Action to take if you’re unhappy at work

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic approach that helps individuals identify and change negative thoughts and behaviours that contribute to problems in their lives. In the context of job dissatisfaction, a CBT-based coaching conversation might involve helping the client recognize and challenge dysfunctional beliefs about their job, and then take actions to improve their situation.

Here’s a possible structure for a CBT-based coaching conversation:

  1. Establish Trust and Rapport:
    • Begin by creating a comfortable and confidential environment for the client. This might involve simple gestures like offering a drink, providing a comfortable chair, and ensuring the conversation space is free from distractions.
  2. Setting the Agenda:
    • Ask the client what specific issues they would like to address during the session.
  3. Assessing the Present Situation:
    • Get a clear understanding of the client’s current job dissatisfaction. This could include questions like:
      • “Can you describe what you find dissatisfying about your job?”
      • “How long have you been feeling this way?”
      • “How is your job dissatisfaction affecting other areas of your life?”
  4. Identifying Negative Thoughts and Beliefs:
    • Ask the client to express their thoughts and beliefs about their job. For instance:
      • “What thoughts go through your mind when you think about going to work?”
      • “How do you feel about your capabilities in your current role?”
    • Listen actively for any automatic negative thoughts or cognitive distortions.
  5. Challenging Negative Thoughts and Beliefs:
    • Use Socratic questioning to challenge any unhelpful or distorted thoughts. For instance:
      • “Is there evidence to support that belief?”
      • “Have there been times when that belief was proven wrong?”
    • Encourage the client to consider alternative, more balanced thoughts.
  6. Identifying and Exploring Behaviours:
    • Understand how the client’s beliefs and thoughts are influencing their actions. For instance:
      • “How do you react when you have those negative thoughts about work?”
      • “What actions, if any, have you taken as a result of these feelings?”
  7. Developing an Action Plan:
    • Collaboratively work with the client to develop an action plan to address the dissatisfaction. This could involve:
      • Seeking feedback at work.
      • Exploring other job roles or career paths.
      • Building skills or getting additional training.
      • Setting up regular check-ins with superiors.
  8. Assigning Homework:
    • Based on the action plan, assign tasks for the client to complete before the next session. This could involve journaling, researching potential job roles, or practicing new cognitive strategies.
  9. Review and Feedback:
    • At the beginning of subsequent sessions, review the client’s progress on the action plan and any homework assigned.
    • Ask for feedback on what is working and what isn’t.
  10. Ending the Session:
    • Summarize the key points discussed during the session.
    • Confirm the date and time of the next session, if applicable.
    • Offer words of encouragement and support.

The goal of CBT-based coaching is to empower you the client to recognize and change negative thought patterns and behaviours. Over time, with consistent practice and reflection, you should become better equipped to handle job dissatisfaction and any other challenges that you face in your career.

Go through the steps of this conversation with yourself and see what you discover.