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Facilitate Coaching and Mentoring: Sample Essay

Coaching & Mentoring: Proposal & Case Study

By Daniel Dutton (22 March 2020)

Introduction

This document aims to make a case for the introduction of a formal program of coaching and mentoring within my organisation.

We presently have no formal policies or practices relating to workplace coaching and mentoring, although it does have an informal presence. Many managers provide coaching and mentoring support to their own supervisees and others. When I reflect upon my own career journey in health and social care, I can identify several individuals that have helped me enormously with development in my role.

I will begin by making the distinction between coaching and mentoring before exploring how they can be used to support existing learning and other benefits of their implementation.

I have included a case study of how I have used coaching and mentoring within my own team to fulfil the learning objectives of one of my colleagues.

To conclude, I have evaluated the impact of coaching and mentoring on workplace practice and made some practical recommendations of how we may want to look at implementation in the wider context going forward.

An Overview of Coaching and Mentoring

Coaching and mentoring are both methods of supporting an individual with their personal development, however it is important to distinguish the differences between them.

Mentoring is usually a long-term relationship between the mentee and a more senior person in their chosen career path, who can offer experiential knowledge, expertise and advice related to their job role and industry.

A coaching relationship is usually more formal and goal-oriented, concluding after the initial goals have been achieved. A coach does not need to have first-hand experience of their coachee’s job role or even knowledge of their industry because they will use questioning to support the coachee to identify and prioritise goals and find the solutions for themselves. In contrast, a mentee will tend to ask more questions to tap into their mentor’s expertise and experience and the mentor may be more directive in their responses.

To help clarify, the International Mentoring Group (IMG) defines mentoring as “…a process of direct transfer of experience and knowledge from one person to another” and defines coaching as “…a method of achieving set goals…the coach does not say how to achieve success but asks questions through which the client himself finds the solution…

Therefore, coaching would be an appropriate method of supporting learning at work if an individual required guidance for achieving a specific goal, such as becoming more confident at giving presentations or becoming more consistent in the quality of their work. Mentoring would be a more appropriate method if the individual’s goals are initially unclear and could be manifold, such as when joining a new organisation or being promoted to a new role.

Although coaching and mentoring have their own distinct characteristics, Foster-Turner explains in her publication ‘Coaching and Mentoring in Health and Social Care’ (2006) that whilst coaching relates to short-term goals and mentoring relates to long-term goals, the objectives of both are interconnected and uses the single term ‘coach-mentoring’ interchangeably. She argues: “I would suggest that just as when we are working with clients or patients in the health and social care sector we support working with the whole person, that in coaching and mentoring, we keep both the longer-term and shorter-term perspective in view.” 

I have taken this same view in my own practice – and also in this coaching and mentoring case study – dynamically switching between the two roles as the situation required. For example, if a situation requires an individual to do something that they have no experience or training in then I would instruct them on how to do it (mentoring) whereas if a situation required an individual to make a decision based on their own judgement, I would use a questioning approach (coaching).

As previously stated, coaching and mentoring can both support individuals with their continuing professional development but there are also several other benefits to a workplace coaching and mentoring program.

A survey by the Work Foundation (1999) of leading organisations that use coach-mentoring identified several perceived benefits to these organisations. The top benefit was that it made fuller use of an individual’s talents (79%) as well as demonstrating commitment to the individual from senior management (69%). Other benefits included higher organisational performance and productivity (69%), an increase in creativity, knowledge and learning management (63%) and increased employee motivation (57%). Individuals surveyed reported that coach-mentoring helped them to improve their performance (84%), increased openness and transparency (60%) and helped them to identify solutions to specific work-related issues (58%).

Coach-mentoring can also be used as a tool to promote business objectives. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has several Key Lines of Enquiry (KLOE’s) relating to learning and development including ‘W4.1 Are resources and support available to develop staff and teams, and drive improvement?’ and ‘W4.3 How is success and innovation recognised, encouraged and implemented?’ A coaching-mentoring program can help to demonstrate some of these criteria during a CQC inspection. It should also be noted that having well-trained, competent staff leads to positive outcomes for the individuals receiving care, which is one of the primary objectives of care organisations.

