Work Family Conflict: Elizabeth Harper, Psy.D. 

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In this post, Elizabeth Harper, Psy.D.  shares her experiences with coaching people who are experiencing work family conflict.  She specifically addresses some differences she has noticed in coaching male and female managers and executives.

How do you coach someone who is experiencing work family conflict?

Work family conflict is an issue that is brought up often in coaching, and it can go in both directions, family to work or work to family. People are usually committed and want to do well at work, but sometimes they feel overwhelmed by their workload, or they may experience conflict with their boss. People might also be experiencing conflict at home or something serious like the death of a family member. Often people who experience work family conflict are not well organized, and I will offer them tips about how to organize their day at work, as well as work with them to set goals and discuss logistics. For example, we might discuss quantity of time spent at home and at work, and set what they think is a reasonable time to leave work at the end of the day. People often bring up the fact that they bring home the residual toll of the day and how this affects their relationships. I advise people to be as present as possible when they are at home.

Have you noticed any gender differences in work family conflict?

In terms of gender differences, I have noticed that women tend to bring more to work with them in relation to their role as a mother. Women have a greater tendency to feel guilty and conflicted about whether they should be working, especially when they have young children. Women frequently feel more exhausted based on their participation in both roles. Men seem to experience less conflict and do not bring their work home as much as women. I think the coaching experience can differ based on the gender of the coach and the coachee.

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