Coaching for exhaustion and feelings of overload
Symptoms of exhaustion can be part of a mental disorder, but can also arise in mentally healthy people as a reaction to work overload. Work-related coaching sessions were undertaken with employees in various sectors, and the coaching topics and processes for mentally healthy and ill participants were compared.
A total of 110 coaching courses of three sessions were conducted by a behaviour therapist experienced in rehabilitation and social medicine. 64 participants reported exhaustion without pre-existing or accompanying mental disorders, while 46 participants had lifelong mental disorders. Coaching topics were categorized using a taxonomy of work-related stressors, and two case studies of prototypical coaching processes for mentally healthy and ill participants are qualitatively contrasted.
Mentally healthy participants most frequently desired help with social interaction problems (31 percent), work overload (25 percent), and role stress (13 percent). Mentally ill participants reported problems with social interaction (39 percent), work overload (13 percent), careers (13 percent), and working conditions (13percent). In the coaching processes, healthy participants often focused on coping with workload by improving their own work structuring, whereas participants with mental disorders in many cases needed treatment coordination.
Work-related coaching can be used as an intervention for exhaustion and feelings of overload, but requires different topics and techniques for mentally healthy and mentally ill participants. Expertise in mental disorders and different types of work-related exhaustion is needed to ensure adequacy of diagnosis, coaching aims and content.