Coach-mentoring creates a happier workforce that feels valued and is more positive to change – this can reduce staff turnover, which is an issue that currently affects the whole sector. It also opens up upward-communication and gives senior management a more informed view of the talent within the organisation, which can be useful in succession planning.

Coach-mentoring can contribute to a learning culture within an organisation because employees are encouraged to develop their knowledge, competence and performance and they have the support to overcome difficulties and challenges.

Coach-mentoring can also complement other learning, such as supervision, reflection, formal training, induction, shadowing and our induction program, which includes the Care Certificate. A wide-ranging study commissioned by the Department of Health (2018), which evaluated the Care Certificate identified that one of the key features of organisations that effectively implemented the Care Certificate was “peer support and mentoring”. Conversely, a feature of organisations that were less effective was that they had a lack of mentoring support. This is because employees that have the support of a coach-mentor have someone that they can go to when they need guidance or are unsure of something related to their work as well as having someone that will challenge them and help them to overcome difficulties. Based on this evidence, I have recently taken on the role as a group coach-mentor for four of my staff who are working on their Care Certificate. By helping them to set goals and being approachable and available to answer any questions they have, they have the support they need to complete their qualification. This is in addition to the case study below.

Case Study

In January 2020, a senior member of our team (X) expressed an interest in advancing to a Team Manager position during their supervision. They were relatively new to our team and had displayed good potential, however they expressed that they had not had the opportunity to learn many senior or management tasks in their previous placement.

I explained that I was happy to work with X to increase their senior and management capabilities and confidence with a view to them succeeding to a managerial role at a new service that we had recently taken responsibility for. This appeared to be a great opportunity as X had done some outstanding work with the client at this service during the transition and settling-in period and had a good relationship with them.

I discussed this with my area manager to ensure that I had the authority to do this and suggested piloting a coach-mentoring plan to support X to develop the skills and knowledge they would need to successfully transition to a management role. My manager agreed with the idea and suggested that she and I shared the coach-mentoring role. We felt that we were best suited to carry out the coach-mentoring because between us we have a lot of experience of health and social care management, we worked closely with X and had a good relationship with them and having two points of contact would provide a level of redundancy if either of us were unavailable.

I also informed our learning and development lead of my plan and told them that I would share the results with them for their consideration of rolling out a coach-mentoring program within the wider context of our organisation.

During initial discussions between X, myself and my area manager, we established that the things that were important to X were having the necessary skills to manage a service independently as well as gaining experience in the role and increasing their confidence. We agreed that a dual coach-mentoring approach would be appropriate. Coaching to help set long-term goals and support X to find their own solutions to the problems they encountered and mentoring to teach X how to perform the practical aspects of management, whilst also being able to tap into the experience of myself and my manager.

To support X to gain the competencies required to be a manager, I developed a checklist of practical tasks that all managers in our organisation are expected to perform as well as some ‘fuzzy’ skills such as innovating new ideas to improve the service and making a decision that directly affects the service (Appendix A). We agreed with X that they would work to achieve all these criteria over a period of three months, whilst being given responsibility to run the service under supervision. Myself and my area manager would oversee the work X was doing, help them to set goals and be available for support as and when required. At the end of this period, we would review X’s progress and explore options for promotion or extension.

We primarily utilised a solution-focused approach to coach-mentoring, supporting X to make decisions by thinking about their ideal outcomes rather than the problem itself. This does not mean that a problem-focused approach is ineffective – there are times when discussing problems can help an individual to analyse an issue in depth and provides the opportunity to ‘offload’. However, there is a lot of empirical evidence to suggest that a solution-focused approach can be more effective including Grant’s study (2012) and Corcoran and Pillai’s literature review (2009). 

