The coaching and the work-related stress evaluation

on BLOG, Coaching, success 18 apr, 2012

Il coaching e la gestione dello stress

Since the 80s, the Job Content Questionnaire (JCQ) by Robert Karasek is probably the most used model for the analysis of subjective data in the work-related stress. The theory behind this model is that the presence of high “job demand” and low freedom of decision (or “decision latitude”) generates a work-related stress, which can become a source of stress and chronic diseases, mainly cardiovascular.

According to the JCQ model, there are four different configurations of work conditions: high-tension jobs (high job demand and low decision latitude), active jobs (both high job demand and decision latitude), passive jobs (both low job demand and decision latitude) and, finally, working jobs characterized by low demand but high levels of decision latitude, representing the ideal condition to which every employer should strive.

After the collection and the analysis of the data, the evaluator and the client agree the corrective actions to be implemented to (1) improve the work condition of all employees, (2) eliminate passive behaviours and (3) to make ideally migrate all employees to the job satisfaction status, that is to the combination of low job demand and high decision latitude.

It is shown that coaching is the perfect tool for such corrective actions, because it allows to act simultaneously on multiple sources of stress: self-esteem, the development of a shared corporate culture, leadership, an environment based on collaboration and expression of own skills , the development of people management skills, delegation, effective communication...

Furthermore, thanks to coaching, also these two major beneficial and long lasting effects occur:

1. the management takes over the coaching, spreading internally a culture of performance and success;

2. the employees acquire a "meta-competence": they learn to learn, developing both autonomy and the so coveted entrepreneurship.

But that's not all: in the late eighties, on top of the two variables of job demand and decision latitude, a third dimension was created: the so-called "social network" or "work place social support".

Indeed, Karasek observed a massive influence of the social elements on the two-dimensional model predictions: very unfavourable combinations of demand and control can NOT cause the perception of stress if the work environment is based on cooperation, low competition and friendly relations. On the contrary, “theoretically” optimal working conditions can instead lead to stress in presence of hostility among colleagues and of inconsistent or unjust behaviour of the line managers.

So, it becomes clearer and clearer that to create a successful business and a nice place to work in the twenty-first century it’s not enough to check ergonomic data and exposure to radiations, light and noise, the absenteeism levels and to implement standard prefabricated procedures. On the contrary, it’s necessary to give priority to the cultural elements, to respect dignity and individuality of each employee, to invest in consistency, communication, leadership, to set up a company goal that becomes everybody's goal, to create a coaching culture.

This huge, unavoidable challenge can be won with the support of a process of corporate coaching and a genuine domestic sponsorship.

What is the work-related stress in your company? How does your company define and apply the corrective actions?






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