There’s an interesting slot on Saturday evenings on Radio 4 at the moment called Four Thought. It’s a sort of radio version of a TED talk. They’re broadcast live but you can download them all as podcasts from here too.
In one, Charlie Howard, the founder of the charity MAC-UK, talked enthusiastically about a growing realisation that many of the people who needed mental health services the most were not being reached. She tells a lovely story about the day she and her partner went to a large hospital for an appointment but couldn’t find the department they needed, gave up and went home. How many of those who want to use our services go through something similar when trying to navigate our websites, offices or customer service centres (“Press 4 for non-planned reactive repair call backs”)?
Charlie discusses a number of strategies for getting in amongst the people she aims to serve. There’s a lot of ‘hanging around’ in what Cormac Russell calls bumping spaces – spaces where people meet up, get together, feel connected and share ideas.
It’s an idea that we’re keen to practice more at Bromford as we develop our approach to coaching. We’ve been going out to meet our customers ‘on the sofa’ for years. But now we are moving away from lots of narrow, task focused appointments with customers to a more organic relational approach. The role of a Coach is less about delivering a specific service and more about helping customers connect – with each other and with the assets around them in their communities. We are increasingly seeing success not in terms of how effectively we get our service out to end users but in removing the need for our service altogether as communities of neighbours, friends and associations support each other to solve their problems and build on their strengths.
Still, Charlie is a great story teller and her talk – Reaching Out – is well worth a listen.
You can find her talk here.