HOW UPSKILLING AND COACHING YOUR WORKFORCE CAN HELP WITH MENTAL HEALTH

10 October 2019

A Royal College of Psychiatrists report published in March 2018 shows nearly 1 in 7 people suffer from mental health problems as a result of their work.

That number represents a staggering 4.5 million people in Britain’s workplaces today, so it’s definitely worth discussing how upskilling can benefit mental health.

Across all industries, 85% of employees reported that they have been stressed out about their role, at least on occasions, and 43% have seen their stress levels rise to a point where they have had to take time off.

One way in which businesses can help their employees feel happier, take away stress, and even help conquer mental health issues is by helping them to train and upskill.

It’s been estimated that by the end of 2020, there will be 14 million skills shortages, and upskilling can lead people to feel more secure in their jobs, improve their morale and wellbeing, and thus make them more loyal to their current workplace.

As part of upskilling, coaching is also a solutions-focused, goal orientated process that helps develop new perspectives and a greater understanding of strengths. When coachees are engaged and committed to learning, and when the coach builds sufficient trust and challenges the coachees appropriately, the engagement can be highly empowering. It can enable coachees to break through long-term barriers that were blocking their success. As a result, new skills and confidence can be developed and goals that once seemed to be impossible dreams become defined and actionable.

What does this have to do with wellbeing and performance?

Most of us feel pretty stretched and challenged with day to day life, in and out of work. Even finding the right balance between the two can be a challenge. As a result, it’s easy to start feeling stressed and when we get too overwhelmed our creative ability to develop ideas and solutions starts to shut down. That makes it very easy to get stuck in the problem. When we don’t feel equipped with the right skills, resources or support, we often start to lose confidence in our ability to deliver. If communication channels within an organisation aren’t up to scratch or if employees don’t feel included in or connected to the goals and purpose of their team or organisation, it’s very common for engagement levels to drop. In the long run, innovation, productivity and attrition rates can all be negatively impacted.

Furthermore, engagement levels can improve when an initiative such as coaching is implemented, because it makes employees feel supported and invested in. Interestingly, coaching can also have a ripple effect, meaning it’s not just the person or team receiving the coaching that reaps the rewards, those surrounding the coachees can also benefit. For example, an overwhelmed manager enters a coaching programme and as a result he/she develops new levels of emotional intelligence, learns ways to manage stress and improves his/her communication skills. As a result, members of the team they lead, the leadership team they are part and even their family and friends all have better interactions with the manager. Stress levels amongst the team improve, as do engagement levels and peers can learn from the changes they witness. This ripple effect can be incredibly powerful.

The workplace is often a highly competitive and stressful environment these days and many organisations have started to realise that investing in workplace well-being says a lot about their culture. Standing out as an employer of choice, therefore being able to attract, support and retain the right people to achieve long-term organisational success, is crucial. Whilst there are numerous ways to do this, all the evidence is pointing towards coaching as one very useful intervention that gets results and allows you to stand out as employer who really cares about your people.

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