The Employee Assistance Program vs Leadership Development Coaching – how to know what’s best

Vanessa Fudge, Founder and CEO, Leading Well

More and more people leaders are calling for skills and mechanisms to keep up with the emotional and practical demands of managing their teams, not just for performance but also for the wellbeing and the mental health of their people. 

Your EAP provider could understandably find themselves being pulled into filling this gap.  

While an EAP service is suitable for managers finding strategies for raising their personal mental health and resilience, it is not designed to comprehensively deliver the capability requirements of new people leaders.  

EAP is a helpful support service to address issues of: 

  • Individual wellbeing 
  • Supporting your people to manage and overcome stress, anxiety and destabilisation with major events at work or in life 
  • Life coaching for family and relationship issues, dealing with grief, improving exercise and sleep, parenting challenges 
  • Personal and confidential support for navigating life and work 
  • Critical incident support for front line workers 

All of these topics are relevant for your employees whether they be in management, leadership, or any other role. 

However, when people change from purely operational or technical jobs into a people leadership/management role, they then need specific support to learn to lead others. This is where you need leadership development coaching or training.  

Training programs are great for greener leaders to understand the fundamentals of people leadership and avoid some of the pitfalls when someone moves from an operational or technical role when leading others. However, with the pace of change for most organisations, people can find themselves leading “overnight” when the training has not yet kicked in. Leadership development coaching is useful for real-time support and in addition to training programs which are designed for emerging people leaders. 

Leadership development coaching for emerging leaders will focus on areas such as: 

  • Self leadership 
  • Shifting from a doer to an influencer 
  • Managing versus leading 
  • Communicating with awareness and impact 
  • Emotional intelligence as a leadership skill 
  • Setting performance expectations and managing performance ongoing 
  • Providing appreciative and constructive feedback 
  • Managing conflict 
  • Managing not just for performance but to sustain it with wellbeing 
  • Belonging, diversity, equity and inclusion 
  • Building your relational network to achieve through others 

One of the reasons why people leaders are seeking leadership know-how from their EAP provider is that it is affordable and easily accessible. In the past, leadership coaching was reserved for high-level executives as it was viewed as a high cost and more of a finite resource only to be metered out at the top of the hierarchy. Over the last 20 years with advancements in technology and with flatter company structures, coaching has been making its way through the organisation and leaders are seeking coaching to fast-track talent and next gen leadership.  Terms like “democratisation” and “uberisation” of coaching are emerging to capture this trend of taking the high value of coaching to where it is needed most to progress the success of the workforce.  

Here at Leading Well, we have designed The Coaching Room. The Coaching Room offers access to online leadership coaching in a cost-effective package. It’s designed for people managers and team leaders who require individual support to bring out the best in their people without the traditional price tag of executive coaching.  

86% of companies report a positive ROI on leadership coaching with an average ROI 6x the coaching investment. 


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