In today’s busy world, the workplace too often seems like an emotional roller coaster. Long hours, tight deadlines, and ever-increasing demands can leave you feeling worried, drained, and overwhelmed. It is well recognised that excessive or sustained work pressure over time can lead to stress and burnout.

Workplace stress has for a long time been considered as a major work environment problem and can place immense demands on everyone’s physical and mental health and affect their behaviour, performance, relationships with colleagues, and even job satisfaction. It is a major cause of long-term absence from work and knowing how to manage the factors that can cause work-related stress is key to managing people effectively. A report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) shows that stress continues to be one of the main causes of both short and long-term absence at work, as nearly 80% of respondents reported a stress-related absence in their organisation over the last year.

Instances of workplace stress can very easily cascade into more advanced mental health issues; hence it is important to address problems immediately within the workplace. Though organisations are increasingly recognising stress as an issue, and taking steps to tackle this within their organisations, only half of employees agree that the steps their businesses have taken were effective. However, in light of continuous research, one approach that has been reported to be both effective and sustainable is coaching.

In a study of 15 managers who received coaching for one year, participants reported that the coaching had increased their stress management abilities, improved work-life balance, and reduced psychological stress. Recent research in the field of organizational wellbeing also continues to show promising results for the effects of coaching.

So, how can coaching help with work-related stress?

Coaching is a method that specifically focuses on the interaction between the individual and the work environment, and so can serve as a tool for long-term, sustainable changes at the individual and organisational level.

The aim of a coach is to offer a sense of space, reflection and clarity. When it comes to stress, the coach’s aim is to help understand the root causes, rather than to ‘fix’ the symptoms. This is done through a series of conversations where the coach asks questions to help the individual gain understanding and offer insights or reflections that they may not have considered. Understanding what is causing you to feel stressed means you can change habits and behaviours that lead to the stress. Your coach will guide you through these changes, offering support the entire way.

Sometimes, we can’t control what stressful events are going to happen to us. By working with a coach, you can develop your emotional resilience so you’re better able to cope. So often it’s not the event itself that is stressful, but our reaction to it.

Applying a coaching approach goes beyond organising one-off coaching sessions at work. It means treating staff as individuals and helping them to balance their work and personal responsibilities. Ultimately, building employee resilience and supporting staff experiencing stress can help retain a valued employee and enable them to perform at their best in the long-term.

If you’re interested in taking coaching sessions for your own personal development or to upskill your team, take a look at our range of one-on-one workshops, including modules on time management, finding purpose and managing your manager.