The mental health app employing Prince Harry as its ‘chief impact officer’ reportedly faces an insurrection from its counsellors over claims they face a sneaky pay cut as some staff admitted they are still in the dark about what the royal’s job is.
BetterUp promises to support ‘the whole person’ while the firm they work for pays for it using of 2,000 life coaches accessible via a Tinder-style app – but some working there have accused bosses of having ‘questionable ethics’.
The Silicon Valley company has refused to say what the Duke of Sussex is paid, but it is likely to highly lucrative for the royal, especially after the business was valued at almost $5billion after snapping up clients including Facebook, Airbnb and LinkedIn, well as corporate giants including Hilton, Chevron and Mars.
But a revolt is brewing amongst staff at the wellness firm, who claim are being unethically treated after a row over pay and contract changes, according to The Daily Beast (TDB).
Coaches are said to be quitting and considering suing, with one declaring: ‘For a company [whose] mission is to help empower people throughout the world… They’re not walking the walk’.
One said: ‘There’s so many of us now who are upset. I would say my heart is broken. And I think there’s really questionable ethics going on. They’ve turned us into a commodity’.
And referring to the recruitment drive in recent years – the period when Harry himself joined, another irate coach said: ‘They hired and hired and hired…over the past couple of years. They have so many VPs. Now, I don’t even know what these VPs do’.
They are also not clear what Harry does for the company, branding it marketing ‘smoke and mirrors.’
Prince Harry has praised the willingness of Californians to see therapists that he has witnessed since since moving there with his wife Meghan – but the company he represents, BetterUp, is said to have upset staff over pay and a ‘like’ feature
Workers have admitted they are not sure what Harry does, pondering if it ‘smoke and mirrrors’
The world according to Prince Harry! The Duke of Sussex’s tips for achieving ‘mental fitness’
AIM FOR THE PINNACLE OF MENTAL FITNESS: ‘Mental fitness is the pinnacle, it’s what you’re aiming for. The road towards that can be really bumpy… it’s called inner “work” for a reason.’
INNER WORK: ‘With everything else around you, the only way you can combat [burnout] and build resilience for the outside world and your entire environment is the inner work… Outer work becomes so much easier when you get to grips with the inner work… If everybody [had time] to do [inner work], the shift in global consciousness and awareness would be enormous, it would be vast.’
DAILY MEDITATION: ‘I know that I need to meditate every day… Put it [into your daily routine] like brushing your teeth every morning… You need to put it into your day diary as a habit otherwise it’s the first thing that drops away from your busy day.’
DAILY ME TIME: ‘I have now put in about half an hour, 45 minutes in the morning when one kid has gone to school and the other is having a nap, there’s a break in our program. It’s like, right, it’s either for a workout, take the dog for a walk, get out in nature, maybe meditate. I would hope that everybody would be able to do that.’
LISTEN TO LESSONS FROM THE UNIVERSE: ‘Life is about learning and if you’re in your 20s, your 30s, your 40s, and even your 50s and you think you’ve got it sorted then bad stuff is going to happen. But when bad thing happen I think, there’s a lesson here, I’m being schooled by the universe, there is something for me to learn.’
TURN NEGATIVES INTO POSITIVES: ‘Every single bad thing – or the things you perceive to be bad – that happen actually can be good.’
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH MENTAL COACHES: ‘You need to have someone there who is not only coaching you through life but challenging your perspective. That’s what I ask [my mental coach] for on a weekly basis… Professional help, friends, family, anyone can help you in that coaching process [and give you] the ability to be able to find somebody else to throw ideas off or feelings or thoughts.’
WIPE YOUR MENTAL WINDSCREEN: ‘Have different points of views in your life and friends who will not worry about pushing back on things you say or feel to be able to encourage you to be able to see it more clearly. I view that as trying to surround myself with people who will happily wash [my mental] windscreen and clear those filters… There is an endless filter system of what you think is happening.’
CREATE A MENTAL TOOL BOX: ‘I know how my nervous system is going to react to certain situations that are out of my control, [so I think], what have I got in my tool box? What tools can help me deal with this?’
HONE YOUR MENTAL SUPERPOWER: ‘Life is about discovery. In that discovery you are going to find things that you don’t like, you’re going to find things that make you uncomfortable, that are constantly pushing back on you but as you work your way around those things, all of a sudden the stresses, the chaos, and all of the things that were working against you in your life, be it private life, be it work life… all of the things getting in your way either fall away or you visualize them and are able to turn a negative into a positive and therefore make those things work for you. It almost feels like a superpower.’
The row is about levels of pay and a social media style rating system that would also influence their fees. One critic said: ”From an ethical perspective… we are there to coach the client, not to have them press the ‘like’ button.’
‘No one will see any sort of decrease in their effective session rate compared to their 2021 effective session rate,’ a BetterUp executive wrote to coaches yesterday. The company is yet to comment but TBD has claimed that a U-turn may be coming.
It came as Duke of Sussex has chided the reluctance of Britons to seek counselling and praised what he called the ‘I’ll get my therapist to call your therapist’ mentality he’s found since moving to California with Meghan.
Speaking on a podcast about mental health, Prince Harry spoke of the ‘immense’ cultural differences between the UK and US as he promoted BetterUp,
The Duke of Sussex has suggested there needs to be a change in people’s mindsets from just coping with problems to getting on the ‘front foot’ and becoming mentally fit.
And suggested that the Americans have it right when it comes to therapy in a ‘cameo’ appearance on the Masters of Scale podcast recorded at the Invictus Games.
