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An investigation into workplace stress and the role of coaching

Gyllensten, K.T. (2005). An investigation into workplace stress and the role of coaching. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


The aim with the current study was to investigate whether coaching could help to reduce perceived stress in the workplace. Part I of the study measured stress before and after coaching comparing a coaching (N=16) and a control group (N=15) in a sample of employees from a UK fmancial organisation. The results showed that the coaching did not significantly reduce stress. Part II of the study investigated the relationship between coaching and stress. Employees from the UK fmance organisation and from a Scandinavian telecommunications organisation participated (N=103). Stress levels were measured after coaching in a coaching and control group. Multiple regression analyses showed that participation in coaching did not have a relationship with lower stress levels. Nevertheless, high levels of coaching effectiveness were reported by the participants in both Part I and II of the study. Thus, the coaching appeared to be effective at tackling the specific issues targeted in coaching while failing to significantly reduce levels of stress. Part III of the study used a qualitative methodology. Employees from the participating organisations were interviewed about their experiences of coaching (N=9). The interviews were analysed by using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis and four main themes emerged: management of stress - coaching helped to reduce stress indirectly; the coaching relationship - this relationship was found to be very important; confidence - coaching helped to increase confidence; and coaching = investment in staff - the provision of coaching was viewed as a sign that the employer cared for and valued their employees. The purpose of the case study was to outline the therapeutic intervention with a client suffering from workplace stress in a primary care setting. A cognitive behavioural approach (Beck, 1976; Beck, 1995) was used, and, accordingly, the therapeutic interventions focused on the client's cognitions, moods, behaviour and physiology. In addition, the client's work situation was explored and organisational stressors were identified. The critical literature review investigated literature relating to the impact of gender on the level of workplace stress. Many of the studies indicate that women report higher levels of stress, however, several studies report no difference between the genders. Furthermore, research and theory concerning working women and the stressors 'multiple roles', 'lack of career progress', and 'discrimination and stereotyping' were also reviewed. The evidence for the adverse effects of these stressors is inconsistent. Gaps and limitations of the research are discussed.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
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