Resources / Impact of workplace coaching to support menopausal women

Impact of workplace coaching to support menopausal women

Research was conducted by Suzanne Dunn, one of NewWoman Health’s expert coaches, on the impact of workplace coaching for menopausal women. Below is a summary of the high level findings. A link to the full article published in International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring is shown below.

What was the objective of my research?

Menopause research

Does coaching provide an environment to support menopausal women in the workplace? I was interested to find out what happened during workplace coaching for women who were experiencing the menopause. I interviewed 7 women, all of menopausal age, all senior in their fields, who had received coaching at work. We discussed their own experiences of the menopause, how it had affected them at work, and what their experience of coaching was during this time. Although no research exists in this area, studies looking at menopause and work suggested that women are often impacted negatively at work by the many and varied symptoms of menopause. Alongside the so called “traditional “ symptoms such as hot flushes and sleep disturbance, are many psychological symptoms such as low mood, anxiety and brain fog. The consequences of these symptoms has led women to reduce their hours, being reluctant to take promotion, and in some cases, leaving the workforce altogether.

Menopause research

What did my research find?

That coaching provides a safe space to discuss issues of careers, confidence, identity and the opportunity to work through transitional periods in their lives. My findings also suggested that women don’t always recognize that the symptoms they are experiencing are menopausal or were reluctant, in any context, whether at work, at home or with a coach, to discuss the topic.  They were concerned that sharing their symptoms might lead to marginalization at work and identifying their vulnerabilities in the workplace might impact on future career opportunities. The value that the coaching experience had on the group for promoting a sense of action was a very optimistic finding of this research. Their coaching created an awareness of their own situation enabling them to find their own strategies to move forward. It also engendered in them a desire to support other women and to raise awareness in the workplace.

Quotes from my participants:

‘We are still internally conditioned to downplay, to put it to one side and say that’s private, keep it in a little box over there.’

‘Seen as a lesser being, a weakened female. Many many women will refuse to talk opening about it, for fear of being judged, fear of losing their jobs.’

‘Coaching can be about building confidence and self-esteem, getting the most out of the employee. There is a connection between coaching and the menopause because coaching provides the opportunity to build confidence.’

To read the full article on the research please follow this link:

You are not alone. As a local example, in Manchester over 46% of council employees are female and over 40 years old. In a CIPD survey (2019) over 30% of women said they were unable to work because of menopausal symptoms.

Only 25% said they could tell their manager the real reason for their absence. The Council account for nearly 7% of all employment in Manchester. They implemented a new Menopause policy in March 2022. CIPD survey | Manchester Council Menopause Policy | CIPD Manchester

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