Staying human when the pressure is on

The world of work is changing rapidly and it seems to becoming more and more pressured.

The stress and challenge on individuals is relentless.

How many of your reading this have had to reapply for your job, for example?

How many of you have had meetings with managers and come out feeling undervalued, criticised and upset?

A friend of mine has just been through a bruising review of her department and now feels not only disengaged from her employer, but positively hostile!

It may be the conscious style in some organisations to drive their people to the limit of their ability to cope. Burn them out and get new (usually cheaper) blood to replace them, seems to be their modus operandi.

Organisations with an eye on a sustainable future will recognise that if they want to keep good people they need to compensate the high level of challenge with a high level of support.

There’s a simple two by two matrix to illustrate what the link between support and challenge says about your organisation. Not sure how to do this on my blog so I’ll set it out in normal script.

Low Challenge High Support = the Cosy Club.

High Challenge Low Support = Burn Out

Low Challenge Low Support = the Living Dead

High Challenge High Support = Growth

One of the ways organisations have found helpful in supporting their people is to develop a coaching culture.

Coaching gives individuals precious time and space to reflect on their work, to reassess goals and objectives, renew their energy and enthusiasm, restore meaning, work out new ways of thinking about issues and relationships, be listened to, experiment with different behaviours…the list is endless.

The obvious first step for an organisation looking to create a coaching culture is to appoint an external coach to work with the senior management team individually and collectively.

Then, having experienced coaching, some of those managers will be interested in being trained as coaches.

That is not to say coaching should reinforce hierarchies and be used as a means of wielding additional power. It should never be used in these ways.

My ideal is for everyone in an organisation to have some grounding in the fundamentals of coaching. There is no reason why the janitor or the catering assistant or the security guard should not develop the listening and questioning skills that coaching implies.

I truly believe that reducing stress (or improving resilience, to put it in more positive language) through coaching will make the world a better place because individuals will be better supported in these challenging times.


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