Curing stress with coaching

I have been working as a Coach now for many years. However, lately I have noted that a high proportion of my clients wish not only to work on developing existing skills or learning new ones, but on finding a way to deal with the constant and increasing demands that they face not just in their jobs but in their lives in general.

For many Executives, the global crisis has put even more pressure on them and their teams to perform. I find that many are now working longer and harder than ever before, the fanciful concept of ‘work life balance’ being dead and buried. Many of them complain of having a zero balance and that their relationships with their families are deteriorating as a result. Some are noticing that their health is declining, or that they are putting on weight mainly due to poor diets and rushed meals and of course, little or no exercise. If this continues, and I see no signs that it will change just yet, then organisations will face a new crisis in the future, this time the deterioration of the health and the performance of their key people. It is true that some people seem to thrive on pressure and that is OK maybe when young but constant mental pressure into middle age has long been proven to cause health problems further down the road.

Can coaching help deal with stress? The answer is in some cases a definite yes! However, let me make it clear that in severe cases, medical help may be required and can be beneficial it is always wise to seek professional help first. Besides a trained coach would recommend such a course should he or she feel that the client warranted it. However, in many cases, stress due to the burden of an overly large ‘to do list’ and the call of a 24/7 Blackberry can be tackled using coaching. For some of my more senior clients, being able to talk about their problems to someone completely detached from their everyday world can be of huge benefit. Usually the more senior the person is, the less people they have around them that they feel they can confide in. One CEO told me that he feels that he cannot talk with his boss about the high levels of stress he experiences as he would fear that it could be perceived as a weakness on his part. He does not want to speak with his firms OH department as a confession would go on his record. He cannot expect his wife, no matter how much she wants to help, to understand the complex problems he faces in his work. He even feels that he cannot talk with his mates as they would think that he is ‘cracking up!’ Therefore, the only impartial person left is his coach.

I find that when my clients express how they really feel, they often find some inner peace removed from the turmoil of everyday life. Once that state is achieved, they are more able to prioritise tasks by focusing on the few things that will make the biggest difference. This then brings a new energy and a clarity that simply cannot be achieved when feeling overwhelmed.

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