Second Nature Scaling Story

Second Nature - Enabling personal and company growth through 1-2-1 coaching

How Scalewise coaching helped Second Nature’s Head of NHS Partnerships to develop his professional skills and take advantage of new opportunities for the company.

Digital lifestyle app

Professional Development Coaching

Second Nature is a digital lifestyle change programme, which helps users build healthy habits through a smartphone app. Direct-to-consumer, the app includes personalised health coaching from a dietician, live progression tracking and evidence-based education to achieve health goals, such as sustainable weight loss. Set up in 2015, Second Nature employs 130 people worldwide and works with healthcare providers and insurers across the UK, Western Europe and the US.


Series A

Second Nature Need

Second Nature is the first online behavioural change programme to be commissioned by the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK and the company is currently partnered with 80+ NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and local authorities in England and Scotland. Second Nature’s Head of NHS Partnerships, Michael Whitman, oversees the critical role of selling the service to the NHS and managing the subsequent relationships.

Michael sought professional coaching from a self-development perspective, such as advice on hiring practices and managing managers. Having witnessed the value of professional coaching themselves, Second Nature’s young founders were amenable to Michael’s request and recommended he find a suitable mentor.

Scalewise Impact

Following a recommendation by Paul Fifield, CEO and Co-Founder of Sales Impact Academy, Michael spoke with Scalewise co-founders Gavin Sumner and Tom Glason about the areas he wanted to grow both personally and professionally. He subsequently started coaching sessions with Gavin three times per month. The Scalewise coaching had the following key impacts:

1. Addressed real-time concerns

Michael initially attended sessions with specific topics to discuss, but soon found it more useful to chat through the number one issue affecting him that week. From knocking down barriers and working through situations cooperatively to analysing strategy, discussing on-going negotiations and structuring conversations, the coaching sessions had an instant impact by enabling Michael to successfully address his most pressing weekly challenges.

2. Prepared for big opportunities

The fluid nature of the coaching topics allowed Michael to successfully prepare for upcoming opportunities. For instance, having run a pilot for a large customer, Second Nature began tricky negotiations over scaling up the service. Ahead of a crucial meeting, Michael worked with Gavin to prepare the pitch, justify the strategy, align the leadership’s views and create a compelling deck, which helped Second Nature negotiate the actual structure of the deal.

3. Refined the decision-making process

The coaching sessions provided Michael with a sounding board for ideas and an external perspective on key strategic decisions. This enabled Michael to confidently navigate difficult positions and generate positive outcomes for Second Nature. For example, when considering the termination of an unsustainable contract, Michael discussed the pros and cons with Gavin before proposing a nuanced solution that suited both parties.

4. Cemented team culture

Company culture is very important at Second Nature, but the casual manager relationship occasionally made it difficult to switch to a professional conversation. With the company focusing on driving revenue, Michael also had less time to spend with his team. However, bringing an external expert to the table helped solidify internal working processes and get the whole team on board for big decisions, with Michael even spreading the coaching hours among his team so they could benefit individually.

“Working collaboratively with someone that’s done it all before and chatting through issues as they arise each week has not only given me the conviction to press ahead with big decisions, but enabled me to unite the partnerships team behind our approach”.

Michael Whitman

Head of NHS Partnerships Second Nature,

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