Whenever X approached us with a work-related issue, we used the solution-focused approach to ask them if they could imagine what their ideal solution would look like and then prompted them to look at how they could make this solution a reality. For example, when X approached us to ask how they should conduct their first supervision, we used questioning to ask them what they wanted to achieve from it and what they identified as the strengths and weaknesses of their supervisee and where they could improve. They also had concerns that their supervisee may ask questions that they did not know the answer to. We reassured X that this is very common and they were not expected to know everything and that they should simply say that they do not know but would find out. Although we primarily encouraged X to identify solutions for themselves using coaching, there were times when it was necessary to utilise mentoring to provide them with our own experiential guidance and advice.

A significant part of X’s management training was to ensure that they regularly reviewed and updated the client’s care plan in collaboration with the client themselves and other stakeholders.

Thorough and up-to-date care plans are essential for the provision of high quality and consistent care because they are referred to by all support staff and form the basis of the way care is delivered to an individual. Not only should they detail the practical tasks required as part of an individual’s support but also include their unique wishes and preferences so that care provision is person-centred. In addition, they should be reviewed and updated regularly to remain current with the client’s changing needs.

I have provided two examples of situations where coaching and mentoring supported X to enhance the wellbeing of their client. Although personal information has been omitted from these accounts, consent from the client and staff member were obtained to use their stories in this account.

Example 1: Money Management

X identified that one of the primary causes of anxiety in his client was the irregularity of his income. The client did not have capacity to manage their own finances so their mother acted as their appointee. Unfortunately, their mother would not commit to transferring him a regular amount of his money, which made budgeting very difficult as well as it being hard to establish a routine because, for example, he could not have a specific day for food shopping due to income sporadicity. This situation was also the cause of many arguments between mother and son.

X approached myself and my manager for support about how to manage this situation. We used a solution-focused approach to coach X into identifying what an ideal outcome would be. After some thought, X explained that he thought it would be best for all parties if management of the client’s money was handled by someone else. This would reduce the anxiety of the client as well as the arguments between them and their mother. Also, support staff would be able to help the client budget more effectively. We asked who would be an ideal appointee and X suggested that an independent appointee would be the ideal scenario and asked how he could try to arrange this. It was then that we moved to a mentoring approach because this was something that X had no previous experience in and could not be expected to deduce the answer himself, except perhaps through their own research. We suggested talking to the client first to ensure that it was something that they wanted to investigate before liaising with a member of our in-house clinical team and the client’s social worker to move this forward.

X spoke to the client about looking into getting an independent appointee and highlighted the benefits of having a third party manage his money including regular income, ability to budget, opportunity to save money and hopefully (in the long term) a better relationship with his mother because they would not be arguing about money. X did, however, also explain that a possible downside would be that the client’s mother may (in the short term) become upset or angry that they would be losing their role as appointee. The client expressed an interest in pursuing this idea and X worked in partnership with the client’s social worker and our in-house clinical team to put an independent appointee in place. Although this was a lengthy process (about 3 months), the outcomes were predominantly positive.

It resulted in an improvement in the quality of life of the individual as they were able to budget effectively and get into a routine with planned activities without finances being a barrier. There was also increased surety in the individual’s care plan due to money being managed better. Their relationship with their family also improved because there was no longer any reason to argue about money.

Example 2: Cleaning Rota

X explained to us that his service was often untidy and sometimes unhygienic because the client was not motivated to keep their home clean and tidy. Again, we used a solution-focused approach to help X define their ideal solution, which was to work in a clean and tidy environment. We asked how this could be achieved and X stated that staff could do the housework but they felt this could also de-skill the client from the household chores and make the client dependent on their support staff.

