Free mental health coaching is now available for all small businesses in NSW

Transitioning Well Dr Sarah Cotton Justine Alter mental health small business

Transitioning Well founders Dr Sarah Cotton and Justine Alter. Source: supplied.

Small business owners in New South Wales can now access free mental health coaching to help them navigate the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Direct Practical Coaching program is part of a commitment from the state government to support small businesses and not-for-profits to create mentally healthy workplaces.

So who is eligible for the coaching and what does it involve?

Who is eligible for the Direct Practical Coaching?

The Direct Practical Coaching support program is available to any business in NSW with up to 200 employees, from now until June 2022. 

Not-for-profits of any size are also eligible for coaching sessions. 

What does the program entail?

As part of the program, business owners and leaders can access up to four hours of free one-on-one coaching appointments, which are designed to provide tailored and practical solutions for their business. 

These sessions can be done online or over the phone, with business owners able to choose a time and day that suits them. 

The coaching sessions will be available to business owners, as well as managers and leaders within the business. The sessions can cover any topic related to promoting, managing and supporting mental health in the workplace, including:

  • Strategies to manage work-related issues including bullying, stress or change;
  • How to act early, communicate effectively and reduce mental health stigma;
  • Flexibility, role clarity and setting expectations that can improve workplace culture;
  • How to lead change and involve others; and
  • How to implement flexible work and mental health policies. 

Does it cost anything for small business owners?

No, the Direct Practical Coaching sessions are free for all eligible businesses. 

More than 900 businesses have already benefited from a successful pilot phase of the program. 

Who are the coaches?

The coaching sessions will be provided by coaching and consulting business Transitioning Well, which has been selected by the NSW government as the program provider. 

Dr Sarah Cotton, co-founder of Transitioning Well and a registered organisational psychologist, tells SmartCompany there’s never been a time where businesses need more help managing mental health at work. 

When juggling so much as business owners, we can often find ourselves stuck in auto pilot (AKA Bill Murray in Groundhog Day), focusing on the next priority and trying not to drop any glass balls,” says Cotton. 

As a result, working on mental health can often fall to the bottom of the to-do list, says Cotton. This is not because business owners don’t care, but because they don’t have the time to know where to start. 

Cotton says the Direct Practical Coaching program has been designed so it “meets business owners where they are at and helps them build a plan together for where they would like to be”. 

“While finding that five minutes to reach out can often be the biggest barrier, we know that building a mentally healthy workplace starts with one small step,” she says. 

How do small business owners apply?

Small businesses in NSW can register for their first coaching session here

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