Host Reid Hoffman, the LinkedIn co-founder, asked if there had been ‘an uphill battle’ for Harry when he spoke our about mental health in the UK.
Harry replied: ‘You’re absolutely right, Reid, about the cultural differences, they’re immense. You talk about it here in California, ‘I’ll get my therapist to call your therapist’. Whereas in the UK it’s like, ‘Therapist? What therapist? Whose therapist? I don’t have a therapist. No, I definitely don’t, I’ve never spoken to a therapist’.’
The interview comes months after Harry advised people who feel ‘stuck in jobs that don’t bring them joy’ to quit and said leaving work was something to be ‘celebrated’, nearly two years after his acrimonious departure from the Royal Family.
The Duke of Sussex also spoke about his work with veterans, including those suffering with PTSD.
He said: ‘I started to realise parts of my own story were being mirrored or reflected in that’.
Speaking in a podcast in his role as chief impact officer for professional coaching and mental health firm BetterUp, Harry said he saw his job as ‘driving advocacy and awareness for mental fitness’.
The Masters of Scale podcast, which interviews start-up entrepreneurs about the key to their success, is hosted by Hoffman who suggested to the royal the goal in life should be ‘not just to avoid losing but play to win’.
The duke, who last week staged his Invictus Games in Holland, replied: ‘Yeah, rather than looking at going, ‘yeah, exactly that, every single day I’m trying to survive’ or ‘every single day I’m trying to cope’, I think we need to completely change it.
‘And that’s what I mean about the difference between mental health and mental fitness … the mental fitness aspect is like, ‘I’m not going to wait for myself to be, either collapse on the floor or wait to have a nervous breakdown or burnout and then have to fall on my friends or then have to pay X amount of money or find the money to be able to afford professional help’.
‘Mental fitness, as far as I understand it, is more a case of get on the front foot. What can you do to be proactive, to prevent the situation from happening?’
San Francisco-based BetterUp is valued at $4.7billion and Harry’s role, which he took on in March last year, includes product strategy, philanthropy and public advocacy related to mental health.
He is also involved in the firm’s commitment to Pledge 1% – a movement which encourages companies to donate 1% of equity, staff time, product or profit to their communities.
Harry told the podcast: ‘The chief impact officer role for me at BetterUp is 100% about driving advocacy and awareness for mental fitness.
‘Ninety-nine point nine percent of people on planet Earth are suffering from some form of loss, trauma or grief.
‘It doesn’t matter what age you are, but the majority of us have experienced a lot of that in our younger years, therefore we’ve forgotten about it.
‘Now, the body doesn’t forget, the body holds the score as we know. And, therefore, just as much as there’s a mental health aspect to it, there’s also the emotional aspect to it as well.
‘And I think the more that we can talk about it, the more we understand it. The more we understand it, well, the more we understand each other.’
Harry, who has served in the British Army but has no corporate experience, does not manage any employees but appears at special company events and spend time at the company’s San Francisco for meetings once Covid restrictions are lifted (pictured)
Inside the office: BetterUp’s San Francisco offices include numerous sofas, exercise equipment and a punching bag
Harry, pictured with his wife, has admitted it has been harder to talk about mental health in Britain
BetterUp is valued at £3billion and Harry’s role, which he began in March 2021, includes product strategy, philanthropy, and public advocacy related to mental health. He is also involved in its commitment to ‘Pledge 1%’ – a movement which encourages companies to donate 1 per cent of equity, staff time, product or profit to their communities.
While Harry receives a salary from BetterUp, the firm has not disclosed how much he is paid or if he owns shares or stock options.
In February Prince Harry offered his own woke guide to business as he told firms they should ‘give everyone time to focus on themselves’ during his first appearance of the year plugging his employer, mental health startup BetterUp.
The Duke of Sussex, 38, who was speaking from his $14 million mansion in California with Meghan Markle, 40, and has a series of endorsement deals with companies that pay him to represent their brands, spoke on a virtual panel alongside CEO Alexi Robichaux and the Duchess’ friend, Serena Williams.
During the summit, Harry and Serena joked about ‘chatting for hours’ as they spoke about their close bond, while the tennis star also revealed how the Duke acts as a life coach for her.
The father-of-two, who was showcasing a new shorter hair cut at the event, claimed he had suffered ‘burn out’ and waxed lyrical about the importance of ‘taking time for inner work’.
Harry said: ‘From an employer perspective, you can’t expect your people to put in the work on themselves when you’re not giving them the time to do that.’
Prince Harry spoke of ‘experiencing burn out’ as he made his first appearance at a virtual summit for his employer, mental health startup BetterUp earlier this year
Later, the Duke spoke about being taught ‘lessons from the universe’, saying: ‘Life is about learning right? If you’re in your 20s, your 30s, your 40s, and even your 50s and you think you’ve got it sorted then bad stuff is going to happen.
‘But when bad things happen I think, ‘There’s a lesson here, I’m being schooled by the universe, there is something for me to learn.’
‘Next time it happens, I’m going to be more resilient and can see a way around it to achieve the ultimate goal.’
As the session came to a close, Harry went on to reveal how he sees his BetterUp coach, who act as a mental health mentor for individuals and businesses, every week.
After plugging the service, he joked to the CEO: ‘Maybe you should just put me on the coaching board as well, Alexi?’
Social media users criticised the Duke for his comments, with one baffled Twitter user writing: ”Eh! What the hell is he talking about ? He’s never done a hard day’s work in his life.’