We asked X about the organisation of cleaning tasks within the service and he said that staff prompted and supported the client on an ad-hoc basis, as and when jobs needed to be done. X went on to formulate and develop the idea that putting a cleaning rota in place would be useful for the service as it would add organisation and routine to this process. They also said that they would speak to the client about the importance of cleanliness to encourage them to take more pride in the appearance of their home. However, X did reiterate their fears that staff could end up performing all the cleaning tasks. We offered guidance from our own experience around this matter by explaining that although independence and the development of living skills were important for the client’s wellbeing, it was also important that the work and home environment were kept to a good standard of cleanliness to ensure the health and safety of both staff and clients. We explained that in this case, we would advise that support staff do their best to encourage the client to keep their home clean but if cooperation was not forthcoming, then it was the duty of the staff to perform the cleaning tasks themselves. This is underpinned by the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), which makes it a legal requirement for employees to take care of the safety of themselves and others. We also suggested that if the client was to see their support staff actively performing cleaning tasks, it may encourage them to participate.

Again, we used a solution-focused coaching approach to support X to formulate their own solutions, whilst also taking a mentoring role to offer experiential advice when necessary.

The introduction of the cleaning rota resulted in the client’s home becoming a more pleasant environment to live and work. Although the client was initially reluctant to be involved with the day-to-day cleaning tasks, they gradually began to take more pride in the appearance of their home by washing crockery up after they had used it and putting things away in their correct places. Over time, they also began to help staff with the tasks on the cleaning rota. This helped to increase the client’s self-esteem and self-worth because they felt that they were doing something worthwhile and of value as well as increasing their competence and confidence in performing these tasks.

Conclusions

This coach-mentoring pilot has been successful in developing the potential of a senior support worker into a competent and confident manager. They have obtained hands-on experience of running a service whilst also having the ‘safety net’ of experienced staff to support them when necessary. This has been achieved through a combination of coaching (questioning) and mentoring (instructing/teaching). Although X hasn’t yet been officially promoted, this is likely to happen in the very near future.

This has impacted positively on practice in the service by ensuring that X is well-trained and works with legislation, standards and best practice in mind. In addition, by having role models to learn from, X has become an effective role model themselves for the small team of support workers that they manage. Consequently, this filters down to positive outcomes for the client that they work with, as has been evidenced above.

The coach-mentoring pilot has also supported business objectives by evidencing the organisation’s commitment to employee development and meeting several CQC KLOEs. 

Although this coach-mentoring pilot has been successful in helping to develop a competent and confident manager, it has required a significant time commitment from both myself and my area manager – however the amount of time required has decreased as X became more experienced.

One aspect of coach-mentoring that I initially found difficult was knowing when to coach and when to mentor. Therefore I believe that if we were to introduce a formal coach-mentoring program within our organisation, then our coach-mentors should undergo training to understand their role with clarity and develop the skills they need to be effective. In addition, they should be supported in their roles by their managers through supervision – this is especially important for employees that are working as coach-mentors with their peers.

Going forward, there are three areas where I feel coach-mentoring would benefit our organisation:

  1. The development of new or upcoming managers by experienced managers (as in this case study).
  2. Supporting new starters to complete their induction and Care Certificate training by experienced support staff. This does not have to be a manager or senior – peer coach-mentoring could be provided by co-workers.
  3. Clinical coach-mentoring provided by clinical staff to managers and seniors – not only would this widen the skill-base of managers and seniors but would also give them a more thorough understanding of the roles that the clinical team play in referrals, transitions, mental capacity assessments and other clinical tasks.

The ideal employees that should be selected for a coach-mentoring role should have demonstrated strong communication skills (especially listening and questioning), an altruistic nature and an ability to empathise with others. They should also have shown that they are committed to their own personal development. It should be made clear from the outset that a coach-mentoring role is entirely voluntary because it requires both time and effort on the part of the employee. However, this should be balanced with the benefits of taking on the role, which include their own personal development and doing something which is very important for the development of others. Similarly coachees and mentees should only be put on the program if they agree to it. This ensures the commitment required to make the coach-mentoring be successful and will also identify employees that put a high priority on their personal development and potentially earmark them for future advancement.

