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Measuring the Impact of Coaching For Frontline Healthcare Workers and Educators

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By now, we’re all acutely aware of the mental and physical effects the pandemic has had on our wellbeing. But for our nation’s healthcare workers and educators, the impact has been especially profound. The need for resilience and stress management has never been greater for these professions, yet many didn’t know where to turn to develop these skills and mindsets.

Which is why earlier this year we provided free access to the BetterUp platform to hundreds of thousands of healthcare workers and educators. It was a true community effort, and we are incredibly grateful to the more than 800 BetterUp coaches around the world who volunteered their time to support the initiative. 

Since the launch of the program we have heard incredible stories of transformation, showing that even in the midst of a pandemic we all have the capacity to grow.   

Creating space for personal growth amidst a pandemic 

Helen is an internal medicine doctor at a busy hospital in Virginia and a mother of three young children. With daycare closed, a demanding work schedule and anxiety mounting, she was referred to BetterUp by a friend who thought she could benefit from the service. “When the pandemic first hit we were all operating on adrenaline. But about a month in, the burnout took hold. I was getting upset with my spouse, feeling upset personally and felt that I was giving everyone and everything my all while sacrificing my own needs,” she explained.  

It was at that same time that typical social support networks in her workplace also started to deteriorate. “At work I was feeling alone. My colleagues and I were so busy that we really didn’t have enough time or bandwidth to speak about our feelings.”

“My coach provided me the space to validate my emotions and take a step back to figure out my priorities. She helped me to prioritize my own self care and mental wellbeing, in turn improving the lives around me too. She helped me to reframe how I felt, to lose the guilt about enjoying personal time.”

The one-on-one coaching Helen received provided the space and support to prioritize her own wellbeing, improving not only her life, but the lives of those around her. 

What we learned

Helen’s story is similar to those we have heard from educators and healthcare workers all around the country. The pandemic stretched available resources and accelerated the pace of work on top of the additional complications of remote work and changes in home life. Not surprisingly, well-being, communication and career development were among the top three topics during the initiative. In fact, healthcare workers and educators spent more than double the time focusing on stress management and work/life balance compared to other BetterUp members during the same time period. 

Top topics of front line healthcare workers and educators

Coaching can help workers develop their psychological core – including stress management, coping and resilience skills – to preserve and strengthen wellbeing. Overall, members who participated in the program developed the necessary skills and mindsets to build resilience and thrive during these challenging times, including:

  • Stress management: Participants reported better prioritization skills, focusing on what’s in one’s control and improved productivity through strategic planning.
  • Better work/life balance: Members learned to set boundaries, balance personal and work obligations and prioritize wellbeing.
  • Leading through crisis: Members practiced effective communication strategies, how to have difficult conversations and leading others during uncertainty. 

Measuring the impact 

“Taking care of ourselves helps us take better care of our patients,” one member described. In the end, isn’t that what it’s all about? 

Nearly every participant found coaching to be a valuable use of their time, with nine out of 10 saying it made them more effective at work. Overall, 97% of participants said they would like BetterUp to be available to their team or organization and over 4 out of 5 said BetterUp was better than other wellness programs available to them.

We’re incredibly humbled to have positively impacted the lives of so many healthcare workers and educators around the country during this critical time and are looking forward to working with more healthcare organizations to bring one-on-one coaching when and where they need it most.