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What is psychosocial recovery coaching all about?

Updated: Aug 24, 2020

In July 2020 the NDIS introduced a new support item called psychosocial recovery coach. We explore this new role is and how it will benefit participants.

The term 'psychosocial disability' refers to disabilities that stem from mental health issues. By introducing this the role of psychosocial recovery coach (recovery coach), the NDIA have formally recognised that the recovery process for people living with psychosocial disability is unique to each participant and can be a very long and difficult journey. According to the NDIA the purpose of a recovery coach is to "provide support to people with psychosocial disability to increase their independence, social participation and economic participation".

The role of a recovery coach includes:

  • developing recovery-enabling relationships, based on hope

  • supporting the person with their recovery planning

  • coaching to increase recovery skills and personal capacity, including motivation, strengths, resilience and decision-making

  • collaborating with the broader system of supports to ensure supports are recovery-oriented

  • supporting engagement with the NDIS, including support with plan implementation

  • documentation and reporting.

Building Relationships

One of the key focuses of a recovery coach is to build a "recovery-enabling relationship" with each participant, really get to know the person and gain an understanding of their needs, goals, preferences, strengths and barriers.


Once a strong and trusted relationship is established, the recovery coach works with the participant, their family and supports to develop a recovery plan (this may be in collaboration with the person's clinical mental health specialist or team). Once a plan is in place the recovery coach will support the participant to implement the plan and monitor the plan to ensure it remains relevant and is followed.

Increasing Capacity

This is where the 'coaching' part comes in! Building on the trusted relationship they've developed, recovery coaches essentially become the participant's life coach, teaching them that they can "take responsibility for their lives and can live a full and meaningful life" and supporting them to "articulate and own what a meaningful life means for them and their families and carers, and to then make decisions for themselves" (NDIS).

Coordinating supports

Just like support coordinators, recovery coaches also collaborate with NDIS and other providers to link participants with different services, including broader services such as health, housing, education, employment, financial supports, family supports and physical health care services. They also help people to engage with the NDIS and get the most out of their NDIS plan. The difference is that recovery coaches are required to draw on their lived or learned perspective to ensure all supports are recovery-oriented.

Two types of a recovery coach

There are two possible types of recovery coach and participants have the option to choose between them. Each type of coach has specific competencies that must be met:

- Learned experience recovery coach:

Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work or similar training, and/or

Two years of experience in mental-health related peer work.

- Lived experience recovery coach:

Certificate IV in mental health, community services, other related health fields or similar training, and/or

Two years of experience in mental-health related work.

Still have questions?

The NDIS is working on a national framework for recovery-oriented services which will be published in 2021. In the meantime they have published various fact sheets and resources which are available here.

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