As this is only a single case study, the scope is limited, so I would suggest a further, more wide-ranging pilot to measure the efficacy of a coach mentoring program – perhaps one pilot for each of the three areas listed above. And, if they are successful, consider rolling out a coach-mentoring program across the whole organisation.

References

  • Care Quality Commission. (2020). ‘Learning, improvement and innovation | Care Quality Commission.’ [online] Available at: https://www.cqc.org.uk/guidance-providers/adult-social-care/learning-improvement-innovation [Accessed 14 May 2020].
  • Corcoran, J., & Pillai, V. (2009). ‘A review of the research on solution-focused therapy.’ British Journal of Social Work, 39(2), 234–242.
  • Department of Health (2018). ‘Evaluating the Care Certificate (ECCert): a Cross-Sector Solution to Assuring Fundamental Skills in Caring’ [online] Available at: https://www.institutemh.org.uk/images/research/ECCERT_Final_report_June_2018.pdf [Accessed 14 May 2020].
  • Foster-Turner, J. (2006). ‘Coaching and Mentoring in Health and Social Care: The Essentials for Practice for Professionals and Organisations.’ Radcliffe Publishing, Oxford.
  • Grant, A. (2012) Making positive change: a randomized study comparing solution-focused vs. problem-focused coaching questions. Journal of Systemic Therapies, Vol. 31, No. 2, 2012, pp. 21–35.
  • Industrial Society (1999) ‘Managing Best Practice: coaching report No.63.’ Industrial Society (now known as the Work Foundation), London.
  • International Mentoring Group. (2020). ‘What is MENTOR and MENTORING – definition of these terms.’ [online] Available at: https://mentoringgroup.com/what-is-mentoring.html [Accessed 30 March 2020].
  • International Mentoring Group. (2020). ‘What is a Coaching? Meaning and definition – Full guide 2018’. [online] Available at: https://mentoringgroup.com/what-is-coaching.html [Accessed 30 March 2020].

APPENDIX A

Senior/Manager Mentoring Plan By Daniel Dutton(2/2/2020)

This plan is designed to ensure that recently appointed seniors and managers have the skills, knowledge, understanding, support and confidence to excel in their new roles.

The table below shows the knowledge, skills and understanding that is required to fulfill the role of senior (S) and manager (M).

 

CriteriaS/MSigned 1Signed 2
Calculate and sign off monthly financesS/M
Cover shiftsS/M
Write/update support plans in collaboration with service userS/M
Write/update risk assessments in collaboration with service userS/M
Write/update health and safety informationS/M
Add/change shifts in People PlannerS/M
Develop/change a rolling rotaM
Timesheets and client hours/variance sheetsM
Chair a team meetingM
Chair a client meetingM
Conduct a supervisionS/M
Conduct an appraisalM
Conduct an observationS/M
Conduct and professional discussion/performance issueS/M
Attend Managers MeetingM
Be ‘on call’S/M
Prioritise own workloadS/M
Sign off annual leaveM
Reflect on practice to improve serviceS/M
Make decisions that directly affect serviceS/M
Write/update client budget plansS/M
Innovate new ways to improve the serviceS/M

Each of these criteria should be signed off at least once by the individual’s mentor before the senior/manager has the required competence to perform their role. Some criteria will need to be signed twice at the discretion of the mentor/mentee.

Support

In addition to the knowledge, skills and understanding required for the role, mentees will also be able to use their mentors for general support and guidance. This can either be in scheduled meetings or ad hoc and should be agreed between mentor and mentee beforehand.

Skills Guide

Calculate and sign off monthly finances

At the end of the month, the following in-service documents should be collated and checked:

  • Personal Monies Sheets
  • Balance Check Sheets
  • Bank Card Transaction Sheets
  • Bank Card Check Sheets

They should be replaced with blank sheets for the following month. 

The manager/senior should check each of the transactions on the personal monies sheet and the associated folios to ensure they are accurate and there are no discrepancies. All folios should have an associated receipt. Any discrepancies should be flagged and investigated to find out the reason. This may mean contacting the member of staff that made the record for further information. Suspicions of any financial abuse should be reported to the safeguarding lead immediately. 

