Finding a strong balance between one’s work life and personal life can be difficult. In some cases, work can take up so much of one’s time that it comes at the expense of time spent with family and loved ones. This problem has developed to the point where countries such as the United Kingdom have introduced initiatives over the years to encourage employers to make workers’ scheduling arrangements more flexible (Mcintosh, 2003). Indeed, a 2017 study indicated that 56 per cent of Canadians feel their work life has either “definitely” or “probably” taken precedence over their life at home (“Canadians Employed Full-Time Struggling with Work-Life Balance”, 2017).
In many ways, a person’s life outside of work is considered to be their “support environment.” Having such support can help professionals more easily navigate the “work” component of their lives, and the stresses associated with it (Holmes, 2014). Here’s how a life coach can help a client with their work-life balance.
Coaching Can Help Clients Find the Factors Upsetting Their Work-Life Balance
A major component of a life coach’s success in helping clients improve their work-life balance is their ability to not only identify their client’s values, but also to discover which factors are preventing them from achieving work-life balance (Mcintosh, 2003). Such factors can include taxing workloads, caregiver fatigue from demanding responsibilities at home, and checking work emails during non-work hours (Government of Canada, 2008) (Andrew-Gee, 2017). Indeed, many experts worry that the rise in smartphone use has contributed to this problem, noting that it has helped to blur the line between work hours and time at home (Andrew-Gee, 2017).
Through life coaching, clients can not only overcome obstacles impeding their ability to achieve optimal work-life balance, but also help them to formulate plans and strategies for achieving the future they want (Gleason, “How Coaching Can Improve Work-Life Balance: Institute for Life Coach Training”). They might help clients establish smartphone-free time at home, seek out a more flexible arrangement at work, or seek out other solutions to the obstacles affecting their work-life balance. Coaching can help clients learn to re-shift their priorities and define how they want their work-life balance to be, even if this involves them finding a new job that could more easily allow them to have their ideal balance (Schuy, 2018). A coach can aid clients in not only finding the reasons behind their lack of equilibrium, whether internal or external, but also direct them toward a better plan (“Work/life balance coaching”).
Coaching Can Hold Clients Accountable and Help Them Be More Resilient
One of the most fundamental skills a student in life coach school can learn is how to help clients overcome obstacles preventing them from achieving their goals (“Rhodes Wellness College: Professional Counsellor Diploma”). Another is ensuring they are held accountable in reaching those goals. This can be done by giving them the feedback they need to stay focused (Gleason, “How Coaching Can Improve Work-Life Balance: Institute for Life Coach Training”).
Coaches can help clients optimize their work-life balance by breaking their day down into three parts: pre-text, context, and recovery (Holmes, 2014). The pre-text is where the workday starts, and what happens before it—and the most important component is the client’s home life, and what they can do to become more resilient to stress. This includes techniques such as exercise and healthy eating, avoiding bringing work stress home, and staying fully present whilst at work (Holmes, 2014).
The “context” element involves developing coping strategies such as mindfulness, establishing boundaries, and noticing warning signs of stress, and the “recovery” component involves having a support network outside of work, reducing the use of technology, pursuing new experiences, and more (Holmes, 2014).
Help Clients Define Their Ideal Work Balance During Your Life Coach Career
When a client’s work-life balance becomes too heavy on the “work” side, and becomes too much to handle, this can result in sick leave, stress leave, or quitting their job outright (Holmes, 2014). Professionals with a life coach career can help clients avoid these types of situations and reduce stress by helping them take certain factors into account. These include thinking about long-term goals for their professional and family lives; being open to expectations changing; being flexible overall; and viewing the pursuit of an ideal work-life balance as a process (“Achieving work/ life balance”, 2018).
Other factors to consider include how much sleep they get per night; how much work they do themselves, as opposed to how much is delegated to colleagues; the state of their energy and physical fitness; how rewarding and enjoyable their work is; how many hours per day they work for (particularly if it’s 12 or more); and how much time they can spend with family (Schuy, 2018). By working with a coach, clients can not only weigh out their respective answers to these questions, but also reduce how much they think about their work life, de-stress, focus on relationships, enjoy themselves more, and look at each day with a sense of optimism (“Work/life balance coaching”).
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Achieving work/ life balance. (2018, June 2). Retrieved from https://www.padraig.ca/4167/achieving-work-life-balance/.
Andrew-Gee, E. (2017). Why are Canadians less happy balancing work and life in the digital age? The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/statscan-work-life-balance/article36970577/
Canadians Employed Full-Time Struggling with Work-Life Balance. (2017, April 20). Retrieved from https://insightswest.com/news/canadians-employed-full-time-struggling-with-work-life-balance/.
Gleason, K. (n.d.). How Coaching Can Improve Work-Life Balance: Institute for Life Coach Training. Retrieved December 30, 2019, from https://www.lifecoachtraining.com/blog/entry/how_coaching_can_improve_work_life_balance.
Government of Canada (2008) Reducing Work-Life Conflict: What Works? What Doesn’t? Retrieved from: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/environmental-workplace-health/reports-publications/occupational-health-safety/reducing-work-life-conflict-what-works-what-doesn.html
Holmes, R. (2014, April 18). The Science of Coaching Work/Life Balance. Retrieved from https://coachfederation.org/blog/the-science-of-coaching-worklife-balance.
Mcintosh, S. (2003). Work-Life Balance: How Life Coaching Can Help. Business Information Review, 20(4), 181–189. doi: 10.1177/0266382103204003
Rhodes Wellness College: Life Coach Diploma. (n.d.). Retrieved December 30, 2019, from:
Schuy, M. (2018, November 12). 5 Tips for Better Work-Life Balance // Coaching-Guide. Retrieved from https://clevermemo.com/blog/en/5-tips-for-better-work-life-balance-coaching/.
Work/life balance coaching. (n.d.). Retrieved December 30, 2019, from https://www.lifecoachhub.com/coaching/work-life-balance-coaching.