Esther coaches working towards “being at our best” for Esther by Nicoline Vackerberg

Hello everyone,

this month’s blog is from the wonderful Nicoline Vackerberg, who is the Senior Development leader, and Coordinator of Esther International at Qulturum in Sweden. I was extremely fortunate to work with Nicoline and Goren Henriks earlier this year at their international conference, delivering a few masterclasses on grays salutogenic coaching approach to improve organisational systems, and, introducing them to salutogenic leadership and leader self-compassion. They are a marvellous innovative lot, full of energy and ideas and fun. It was good to spend some time with them and we look forward to developing some work together in the future. Please share and enjoy Nicoline’s words about Esther coaches and their approach to utilising our coaching model.


Esther coaches working towards “being at our best” for Esther

The ESTHER Network, Sweden, is made of caregivers, clinicians, patients, and families who work to promote and improve the complex care in Region Jönköping county. “Esther” is a symbolic person, with complex care needs who requires the coordination and integration between hospital, primary care, home care, and community care. Esther is at the centre of all our daily work.

What matters for Esther is the output of the entire system, not merely that of the individual parts. The network’s vision is that “Esther will feel safe and independent with the support of an energetic network.” The Network uses tools of continuous quality improvement and coaching to increase competence of the whole care chain, and reduce redundancy for Esther. We educate Esther coaches to spread the Esther concept and work with continuous person-centered improvements in the whole care chain.

The hallmark of an Esther coach is to always ask “What is best for Esther?” and let the answer (rather than narrow organizational self-interest) guide subsequent action. Esther coaches are recruited among the staff who work closest to Esther because we know that quality can never be better than that what takes place in the direct meeting with persons in need of care.

Our Esther coaches highlighted the importance of Sense of Coherence to create will and sustainable improvements within the Network system. We are doubly happy to discover and use Gray’s salutogenic approach to coaching as this fits very well with our way of coaching, and has the potential to bring our coaching to a higher level because it also considers the wellbeing of our coaches. I am sure you appreciate that caring for our staff so they can care for others is also important to us!

We learned from Dee about being our ‘best selves’, so now we would like our Esther coaches to consider, before they start a conversation with Esther or their colleagues: How am I today? Am I at my ‘best self’ in this moment? If not what can I do to come closer to my best self? We have discovered that by doing this it is easier radiate positive energy and enjoy working which is a key ingredient to get change to happen and people on board with what you are trying to achieve.

Gallwaey said, “To use coaching successfully, we have to adopt a far more optimistic view than the usual dormant capability of people…”

To sustain this optimistic view over time, we think it is helpful for Esther coaches to be close to their ‘best self’ so that their coaching is not only aiming to give their Esther joy and better wellbeing but also as an Esther coach they can flourish and grow. We continue to explore Gray’s model in order to build this in our already existing Esther coach concept. By doing this we do hope to strengthen the joy of coaching and build long term coaching commitments in our Health- and Social care system.

Thank you Dee for introducing your model to us!

Nicoline Vackerberg