What we do

We increase the resilience, performance and well-being of individuals and teams in non-profit organisations

Hear how our TeamUp Coaching Program can help your organisation improve productivity, reduce people turnover and increase employee wellbeing.

Coaching tailored for Non-Profit Organisations

Are you an NGO activist or care worker experiencing symptoms of stress or burnout?

Is there a mismatch between the compassion you show to your clients and the empathy you feel in your workplace?

Would you like to learn how to restore balance, enhance well-being and build resilience?

The TeamUp Triad Coaching Program helps organisations increase employee engagement, improve productivity, and enhance an overall sense of trust and well-being. It is based on 35 years of coaching senior executives from around the world.

Work in non-profits is often values-driven. However, tight budgets, dispersed teams and the sheer urgency of the task frequently lead to levels of stress which compromise performance and well-being. Recent research on the effects of stress in NGOs reveals disturbing rates of anxiety, depression, PTSD, overwork and burnout. For example:

  • A survey of humanitarian workers across 19 NGOs revealed that symptoms of anxiety and depression increased significantly following deployment to the field. While anxiety rates dropped slightly over time, depression rates increased.
  • In an online survey of 346 human rights advocates across the world, 19% appeared to have PTSD, 15% seemed to be experiencing depression and 19% reported burnout. The survey noted that this is comparable to rates found among first responders and even combat veterans.

While stress is common to almost all workplaces at various levels, it takes a particular toll in NGOs and the public sector due to the social impact nature of the work and employees’ high level of emotional engagement with their tasks:

  • Public sector staff are more likely to feel anxious at work and take sick days for their mental health than those in the private sector. A recent mental health survey of 12,000 UK employees found that 48% in the public sector took time off for their well-being compared with 32% in the private sector; in addition 15% of public sector workers said their mental health was poor compared with 9% in the private sector.
  • A study by the YMCA in London revealed that voluntary sector workers are more emotionally engaged with their jobs than staff in other sectors, yet receive less support. The study concluded that “the negative impact of high levels of stress and burnout on the health and well-being of individuals, and ultimately on the ability of not-for-profit organisations to fulfil their collective missions, is clear and worrying for third sector leaders.”
  • According to a report published by Civil Society Media, charity and aid workers are expected to “put on a super-hero cape all the time and not show any weakness for fear of being perceived as not up to the job”. An expectation of working extremely hard and a culture of ‘presenteeism’ were significant challenges, and in some organisations ‘the cause’ was used as a way of excusing negative behaviours in the work place, such as bullying.

At TeamUp, our founders and staff have a background and history in non-profit and social work, so we understand the challenges of individuals and teams working in the non-profit sector.

Using mindfulness principles and based on the latest neuroscience, the TeamUp Coaching Program shifts the underlying patterns, beliefs and behaviours that feed stress. It also teaches powerful tools that promote well-being and enhance team collaboration for organisational effectiveness.

We focus on the following three key areas:

  • Building resilience and reducing stress
  • Enhancing communication and interpersonal skills
  • Improving teamwork and cross-team collaboration

Over 3-4 months, professional TeamUp facilitators help participants reflect on their own motivations, strengths and limitations, and communicate this effectively from a place of trust and authenticity. This generates a safe and creative space for peer-to-peer coaching aimed at finding solutions to their day-to-day challenges.

Frequently raised questions about our program

Stress is often unavoidable in a busy working environment and can be exacerbated when working on behalf of others in distress. Mindfulness helps us cope with stressful situations by giving us the tools to maintain healthy boundaries. It also enables us to take the role of ‘the observer’ in stressful situations, helping us make conscious responses rather than reacting from a place of heightened emotion. Our program also helps you uncover some of the underlying causes of stress that relate more to your own habitual reactions to challenging situations than to any external conditions.

