Friday, July 31, 2009

The Personal Touch Still Fits the Bill

Personal coaching in the workplace is taking a different angle these days. Not only are the executive coaches helping managers with leadership skills, life coaches are becoming a key part of the answer for employers in breaking through the Western health-crisis pandemic. More and more employers are hence seeing better safety and social outcomes, and productivity gains, come from healthier workers as a result.

In her Honours Thesis, Miranda Brown (GCG Health, Safety & Hygiene) discovered that amongst three study groups, the group targeted with a combination of health information and health motivation coaching sessions achieved statistically significant results in improved health outcomes. These occurred in all four levels measured: health goals; diet; exercise; and, workplace wellness.

Groups given purely the health information component of the program, however, (i.e. without coaching sessions) showed no statistical improvement. In fact, they showed little more improvement than that of a control group which had no part in her program.

Ms. Brown commented that she found taking a positive interest in the coachee’s life meant being trusted with quite sensitive information and personal challenges, and this gave her access to facilitate a customised level of motivation and encouragement for each person coached, which put them in a position poised for success.

The personal, face to face approach wins hands down. Each success story we are part of in our interpersonal interventions is a win/win situation as both people (coach and coachee) are blessed with the inspiration of growth. Transformation occurs and lives are truly saved from the living death of disease and ill-health.

And when we consider wisdom in the realm of safety and workplace efficiency in general, we know implicitly that a holistic approach to health management at the individual level is a winner, though it costs much: time, effort, sacrifice… all leading, though, to eventual success.

Given the huge impact that stress is placing on all our lives, surely an approach to life coaching on health is a compelling case for change, indeed “innovation.”

This information further advocates the view that promotional programs that don’t target personal intervention are likely to make little difference in the context of our apathetic world.

Information alone only gives little stimulus for improvement. Motivation gives some extra push to it. But it is self-empowerment toward self-actualisation, indeed transcending the self, that creates true success at the individual, personal level.

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