of the challenges faced by those in more junior roles while also developing the leadership skills of employees in more junior position. These schemes usually link senior mentees with junior mentors from minority groups. 

Best practice guidelines

The NHS London Leadership has produced a guide outlining tips and best practice for those aiming to get involved in the delivery of coaching or mentoring.

A wellbeing champion is any member of staff who actively promotes positive mental health and wellbeing within their team by:  

  • Organising informal catch ups within the team 
  • Encouraging participation in current wellbeing activities within the team  
  • Encouraging the team to input their ideas for promoting wellbeing 
  • Raising issues with senior staff on behalf of the wider team 
  • Liaising with senior staff to introduce training for teams that require additional support 
  • Creating a team display board to celebrate successes and to share ideas 
  • Communicating with colleagues within team to find out their different interests and pastimes  
  • Organising social activities outside of work, i.e. team away days 
  • Encouraging a culture of kindness, appreciation and compassion 

Wellbeing Champion training courses provide:  

  • An understanding of common mental health issues 
  • Knowledge and confidence to advocate for mental health awareness 
  • Ability to spot signs of mental ill health 
  • Skills to support positive wellbeing  

Learn more about other various wellbeing roles for your team.

Psychological First Aid

An initial trauma response intervention with the goal to promote safety, stabilise and connect individuals to help and resources. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines Psychological First Aid as: “A humane, supportive and practical response to people suffering exposure to serious stressors and who may need support”.  

Psychological First Aid involves: 

  • Providing practical care and support where necessary  

  • Helping people address basic needs and concerns  

  • Helping people connect to information, services and social supports  

  • Comforting people and helping them to feel calm  

  • Reducing distress and fostering adaptive coping

  • Protecting people from further harm

Mental Health First Aid

This training teaches people how to identify anyone who is developing a mental health problem, experiencing a worsening of a mental health problem, or in a mental health crisis.  

Mental Health First Aid involves:  

  • An in-depth understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect wellbeing 

  • Practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of a range of mental health issues 

  • Confidence to step in, reassure and support a person in distress using the Mental Health First Aid action plan 

  • Enhanced interpersonal skills such as non-judgemental listening

  • Knowledge to help someone recover their health by guiding them to further support - whether through self-help resources, internal support such as EAP, or external sources such as their GP

  • An understanding of how to keep themselves safe while performing their duties.

  • Frontline staff and volunteers across England can access a psychological first aid training course by Public Health England.
  • Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England are the largest provider of Mental Health First Aid training in the UK and Europe - find out more here.​​​​​​​
  • The Charlie Waller Trust offers training to a range of organisations aiming to help people spot the warning signs for mental health issues and provide them with practical strategies to take care of their own and others’ mental wellbeing - find out more here