Business Hour

Lynn Scholes, founder of Focus101, is helping businesses prosper thanks to her therapeutic skillset that gets the most out of the people they employ. Photography: Swirly Magnolia

Since setting up Focus101, Lynn Scholes has been overwhelmed by the response of businesses who need support with their employees’ development and wellbeing over the last year or so due to Covid.

“Workers are returning to the workplace after being furloughed or working from home and that’s presenting many different problems,” explains Ribble Valley-based Lynn, who previously worked in a senior managerial role for an international pharmaceutical company.

She went on to train as a Therapeutic Coach and Counsellor, giving her a unique set of people skills that helps businesses grow and prosper in a dynamic culture that focuses on the wellbeing of their employees.

“The weight of evidence shows that by supporting employees with their mental health leads to less sick leave, greater productivity and higher retention rate, all of which leads to greater profit and a more successful and sustainable company,” adds Lynn, who explains that the global pandemic has affected the wellbeing of many people – even those who thought they had dealt with the crisis well.

“When I go into companies and speak to people, those who are very positive about the future reported back that they found our sessions invaluable.

“Throughout the pandemic we have all experienced an extended period of fear – fear of catching Covid, passing it on, fearful for relatives, fear for our jobs, our homes, our finances and our children.

“Normally fear triggers the fight or flight response, which settles as the threat passes. But the pandemic caused hyper triggering – an extended period of fear which most people have never experienced before.

“While some people are naturally aware and cope well, for others it’s been much more complex.”

Through Focus101 Lynn offers various packages – tailoring them to each individual business: “I have a series of options available. Working with the client to determine a package that benefits their budget as well as their business, is all part of the service I offer.

“It may be that communication skills need to be enhanced or certain individuals may need resilience coaching. For others it could simply be giving employees the opportunity for an ‘emotional and wellbeing MOT’ to check they are coping and working at their optimum level.”

Having conducted more than 100 one-to-one corporate and private sessions over the past few months, Lynn has seen the huge impact the pandemic has had on people.

“It has been an enlightening experience, noticeably the different reactions people have had to the lockdowns and pandemic. For many it has left them anxious in various ways – after 15 months off work some are wary of returning to a work environment, for others who were previously accustomed to a lengthy daily commute, they have lost all confidence in driving. Every single case is different.”

Lynn has also discovered that while many people have coped well, when they see how their colleagues have been empowered by coaching and counselling, they too want to benefit from her therapeutic support.

“My passion is mental health support and making it normal and acceptable for businesses and their employees to talk about anxiety and stress. From big, burly men on the shopfloor to senior management, it’s important to discover what sits behind any issues and find out the underlying cause. It’s about people finding their own answers – suddenly they understand why they feel like they do.

“When a client comes to see me I don’t have an agenda – it’s whatever they want to talk about on the day. It may well be that part of the session is counselling dealing with past issues and that drifts into therapeutic coaching to deal with future development within a corporate culture.

“It is a seamless transition from counselling to coaching. My years as a senior business manager taught me that the best work is done when you can move between the two forms of support in any one session.

“I see businesses that have a brilliant work culture with a happy workforce that is listened to and valued, but that’s not enough. People may be reticent to show weakness, so discussing personal challenges with employers, managers and even colleagues may not be an option, so it makes it vital to have external support,” adds Lynn, who has been able to reach a far wider audience geographically with Focus101’s cost-effective services via Zoom.

“It works extremely well,” she says. “Over the last few months I have worked with a number of companies nationwide, who really understand that supporting the mental wellbeing of the people they employ not only meets their duty of care but is also the best insurance policy to ensure that the company thrives in these very challenging times.”

As well as working in corporate environments Lynn also offers confidential and private counselling and coaching to individuals



Tedd Walmsley

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Tedd Walmsley managing director of Live Magazines shares his views on the latest topics in media.

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