The manager/senior should ensure that balance checks and bank card checks have been performed every day. If they haven’t then they will need to speak to the individual members of staff or the team as a whole to ensure that it doesn’t happen in future.

The manager/ senior should check all bank card transactions and, if possible, reconcile them against the client’s bank statement.

Cover shifts

Managers/seniors should be able to get shifts covered if staff are absent. This can be performed by first asking the other members of the team if they can cover the shift or covering it themselves. In exceptional circumstances, managers/seniors can contact employees from other teams via the team member’s manager/senior or contact the manager or members of the relief team.

Write/update support plans in collaboration with service user

All services must be person-centred and so support plans must be written in collaboration with the client, wherever possible. Clients will have different levels of capacity and interest in developing their support but every effort must be made to encourage them to participate as much as they are able to. Where relevant, the client’s family and/or advocate should also be involved in the process and input from other health and social care professionals may also be used. Evidence of a person-centred approach should be documented on the Support Planning Review Form after the support plans have been updated.

Support plans can be updated by using the digital recording system. Each of the pre-configured support plans should be filled in, even if they do not directly apply to the client. When updating support plans do not edit the form. Instead duplicate it, change to the new review date (usually 3 months from the current date) and make any required changes before submitting. This will ensure that the previous support plan stays intact to maintain the audit trail. The Positive Behaviour Management Plan will usually be created and reviewed by a member of the clinical team.

Support plans should be as detailed as possible to provide a comprehensive plan of how we support the client.

Write/update risk assessments in collaboration with service user

Risk assessments should be used to mitigate any risk that could result in harm or injury to employees, clients and others. It is the manager’s responsibility to ensure that all reasonably foreseeable risks are assessed and actions are put in place to reduce or minimise their impact.

Some risk assessments will be specific to a situation and others will be specific to the client. For client-specific risk assessments, as with support plans, the client must be involved in the process as much as possible. As well as demonstrating a person-centred approach, this process will also give the client an opportunity to think about and understand the potential repercussions of an action for themselves.

There should always be a rationale behind risk assessments. This means that the manager/senior has a good reason to think that there is genuine risk – this may be because the client has taken similar risks before or there has been an historical near-miss. 

It is important to balance risk with the client’s rights. Managers should understand that each individual’s risk tolerance is different and must respect the client’s right to take risks if they so wish (even if they are unwise). Where a manager suspects that a client may not have the capacity to understand the risks, they should perform or make a referral for a mental capacity assessment. The clinical team can do this.

Write/update health and safety information

There are several health and safety forms on our digital recording system that must all be completed by a manager/senior. At the time of writing, these are:

  • Emergency lighting check form
  • Environmental risk/hazard assessment
  • Fire evacuation/drill record
  • Fire risk assessment (person centred)
  • Fire door/final exit check
  • Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP)
  • Property Need to Know
  • Service Continuity Plan

Other forms such as smoke alarm and electrical checks can be delegated to team members.

Add/change shifts in Shift-Planning Software

Managers must be able to add and adjust shifts in our shift planning software. Although the rolling rota template in our shift-planning software will automatically set the basic shifts for the months, there will be occasions when these shifts need to be adjusted or new shifts created.

Develop/change a rolling rota

Shifts should be equitable across the team and take into account team member preferences, although the manager will have the final say on who is allocated to each shift.

Timesheets and client hours/variance sheets

Managers will be responsible for confirming all shifts at the end of each of each month via our shift planning software and updating and checking other work activities through the system including annual leave, sickness, training and flexi.

Chair a team meeting

Managers are expected to arrange and chair regular meetings with their teams. They should produce an agenda, which will include any service-specific updates as well as information about the organisation as a whole. In addition, managers will want to ask team members if there is anything they would like to discuss. Team meetings can also be used for continuing personal development, such as group discussion and reflection on recent situations within the service or training sessions.

