By Joanna Kleovoulou, PsychMatters Centre Founder l Clinical Psychologist l Writer  

M.A. Clinical Psychology (Wits) l B.A Honours Psychology (UJ) l B.A. Honours Business Management (UFS) l B.A Communications (UFS) Contributor of Improving Mental Health in the Workplace: KR Publishing 

Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity –“VUCA” – have now become the 4 environmental elements we are all traversing in workspaces and permeated into our lives (family, finances, friendships, future). There is now a global leadership movement towards turning the V- for Volatility to V- for Vulnerability as indicated by many world transformers, such as the likes of Brene’ Brown and our own Navlika Ratangee, MD of ICAS South Africa.

We are all vulnerable to mental health concerns and immediate focus on our wellbeing is required if we are to thrive today and tomorrow (R. Ratangee, 2022).

    One in every 4 people will struggle with a mental health illness at some point in their lives (WHO). Mental health costs South Africa 2.2% of GDP (Lund, C, 2015.) Currently, mental wellbeing is being talked about more openly in the workplace. Many employers have taken steps to make the topic a priority and include it in their work policies by introducing measures to maintain wellbeing. Offering support such as counselling and corporate coaching by promoting wellbeing and raising awareness around it at work can help to prevent mental illness, improve productivity and contribute to a wholesome corporate climate, making employees both happier and secure.  

The pandemic has caused many changes, particularly in the place of work. This has resulted in a lot of uncertainty among employees. However, it is also an opportunity for businesses to develop. Re-structuring, re-focusing and re-building can be exciting and lead to more opportunities for staff. By embracing these changes and adapting to them, your team can feel motivated instead of fearful. Embracing new changes will also help to future-proof your organisation and leave your employees feeling cared for. 

   Almost 30 years ago that John Elkington coined the “Triple Bottom Line” of People, Planet and Profit (also known as the 3Ps).  Improving our impact on people, the planet and prosperity by minimizing our negative impacts and maximizing our positive impacts on all three was his ideology. 

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  • People: The impact an organisation has on its most important stakeholders (employees, families, customers, suppliers, communities, and any other person influencing or being affected by the organisation.)
  • Planet: The impact an organization has on its natural environment (reducing its carbon footprint, usage of natural resources, toxic materials, the active removal of waste, reforestation and restoration of natural harm done.) 
  • Profit/Prosperity: The impact an organisation has on the local, national and international economy and contributions to our society as a whole (creating employment, generating innovation, paying taxes, wealth creation and any other economic impact an organisation and society has.)

When you authentically take care of your people and their families, you inspire them with a deep sense of belonging which translates into loyalty and engagement, as well as a reciprocal investment of their talents towards enhancing the success and exponential growth of your business.

Workplace trends reflect the fast track of change required, to evolve our thinking. The essence of therapy addresses that which holds us back and in essence coaching finds a way to take the next steps to move into the future. A perfect partnership. An organisation is a living organ – a heart with blood pumping from within with a consciousness that needs to be taken care of. 

Executive coaches and therapists use their work to enrich and improve clients’ lives by using various styles, but the two professions do have many fundamental differences.  The most common difference is that while clients seek therapists to help with lifestyle issues and healing, executives usually seek coaches to help them with organizational and workplace concerns and goals to take full advantage of their potential in the workplace. 

So why the investment in corporate coaching particularly following the Covid-19 pandemic?

  1. Improved leadership skills:
    Executive coaching will ensure your leaders have the skills to help employees quickly transition back to collaborative work once again. With the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, it’s also important that executives have the leadership capacity to adapt to changing working practices and expectations. Leadership skills, as with any skill, can weaken over time. Executive coaching will help you develop and improve your leadership skills to ensure you can rebuild your company team once again.
  2. Enhanced empathy:
    Many employees have experienced feelings of anxiety and depression during the lockdowns and Post-Covid Fatigue. They may feel further anxiety about returning to work and may have lost their passion for their job role. Showing empathy in the workplace helps with both understanding the root causes behind changes in employee performance, as well as building trust and helping employees feel safe in their role. As an executive employee, developing your empathy puts you in the best position to listen, understand and try to solve employee concerns, something that will be essential when helping employees to feel comfortable returning to work. 
  3. Developed social skills:
    Everyone handled the pandemic in the best way they could. No matter how an employee experienced the pandemic, it is essential you heighten your self-awareness and social skills and re-build positive relationships with your team. Leaders need to be able to connect with everyone on their team, and having a wide array of social skills will allow you to connect with people in the most productive and effective way. Social skills are at the core of successful relationships, so taking the time to focus on advancing these skills will improve the way you communicate and interact with the people on your team.

At PsychMatters Centre we offer both psychotherapies for all ages as well as corporate coaching. Charlotte D.  Blignaut – our corporate coach (2020 Forbes Coaching Council Member) looks forward to navigating your corporate journey with effective tools. Book your personalised or group coaching with us at PsychMatters Centre: l +27629758442

Corporate Coaching Services by Charlotte:

  • Executive, business and corporate Coaching, including coaching to your Genius
  • Speaking
  • Workshop facilitation

Charlotte’s Qualifications: 

  1. Executive, Business and Life Coach
  2. Neuro Semantics Business and Life Coach 
  3. NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Master Practitioner
  4. NQF8(Honours degree) Accounting and Corporate Governance 
  5. Neuroscience for Coaching – University of Pretoria 
  6. Face Profiling/Physiognomy
  7. Outcome based Design, Training and Assessment (ETDP SETA)

“Charlotte has an innate inner gift for coaching and her highly evolved practice will be immensely valuable to our students.”  George Woods – Senior Lecturer Wits Business School.

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 Joanna Kleovoulou has contributed to 2 chapters in the Improving Mental Health in the Workplace. For any orders:

“This book could not have been published at a more pertinent time. This must-read will enable you to improve your understanding of mental health in the current context, develop insights into holistic approaches and frameworks to address it, and it provides tips and tools on how to cope with mental health in the context of the future world of work and further unknown complexities that might still lie ahead for us.”  – Dr Shirley Zinn, Chair and Non-Executive Director on multiple Boards

CONTRIBUTORS: Rakhi Beekrum | Dr Graeme Codrington | Dr Nikki Connellan | Dr Jopie de Beer | Dr Karina de Bruin | Ingra Du Buisson Narsai | Dr Angela Whitford du Plessis | Dr Vanessa Govender | Joanna Kleovoulou | Val Leeming | Dr Frank Magwegwe | Kim Martin | Zanele Njapha | Dr Ashika Pillay | Dr Renate Scherrer | Namhla Tambatamba | Dr Rinet van Lill | Dr Xander van Lill | Radhi Vandayar

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