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As leaders, we know that work isn’t always about work.
The personal challenges employees face and how they think, react, and perceive others impacts their performance at work. Mental health challenges can act as barriers, impeding productivity, diminishing focus, and even triggering increased turnover and missed workdays.
Two of the most common reasons a person might leave a company include work-life balance and a sense of well-being. This truth sends a clear message about their priorities—they no longer wish to compartmentalize their lives. Instead, they desire healthy work-life integration and to show up to work as their entire selves.
HR leaders shoulder an important role in navigating the path forward. They champion the well-being of employees while considering the best interests of the organization. By acknowledging the connection between work and personal life, HR leaders pave the way for transformative strategies.
One way to improve the health of both the company and the individual is by providing employees with access to coaching. This investment represents a commitment to the long-term development of employees as it addresses barriers, harnesses strengths, and aligns them with the goals of the organization.
When employees have access to coaching, they gain valuable tools to navigate significant challenges and everyday hurdles—and the entire organization benefits.
Coaching the person, not the problem
True change occurs when we focus on coaching the person, not just addressing the problem. It requires meeting individuals where they are, understanding their unique definition of success, and collaborating with them to navigate their journey toward it.
While working with clients, I often find myself toggling between thinking traps, values, and boundaries. Working through these concepts allows my clients to develop psychological flexibility that impacts their work life—empowering them to work more meaningfully with their teams, develop greater resilience, and identify and advocate for their needs.
When the individuals of an organization are healthy, the company benefits, too. A recent study found that employers who offered mental health resources, including coaching, saw a 24% increase in productivity and a positive financial ROI across all employee salary levels.
Understanding thinking traps
One of the most valuable skills I teach my clients is the ability to recognize and navigate thinking traps. Thinking traps are cognitive distortions that can lead us down negative paths, impacting our emotions and workplace performance.
Executives and frontline employees all encounter thinking traps. Thinking traps are a universal experience that don’t simply vanish when you step into the workplace.
Some common thinking traps that you may encounter in a work setting include:
- Catastrophizing: overestimating the consequences of a negative event
- Fortune telling: making assumptions about future outcomes
- Mind reading: believing you know what others are thinking
Other thinking traps to be aware of include:
- Probability overestimation
- All-or-nothing thinking
- If-only thinking
- Emotional reasoning thinking
During coaching sessions, individuals learn to identify their thinking traps and recognize how these patterns contribute to their real-life challenges. Through this awareness, they can arrive at a place of acceptance regarding what they can and can’t control. Realizing you have no power over other people’s thinking traps is a truly revelatory experience.
Another important step in working with thinking traps is identifying your values.
Using values to set boundaries at work
Coaches often help their clients identify their core values, which become guiding principles to establish healthy boundaries. The process begins by examining the various domains that shape their lives, such as family, fitness, career, fun, and leisure.
From there, the client is encouraged to identify the domains that hold the greatest significance, and delve deeper into selecting value words that describe how they aspire to present themselves to the world.
These carefully chosen value words serve as answers to the question: How do you want to show up consistently?
For example, as a leader, I focus on my career domain. Among my values are collaboration and hard work. Additionally, I prioritize empathy to cultivate a compassionate leadership style. I also embrace humor as my superpower, fostering an atmosphere of relaxation among those around me.
These value words bring vitality and meaning into my work life, instilling confidence and purpose. They act as a guide so that I can show up authentically in every situation. With my values clearly defined, I’m now prepared to establish boundaries that align with them.
In the realm of work, there are various types of boundaries to consider, including:
- Time boundaries
- Energy boundaries
- Emotional boundaries
- Intellectual boundaries
- Physical boundaries
- Financial boundaries
- Romantic boundaries
Let’s illustrate this with an example. Every Friday, I may work a half-day without disclosing the specific reasons behind it. A recognition of my values drives this boundary. By effectively communicating this need to the relevant team members and respecting it myself, I honor the boundary, ensuring its efficacy.
By refining your understanding of values and translating them into boundaries, you empower yourself to navigate work-life balance with clarity and purpose.
Get started with coaching
Throughout my coaching journey, I’ve witnessed a remarkable shift that takes place for my clients in the third or fourth session. Given the space and time to offload and ponder what success means to them, clients can develop the psychological flexibility that makes them an asset not just at work, but in all their relationships.
At Spring Health, we offer a diverse provider network. Every member has a dedicated Care Navigator who can help them find a provider who meets their needs and understands their lived experience.
Investing in mental health support for your team isn’t always enough. It’s essential for your employees to have fast access to the care they need, when they need it.
Meeting your full potential through coaching
When we’re at work, we’re not just defined by our job titles. In healthy environments, we can bring our whole selves to work.
Everyone wants to work in spaces where they can authentically present themselves, feel acknowledged, and have their voices heard. After all, when we consider that a significant portion of our lives are spent at work, it becomes clear that it transcends strict business transactions.
By providing comprehensive coaching support, you equip your team members with the tools to navigate the multifaceted challenges that come with being human. This empowers them to unlock their full potential and make meaningful contributions in the workplace.
Get your copy of our latest coaching white paper where we explore coaching versus therapy, impactful coaching specialties, existing limitations, and key factors for selecting a coaching solution.