Workplace Stress Management Coaching

  • Michael E. Bernard


Rational-emotive and cognitive-behavioral (RE-CB) methods for coaching workplace stress have been described in the literature since the early 1970s when Albert Ellis penned Executive Leadership: A Rational Approach (Ellis, 1972). Here’s an excerpt from what Ellis wrote about how rational emotive behaviour therapy could be applied to help people without mental health disorders work more efficiently using their reason and rational thinking:

I esteem efficiency. In fact, that has probably always been, and still is, my main goal as a therapist and as a developer of one of the leading psychotherapeutic theories. I think it is incredibly inefficient for human beings to give themselves needless pain by making themselves anxious, depressed, guilty or hostile; and I spend a great deal of my life fighting this kind of inefficiency…. I enjoy showing a man (and woman) how he can get along much better with his partner, boss, or employee just as much as I enjoy showing him how he can improve his sex-love relationship… Out of this work, which I have done with scores of executives in personal counselling sessions, have merged a good many general ideas and principles. These can be applied by virtually any organized leader, even (and maybe especially) when he has no serious emotional difficulties but merely wants to conduct his work and get along with his associates more effectively…

In 1987, the audio series Mind Over Myth: Managing Difficult Situations in the Workplace was released by the corporate services division of the Institute for Rational Emotive Therapy under the branding, Rational Effectiveness Training Systems. This training program was designed to help coach people who experienced non-clinical barriers to work success and wellbeing to manage difficult situations in the workplace, by teaching them the ABCs of emotional self-management. In 1997, Ellis and his colleagues published Stress Counselling: A Rational Emotive Behavior Approach with a chapter devoted to that how REBT methods can be applied to help individuals manage occupational stress. And for the past decade, articles and chapters have illustrated ways in which RE-CB methods can be applied in coaching to help people manage workplace stress (e.g., Gyllensten & Palmer, 2012). Over this time, research has supported the proposition that cognitive-behavioral coaching reduces work stress (e.g., Gyllensten & Palmer, 2005), increases resilience and goal attainment (e.g., Grant, Curtayne, & Burton, 2009).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael E. Bernard
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Melbourne Graduate School of EducationUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.College of Education, California State UniversityLong BeachUSA

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