We know that poor mental health, even when it isn’t clinical, has far-reaching and disruptive effects on all aspects of our lives especially at work. We also know from the research that not everyone is comfortable talking to their workplace counsellor or going through their employee assistance program (EAPs). The average usage figure for EAPs in the UK in 2022 was 12% according to the Employee Assistance Professionals Association. Mental Health First Aid accreditation has really grown and become the leader in workplace mental health accreditation. The spotlight continues to shine on mental health and wellbeing with over 20,000 workplaces now with at least one Mental Health First Aider.
So the question is with the large and fast growing wellbeing world - why is the workforce still struggling? It could a mix of communication, messaging, investment, format and trust. Very little research has been done about how these programs and resources impact well-being especially the uptake via employee assistance programs. However, there has been some research into coaching and mental health and it directly addresses coaching as an effective strategy to improve mental health and wellbeing: - The Time to Change for Mental Health and Wellbeing via Virtual Professional Coaching: Longitudinal Observational Study by Alexis Jeannotte, Ph.D., Derek Hutchinson, Ph.D., and Gabriella Kellerman, MD The team investigated intervention, time, and impact on well-being outcomes resulting from coaching intervention. They also used coaching online and that also had a significant positive improvement on every outcome measured. The research highlighted that coaching can really make a difference by improving well-being and because by its very nature it is bespoke and therefore a personal and individual intervention. It can be seen as a meta-wellbeing improvement tool because the coach not only helps support the coachee during sessions but also guides and informs them of tools, techniques and strategies between sessions and this includes actions i.e. home learning and practice. Coaching is powerful as it doesn’t have the stigma of clinical support services and the coach is seen by the coachee as a professional and in an equal partnership, as opposed to a counsellor or therapist with a ‘patient’. Through coaching we help people move forward and change at their pace whilst being fully in control this builds trust and when progress is seen, which can happen fast it then motivates further improvement.