Strengths-based work in a deficit-based system

For #HousingDay2022 we have captured the experiences of our PTS Coaches & people navigating the broken systems that surround public services. We ask coaches at Mayday and in our partner organisations across the UK, to walk alongside people who are going through tough times. A person’s coach will often be the only person they meet in the system who feels able to acknowledge that the system isn’t working, or is part of the problem. Other workers may recognise this just as clearly, but feel constrained by the expectation to be ‘professional’ and put their organisation’s reputation first. This can make great workers act like gaslighters, and it’s one of the ways in which working in a deficit-based, organisation-led system can be damaging for workers as well as the people they support.

That place of truth though is not an easy place for coaches to be: staying with the person through anger and frustration, and being willing to challenge organisations that are under huge pressure, and with which we need to work productively. Often the battles are very small – invisible to the people with the power to shape a more human system. But by gathering those messages, identifying the themes and what works, and feeding that back into local systems, we are showing that it’s always possible to cocreate services and systems which are a better fit for the people whose lives and work they shape.

Look out for the quotes below on social media and please help us to share these voices and their messages of frustration, and hope:


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