Home / Resources / Case Study: Coaching Stressed Executives

Case Study: Coaching Stressed Executives


The HSE stress management standards identify Support as one of the 6 key conditions influencing health, well being and organisational performance.

The standard requires that:-

  • Employees should receive adequate information and support from their colleagues and superiors; and that
  • Systems are in place locally to respond to any individual concerns.

For stressed senior executives, this support can be hard to find. As the leaders of the organisation, they can feel that they should be providing rather than receiving support. And since they tend to have fewer immediate colleagues and superiors to turn to, life at the top can be lonely and isolated.

Executive Coaching is a way of responding to this problem. The following In Equilibrium case studies illustrate how a non-judgemental outsider can help the executive to find his or her own solution.

A Career Decision:- Finance Director John’s career was at a critical stage. A capable individual, the Company wanted John to move up to group level and allow a promising team member to fill the gap. However, John was avoiding making a decision because he was very worried about the impact of a move on his family; in particular his wife who was prone to anxiety and bouts of severe depression.

Coaching enabled him to talk confidentially about the situation at home, his values and aspirations. It enabled him to develop criteria for accepting a new role, and to identify alternative ways in which he could meet his own need for a challenging role, whilst continuing to support his wife and family.

A Stressed Team:- Operations Director Suzanna’s 360 degree appraisal had resulted in a very disappointing set of scores. Working in a complex, fast changing environment, she had been working long hours, close to burn out, and was inclined to blame her co-directors when things went wrong.

Coaching helped Suzanna to see herself as others were seeing her, and to understand how she was adding to the stress levels of her team. The 360 feedback was used to complete a SWOT analysis from which Suzanna was able to use her strengths and make the most of opportunities to create some quick wins with her team, while in the longer term she undertook an in depth management development programme.

A ‘win-win’ In each of these cases, it had been possible for the executive to work through a stressful situation with the coach acting as facilitator, with personal growth outcomes that brought significant benefits to the organisation as well as the executives.

Recent articles on our blog....

A row of well thumbed cream coloured paper folders

Workplace wellbeing resources – some helpful recent additions

May 16, 2024

Our latest collection of external resources to help workplace wellbeing includes guidance and recommendations relating to a range of topics – autism employment, ensuring EDI is for everyone, information sharing in mental health emergencies at work, menopause in the workplace and women at work.

Read More →
Group of people working around a desk beside a cork board with coloured notes

Why we should focus on minimising employee illbeing to aid workplace wellbeing

May 16, 2024

This post begins with some research which concludes that efforts to improve wellbeing at work are directed too narrowly. It then goes on to highlight some courses that can help employers looking to minimise employee illbeing in the workplace. They present opportunities to explore strategies that can enhance a culture of psychological safety and trust.

Read More →
A row of clear clips with yellow heads showing various emoticon faces clipped onto a cork board

Moving more at work for our mental health

May 15, 2024

In line with the theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, we offer some simple suggestions for building movement into our working day.

Read More →



Our purpose is to provide training and consultancy services to enhance resilience, health and wellbeing in the workplace.


Differentiation is one of the most strategic and tactical activities in which companies most constantly engage


It's natural to have questions about training and how it fits with your organisation. Our FAQs can help you find out more.


View case studies for some of the in-house training courses we have delivered to different types of organisations across the UK.