Over the past three decades, life coaching has developed into a respected profession but only in more recent years has it been an employee support channel offered by EA professionals. Traditionally, coaching was found mainly in the domain of corporate executives and people who could afford to pay for private coaching. Today, not only is coaching made available to lower and middle management in large organisations, as well as in SMEs, but the ability to coach employees is seen a vital skill for managers who want to develop their teams, improve their performance and nurture a positive work culture. Adding coaching to the range of services offered by EAPs can introduce it to the wider employee population, becoming part of a holistic wellbeing approach.
What is coaching?
Coaches and counsellors are similar in that they both provide one-on-one support for people who are seeking change in their lives.
Coaches are not qualified to assess a person’s mental health or provide treatment. Their purpose differs from counselling in that they partner with people who are interested in reaching their maximum potential. Their objective is to help clients identify and employ their own strengths and resources to achieve their personal and professional goals.
“Coaches partner with people who are interested in reaching their maximum potential.”
- Counsellors are clinicians, highly trained in psychotherapy, who help people who are struggling emotionally and with mental health issues. Their objective is to provide support for employees who are experiencing life issues that may impact their psycho-social functioning and productivity in the workplace
“Counsellors are clinicians, highly trained in psychotherapy, who help people who are struggling emotionally and with mental health issues. “
What process does coaching follow?
Coaching uses a process of inquiry and discovery to build a client’s level of awareness and self-imposed responsibility, providing the client with structure, support and feedback to reach their goals. The client is considered to be an expert on themselves, while their coach acts as their guide. Therefore, “A great coach will resist telling the person what to do and instead focus more on asking the right questions, listening, encouraging self-discovery, and challenging them to learn and achieve. These are the five steps to effective coaching.”
- Establishing the objective
- Understanding through assessment
- Providing feedback
- Identifying goals
- Following up with support
Counselling and coaching – two sides of the same coin
The inclusion of both coaching and therapeutic counselling within an EAP programme would enable it to deliver a powerful, comprehensive employee support mechanism. While EAP counselling has traditionally been offered as mainly reactive employee support tool built around mental health issues and substance abuse, coaching would proactively support employees in reaching their maximum potential at work – to the same end. They both support the quality performance and productivity of happy and healthy employees.
“The inclusion of both coaching and therapeutic counselling within an EAP programme would enable it to deliver a powerful, comprehensive employee support mechanism.”
“EAP counselling and coaching would come at issues affecting employee success from different angles:”
A holistic programme that offers both would provide a way for organisations to wholly support their employees at a time when supporting the wellbeing of staff is seen to be more important than ever before. To do this EAP counselling and coaching would come at issues affecting employee success from different angles:
- EAP counselling is issues focused. It provides an essential platform for employees to navigate through personal challenges, manage stress and build coping mechanisms.
- EAP coaching is solution orientated. It equips employees to overcome professional hurdles, build resilience, and foster a growth mindset, facilitating personal success which leads to organisational success.
How coaching can benefit the company
Today, effective EAPs transcend the provision of therapeutic services. The dynamic demands of the modern workplace have necessitated EAP reinvention – especially since the workplace effects of COVID-19. This has seen a much closer link forged and integration between Employee Assistance Programmes and Employee Health and Wellness Programmes. In line with these developments, incorporating coaching can proactively enhance the overall productivity and wellbeing of an organisation’s workforce.
- It empowers individuals and encourages them to be accountable and take greater responsibility for their actions and commitments.
- It encourages communication, reflection, and self-correction.
- It is a strategic tool that fosters resilience and problem-solving.
- By helping employees build soft skills coaching improves inter-employee relations and overall team functioning.
When it comes to offering both EAP counselling and coaching, by ensuring that an organisation’s employee health and wellness programme is comprehensive and dynamic, catering to the varied needs of its employees, it will not only be investing in employee success and wellbeing, but also paving the way for the future growth and success of the organisation.
“incorporating coaching can proactively enhance the overall productivity and wellbeing of an organisation’s workforce. “