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Systemic issue

It is important coaches recognise when to make a referral to a GP, clinical psychologist or other specialist help, emphasised Picheta. “They need to recognise stress and consider the past history and pervasiveness of symptoms in their clients.” Where coaches have multiple clients they can provide an important feedback loop to the organisation, on a strictly non-attributable basis, she said: “This can inform senior management about organisational practices and conditions which may be contributing to raised levels of stress. In this way, stress is framed as a systemic, and not just an individual, issue.” She pointed out that coaches get […]

Don’t miss out

As research consistently highlights how coaching can help manage stress, many more need to make the connection, or miss out. Professor Stephen Palmer, director of the Centre for Stress Management and of City University’s Coaching Psychology Unit in London, said: “Research, including ours, highlights how coaching can reduce stress and enhance wellbeing, while we’ve found that stress management is the most common health goal in coaching. And what is interesting is that wellbeing and the ability to manage stress increase in coaching even if stress is not on the agenda. “Health coaching is set to take off in a big […]

Lack of competence

Earlier this year, a report laid some of the blame for rising stress at the feet of incompetent bosses. Managers’ lack of competence and misplaced confidence in themselves is creating a stressed-out, unfulfilled workforce, according to research from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), carried out among 2,000 UK employees. There is a clear link between the rise in mental health problems and job insecurity, with employers who are planning redundancies significantly more likely to report an increase in stress-related absence (51 per cent) than other employers (32 per cent), says the CIPD’s report. Stress expert Professor Cary Cooper CBE, distinguished […]

All in a day’s work?

Stress levels at work are now the major cause of long-term absence, says a new CIPD report – but coaching could well be the answer to effective attendance management

News that stress now tops the league of causes for long-term absence in the UK has thrust coaching into the limelight as an effective intervention. Stress has overtaken musculoskeletal problems as the top cause of sick leave, while 39 per cent of employers say absence due to mental health problems has risen in the past year, according to the Absence Management survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and Simplyhealth.

Top causes of stress at work include workloads, management style and considerable organisational change and restructuring, says the report. Dealing with sick days costs employers an average of £673 per absent employee a year, up £73 from 2010.

The survey identifies 23 absence management approaches, including return-to-work interviews, attendance bonuses, stress counselling, employee assistance programmes (EAPs) and changes to working patterns.

Although coaching is not cited as an option for managing absence, CIPD adviser Jill Miller, believed some respondents were thinking about coaching when answering about support provided for line managers to manage absence/attendance. She pledged to consider including coaching in next year’s survey.

She said: “Line managers play a key role in effective absence/attendance management, and coaching is a good way of developing capability to do so.”

She said that line managers need to focus on regaining the trust of their employees and on openly communicating.

Kent County Council has recognised the critical role of line managers in its successful “attendance policy”, training them in coaching skills, managing difficult conversations well, stress management and living well, positive management of mental health and managing change successfully. Return-to-work coaching is also on offer to staff.

There is a particular increase in stress-related absence among public sector organisations, with 50 per cent of respondents reporting a rise, according to the report.

Coaching at Work, Volume 6, Issue 6

Mindfulness in Schools project lessens pre-exam nerves, report pupils

By Ray Freeman Coaches and teachers were among the 135 delegates who flocked to a conference on mindfulness in schools on 30 September in Tonbridge. Mark Williams, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Oxford, gave a whistle-stop tour of the physiological and neurological aspects of mindfulness and how it can help people avoid depression and anxiety, for example, moving from conceptual to direct experience, judging to letting be, and to seeing thoughts as mental events rather than real. Professor Felicia Huppert, director of the Well-being Institute at the University of Cambridge, explained the role of mindfulness in the […]

EMCC launches coaching legal agreement

By Kate McGuire Coaches and clients will be able to cut down on commercial risk through a purpose-built, ground-breaking coaching legal agreement, launched by the European Mentoring & Coaching Council (EMCC) on 22 September in London. At the launch, EMCC advisory board member Mike Taylor, who led the design of the Agreement, said it will help coaches and their clients reduce commercial risk. It represents several thousand pounds in free legal advice for EMCC members. Endorsed by the EMCC and the Institute of Consulting, and produced with the help of City law firm Osborne Clarke, the Agreement minimises ambiguity and […]

Think entrepreneur

Coaching psychologists should be more entrepreneurial. This was a key message from a conference in Stockholm on 16 September, as part of the 1st international Congress of Coaching Psychology. Lars Ahlin from the Swedish Psychological Association, P-O Eriksson from Coachande Psykologer and Stephen Palmer, honorary professor of psychology at the UK’s City University, said psychology must take an offensive stance, reported Liv Hök from Sweden. For full story, see: Coaching at Work, Volume 6, Issue 6

Talent will out

Businesses across Europe are neglecting talent management, according to research from the Boston Consulting Group and the European Association for People Management. The research found that two-thirds of businesses have no “systematic or strategic approach” to recruitment, retention or career development. A study carried out by Scottish Widows discovered that 77 per cent of companies have at least one employee whose loss would have a significant impact on the firm. Coaching at Work, Volume 6, Issue 6

Work is a dirty word

Only a third of British workers are enjoying their current role, while almost a quarter say they are “distinctly unhappy”. According to the latest Happiness at Work Index from Badenoch & Clark, the proportion of workers reporting high morale in their position has dropped from 46.6 per cent in January to only 36.5 per cent, with dissatisfaction felt most in the East Midlands. Coaching at Work, Volume 6, Issue 6