Read time: 5 mins      Added: 26/02/2024

Read about the outcomes and insights of the therapeutic coaching sessions that small business owners had access to as part of our Stronger Mind, Stronger Business initiative in partnership with Mental Health UK.

In 2023, Bank of Scotland launched the Stronger Mind, Stronger Business initiative in partnership with Mental Health UK to support business owners in building resilience. As part of this, small business owners could access up to three sessions of therapeutic coaching, which is an innovative union between coaching and counselling. The impact of this initiative was measured by Mental Health UK. Paris Dharam-Peat, Workplace Mental Health Manager at Mental Health UK, explores the outcomes and insights.

Mental Health UK’s Workplace Mental Health Team were delighted to have input into an initiative that proactively promotes business owners’ mental health, and we hope that the benefits of therapeutic coaching continue to be evident for business owners. The team also hopes that the content on the Build Mental Resilience Hub reaches business owners who may feel unsure about where to start regarding their mental health, or where to gain support. 

Paris says, “It has been a joy to be a part of the team working on this initiative and analysing the impact. I want to thank the business owners and coaches for providing feedback, which has allowed us to understand the impact and has demonstrated how valuable therapeutic coaching can be.”

What the data tells us about therapeutic coaching

Mental Health UK’s Workplace Mental Health Team’s aims and objectives were: 

  • To improve the wellbeing of those engaging with therapeutic coaching.
  • For therapeutic coaching to have a positive impact on business owners’ mental health.
  • For therapeutic coaching to have a positive impact on businesses.

Wellbeing measure

The wellbeing of business owners was measured using the short version of the Warwick–Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (SWEMWBS). The testing completed on the results indicates that engaging with therapeutic coaching improved the wellbeing of small business owners.

The below graph illustrates the vast improvement in wellbeing rating following engagement with therapeutic coaching.

Proportion of business owners in each group before and after therapeutic coaching

Impact of therapeutic coaching on business owners’ mental health and businesses

The impact of therapeutic coaching was also measured using experience surveys. Of those who completed the experience survey after engaging in the third session of therapeutic coaching: 

  • 94% of business owners reported that therapeutic coaching has had a positive impact on their mental health.
  • 83% of business owners reported that therapeutic coaching has had a positive impact on their business. 

Upon follow-up with business owners, many say that they are still applying the tools discussed in their therapeutic coaching sessions, suggesting that engagement in therapeutic coaching has been meaningful with a lasting impact.

What business owners said about therapeutic coaching

It was great to see that therapeutic coaching was welcomed by so many business owners prioritising their mental health and it has been heartening to hear about business owners’ experiences.

Some themes from the feedback received from the experience survey included that business owners were surprised that Bank of Scotland was providing this initiative free of charge, that time for self-reflection was extremely valuable, and that despite some initial scepticism, therapeutic coaching was more impactful than business owners thought it would be.

Other insights gained

When asked what applied to them following therapeutic coaching, the top responses from business owners were:

  • Becoming more reflective about what impacts their mental health.
  • Understanding more about their mental health.
  • Adopting habits to promote mental health.

Business owners are often extremely busy, but it is vital to take time to reflect and create actions not only around the success of the business, but around mental health too. 

Following therapeutic coaching, many business owners have sought out further support, are having more conversations about their mental health, and have recommended seeking support to others. This has been a positive reflection on the therapeutic coaching sessions and shows that by gaining support and discussing mental health, the stigma around mental health within businesses is reduced, and more people are gaining the support that they need. Making mental health and wellbeing a priority within your business can help to increase opportunities for support by having open conversations around mental health.

Working with business owners has also helped to gain a better understanding of the challenges faced. When asked what was useful to discuss in therapeutic coaching, the four highest-scored topics highlighted were time to think about self, work-life balance, stress, and confidence/self-esteem. As above, scheduling time for self-reflection is key to manage your wellbeing and resilience. Regarding work-life balance, it can be useful to reflect on what boundaries you have in place, if any, around your work life and implementing boundaries that will allow more balance. Information around stress and self-esteem can also be found on the Build Mental Resilience Hub.

Final reflections

The approach of engaging with therapeutic coaching from business owners, and the impact of this has been overwhelmingly positive. This initiative has demonstrated that, despite the common belief that simply working harder is the answer to many business problems, taking a proactive approach to resilience and mental wellbeing can have a positive impact on both mental health and business health. 

If you are a business owner, and you are struggling with your mental health, you are not alone. There is a lot of information available on the Build Mental Resilience Hub. You can also speak to your GP, or a mental health professional should you require further support.  

Paris Dharam-Peat
Workplace Mental Health Manager
Mental Health UK 

Supporting Scottish businesses in partnership with Mental Health UK

Many business owners and leaders feel they need help with their mental health but don’t know where to start.

Developed in partnership with Mental Health UK, the content in this hub is designed to provide tips and guidance for improving mental health and building resilience to help set you and your business up for success. 

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