Did you know that 23.2% of your work force is likely experiencing a high level of emotional distress?

In the Manon Dulude Ph.D. research project “an Effectiveness Study on Telephonic Brief Solution-Focused Coaching on Life Satisfaction Measures”, it was discovered that 23.2% of those who volunteered for the study were considered too emotionally distressed to benefit from coaching and more suitable for counseling services.

Out of a sample of 138 volunteers, 32 individuals were disqualified due to their high score on the Brief Symptom Inventory, a brief psychological self-report symptom scale. These unexpected findings bring us to question how these individuals impact the overall performance and dynamics of a team.

These results also bring to light a number of questions:
• How ethical is it for coaches to coach everyone and not take into consideration the level of emotional distress a client presents?
• How do coaches appropriately assess the “coachability” of a client?
• When an organization identifies difficult employees, do they seek coaches with mental health knowledge to assess and make appropriate referrals to fully support the coaching process?

These surprising results highlight the need for decision makers within organizations take into consideration the larger scope of employee needs when considering coaching as a solution.

In 2011, Manon Dulude Ph.D. conducted a life coaching research project to evaluate the effectiveness of a short-term coaching model (brief solution-focused coaching) on the emotional and cognitive aspects of life satisfaction (how positively people feel and think about their life). This research project was a doctoral dissertation requirement. Aspiria EAP Corp. sponsored the research project.

The results of this research were exciting. Click the link for a summary of Dr. Dulude’s findings on this short-term coaching model.

In this day and age where we want to minimize time on the road commuting, telephone coaching is the way to go. Ninety-five (95) percent of one hundred and six (106) subjects involved in a research project (Dulude 2012) confirmed that telephonic coaching is a viable approach to deliver the service.

Some of the most commonly experienced benefits of working with a coach identified by the participants were;
• increased level of life satisfaction,
• improved confidence,
• positive outlook,
• understanding of self,
• determination,
• momentum, and
• increased courage.

A professional coach will ensure that telephone coaching is effective by the use of active listening, use of silence, and building relationships. There are a number of techniques employed to establish and maintain a connection between coach and client.

Telephonic coaching in particular offers a number of advantages such as:
• People are busy with limited available time. It may appeal to them if they can participate whenever and wherever it is convenient for them.
• Technology exists to make telephone conversations engaging and effective. Look at such programs as tele-commuting (work from home), ehealth, and conference calls.
• Using the telephone is more cost effective. Travel is not required. For groups, no boardroom space needs to be booked.
• Privacy is assured. No one will see the employee enter or leave the coach’s office.

In our busy lives, it is gratifying to know that we have a choice when it comes to a service like coaching. Whether in person or via telephone, the coach and participant can select the method most effective for their needs.

In my experience, when people talk about their workplace relationship problems, they tend to attribute the responsibility and blame to the other party and keep focusing on how the other person is just not living up to their expectations.  These internal conversations are rarely effective as they fail to acknowledge the relationship as an independent entity and how each person contributes to the “dance” they create together.

When an individual comes to coaching because they find themselves in a difficult workplace relationship, their first session often resembles a court proceeding where the coach is expected to act as judge and jury, and find fault with the missing party.  This is not a realistic expectation nor is it effective. It is more constructive to ask yourself “how can I change the way I think about this situation so I can react to it differently and create a different outcome?” This will reinstate some sense of personal power that is often lost at time of conflict.

Your coach will likely challenge you to enter into a process where you will be assisted to expand your perspective of the problem, appreciate the other person’s interests and see yourself as the change agent. Coaching can support you in learning the following when it comes to managing difficult workplace relationships:

  • how to create a safe environment for yourself and the other person,
  • avoid war by having collaborative conversations,
  • understand that for most people, their approach to communication  is hard wired in their brain rather than intentional,
  • how to appease a situation instead of jumping into the melée and escalating the exchange,
  • build in best practices for communication in your busy schedule and
  • become a go-to person who can see beyond the initial problem.

Remember the stories we make in our head about a situation are not necessarily the truth. They are just “one” perspective. Don’t get married to your stories and you will find freedom from conflict.

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