How Coaching Can Improve Work-Life Balance

By: Kimberly Gleason

“I’m outta here!” Jane said as she drove home from work. “I can’t take another minute!” After relaying disturbing information to two of her new patients—yes the cancer has returned, no there isn’t much we can do for you—a skipped lunch break, forms galore to fill out, and a text from her son saying he missed the bus, again, she had had it.

It would have been different were she to go home and rest up, but there was still dinner to fix—another fish stick night, no doubt—a stop at the grocery store for milk, and yet another late night at the home office, trying to get caught up before the start of a new, exhausting day.

Goodbye children! Goodbye home sweet home! She imagined herself saying, envisioning her car tearing up the dust on the road as she zoomed off to better life.

Jane is like so many professionals I know—frazzled, weary, and torn among numerous priorities. They want it all, the successful career or business, the peaceful home life, the comfortable lifestyle. Yet there never seems to be enough time. Or energy.

Work-life balance: a hated phrase. At the same time, it’s one that research shows is highly important to workers these days. They strive for it, and yet often fail to maintain that urgent sense of balance.

Coaching can help these workers. In fact, in a 2009 ICF Global Coaching Client Study of 2,165 coaching clients, 67% of those surveyed reported that coaching helped them to have better work-life balance.

Why? Perhaps because coaching helps people to envision, plan, and strategize for their desired future. Perhaps because coaching helps them to overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of better work-life balance, and provides the feedback and accountability necessary to move forward with intention and focus.

When employees overwhelmingly state that work regularly interferes with their personal lives, and that this interference is a major source of frustration, leaders ought to take note. And taking it a step further, business owners and leaders would be wise to learn how to coach.

Not only can they learn how to coach their employees around the issue of work-life balance, but they can learn how to coach them for greater performance, effectiveness, and productivity—oftentimes what lies beneath the work-life balance dilemma.

Coaching—it’s not just about unleashing potential. It’s a skillset, process, and relationship that energizes the individual being coached, creates momentum, and holistically addresses all parts of a person’s life.

Kimberly Gleason, an ILCT student, is a Grand Rapids-based personal and executive leadership coach, author of over 60 newspaper and magazine articles, professional speaker, and trainer. She specializes in helping leaders to improve individual and team performance, effectiveness, engagement, retention, and results. You can find out more about her free e-books, blog, resources, presentations, and programs at

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