With its dual focus on learning and practice, our program enhances clarity and self-awareness about your own patterns of behavior and creates the conditions for you to try out new ways of interacting with others. This builds into a powerful set of tools to help you influence a broad range of different personality types, including your own managers, teams, clients and peers. The program therefore creates the conditions for powerful leadership that enables leaders to act with professionalism and authority from a place of authenticity and empathy. In other words, TeamUp helps to create exceptional leaders that are also comfortable to show up and be themselves in the workplace.

Our program teaches important principles of effective communication that underlie cooperation and collaboration in teams. It also provides a common language and understanding that enables team members to share their own ideas and perspectives without holding back or creating defensiveness in others. Program participants commonly gain significant insights when they share their real challenges with their colleagues. This helps them discover common ground and work together to find solutions.

As TeamUp staff, we work as a virtual team with members spread across the globe, so we know all too well the difficulties of working in split teams and across different time zones. Mindfulness is not a panacea that will miraculously heal the geographical separation, but it does create a high level of awareness that helps us deal with communication difficulties as soon as they arise. Our program also strengthens a positive organisational culture through the value of shared experience, shared language and deeper human connection. When starting a new TeamUp program, we strongly encourage all participants to be as flexible as possible to find viable times for the group calls, while ensuring that any inconvenience in timing is spread equally across the group as the program proceeds. With its powerful blend of Eastern philosophy and Western science, we also find that our program and its principles resonate with a broad range of individuals irrespective of background, culture or religion.

Yes, this is a common fear that participants raise before they start the program. Within a single organisation, the program may be run with members of the same team supporting each other, or members with cross-team relationships who may or may not know each other very well. The format is based on complete confidentiality and our facilitators are trained to create a safe space to encourage as much sharing as possible. In our experience, participants tend to become strongly connected with a common bond and most continue to meet together to support each other after the program has finished.

We often begin our client-relationship by running our program as a pilot project so that leaders can experience the value of the program first-hand before deciding whether to run it for a broader range of staff in their organisations.

We also run the program with leaders working in different organisations – often in the same sector. This is a valuable experience in its own right, and also provides a level of reassurance for those who prefer to follow the program with people they don’t know rather than with their colleagues. In our experience, fears about opening up dissolve quickly as levels of trust and support grow within the group.

We agree that there is often no natural end to the working day for many NGO staff – the genuine desire to work on behalf of others, or for a bigger cause can also create pressure to work longer and longer hours without balancing this with other areas of life. As stress levels become heightened, productivity and effectiveness decline. TeamUp has been specifically designed to suit a busy person’s schedule. Nearly all of our participants discover that by becoming more conscious they start to free up time, their prioritizing becomes simpler and lives easier and less cluttered. So rather than becoming an extra burden, our program actually helps to get things back on track.

Budgetary constraints are a reality for all non-profit organisations so it is essential to consider the return on investment for staff development programs. With our integrated online approach, sustained over time, the TeamUp program creates value which becomes embedded in the very culture of an organisation. It therefore creates more real value that other stand-along interventions which may feel useful at the time, but do not translate into positive behavioral change in practice. TeamUp’s potential to enhance wellness and reduce stress must also be weighed against the huge costs incurred through the growing prevalence of burn-out, sick leave and staff turnover.

Most staff development training focus on acquiring technical skills or learning specific tools. TeamUp is different because it focuses on interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence acquired through practical experience, peer coaching and assisted accountability. It empowers staff to take responsibility not only for their own work, but also their state of mind, their wellbeing and the way they interact with their colleagues. These are the skills that form the bedrock of a healthy work culture which enhances performance and empowers leadership in all organisations.

Many of these Apps are helpful and useful on the personal level and we often recommend them to our clients. The value of TeamUp lies in understanding and applying mindfulness principles in a very practical way alongside other colleagues who provide further insight and accountability. TeamUp also provides the space for discussion of real-life situations and challenges which enhances interpersonal skills, collaboration and support. Our facilitators are trained to ask powerful questions that keep the conversation focused and help participants gain insight into the real source of their challenges.

Have a question? We’re happy to help…

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