Chair a client meeting

Client meetings should be between the client, the manager/senior and anyone else that the client wishes to attend, such as their family members or other professionals. The purpose is to discuss if they are happy with the service they are receiving or if they would like changes to be made. They also give the client dedicated time to discuss their service provision. They can be a useful precursor to updating an individual’s support plans.

Conduct a supervision

Supervisions should be arranged with each team member every 2-3 months or more frequently if necessary.

This is an opportunity to discuss any issues at work and ideas that staff may wish to bring forward to improve the service. It can also be used to discuss things that may not be going so well. By having regular, scheduled contact with their team, managers can build strong trust and relationships and support their team members to achieve their potential.

Conduct an Appraisal

Although similar to supervision, appraisals are conducted annually, are more formal and focus on long-term goals for the team member.

Conduct an observation

Managers and seniors should conduct an observation on each of their team members around once per month to highlight good practice or practice that requires improvement. They are used for the continuing professional development (CPD) of the team members so that they can understand areas that they need to improve in as well as ensuring that good practice is recognised and valued.

Conduct and professional discussion/performance issue

Similar to observations, professional discussions and performance issues are used to record professional conversations relating to good practice and practice that requires improvement. They should be conducted around once per month.

Observations and professional discussions/performance issues do not need to be scheduled. Often it is useful for the manager to recall a recent situation where the team member had a conversation with them or demonstrated their practice as part of their day-to-day role and then write it up, followed by a discussion with the team member and asking them to sign it.

Attend Managers Meeting

Manager’s meetings are the second Tuesday of every month and provide an opportunity for senior management to pass down information to the team managers and discuss practice and organisational issues.

Be ‘on call’

Being ‘on-call’ requires managers/seniors to be available to deal with situations outside of working hours. This may be to answer queries from support staff or to arrange for emergency cover if staff are unable to attend their shifts. Sometimes clients may need to contact the manager/senior outside of hours. If so, a company mobile phone will be used.

Prioritise own workload

The manager/senior role often involves juggling several tasks and activities and prioritising them so that the most important/urgent are dealt with first. Manager/seniors must also be able to recognise if their own workload is too much and to discuss this with their own manager as soon as possible. Delegating some tasks to the team can also help with workload management, so an understanding of what support staff can and cannot do is also required.

Sign off annual leave

When team members request annual leave, the manager should ensure that it will not result in staff shortages (e.g. if two team members are on annual leave at the same time). Forward planning must be used to ensure that the team member’s shifts are covered whilst they are on annual leave.

Reflect on practice to improve service

It is recommended that all staff reflect on situations they have encountered at work to develop insights about how they may perform better in future and continuously improve the service and the team. The manager and seniors should demonstrate this to be a role model for their team members.

Make decisions that directly affect service

Decision-making is a very important part of management. Sometimes, managers may make a decision that is not popular and they will need to be able to justify to others why they have made that choice. Similarly, managers may have to make decisions where there does not appear to be a correct answer. Managers must exercise their own judgement in these situations and be able to explain the reasoning behind their thought process.

Write/update client budget plans

Client budget plans are used to ensure that clients do not overspend and experience financial issues. They also ensure that the client has enough money to do the activities and make the purchases that they desire.

Budget plans will take into account the amount of income a client receives each month and expenditures including their rent, council tax, food shop and utility bills. After all essential expenditures are made, the remaining balance can be used for personal spending. The client may wish to divide this up further into individual activities or ‘pots’ (such as for clothes, days out and pub meals).

As with support plans, budget plans should be developed with the participation of the client to demonstrate a person-centred approach.

Innovate new ways to improve the service

It is the manager/senior’s responsibility to set the direction of their service and aim for it to develop positively over time. This means managers/seniors must be forward-thinking and innovative in finding new ways to improve the quality of life of the clients that they support. If there is no forward movement, things can often stagnate and deteriorate.