Escape the Misery at Work Through Coaching
What's Wrong With Work?
As readers of my Working World Newsletter will
know (sign up here), 60% of us don't
like our jobs, and dread the arrival of Mondays and the weekday
alarm clock rousing. That's a real shame considering most of us
spend nearly half our
What's not to like?
Well, the thousands
of you who have already completed my online survey tell
me that it's stress, overwork, boredom, burnout, colleagues
like, bosses we don't like, lack of progress, low pay, meaningless-waste-of-a-life
- all that stuff.
If you want to make massive progress quickly, then personal coaching is the way to go. With just a few sessions you can radically change your experience of your life at work, and others will notice it too.
Why Would Your Company Pay?
And the good news is that you may even be able to get your employer to pay for your coaching! Why would they do that?
When staff receive coaching,
a happier, more productive,
more creative, appreciative, more flexible, can-do workforce.
Resentments, bitching, back-biting, jobs-worth attitudes slip away.
Managers no longer crack the whip.
Staff independently WANT to make things better - faster, cheaper, more efficient - and that's what the company wants too - you all work on the same side.
Work Coaching Practicalities
Coaching by phone from work is a really great way to get better at work. You call from the office (or somewhere more private if that's appropriate. You book a slot to suit you during the working day. We work usually weekly, and each session runs for 45 minutes. Our sessions are confidential, and if you are paying - it's as simple as that.
If your company pays then your boss may submit a brief to me, explaining what they want us to accomplish. I will share that brief with you. I will not share the contents of our sessions with your boss - they remain confidential between us.
Clearly, your company will want to see some benefit for the money they are investing in you, and that is the extent of my accountability. I expect them to be very pleased with their investment as they see a happier, more productive employee emerging from the coaching sessions.
Here are some examples from my case files, showing how personal coaching can radically improve your life at work.
Bethany "hated her job". It held no interest for her at all, though she'd been doing it for six years. She was doing the bare minimum to get by, but this lead to a backlog which was causing her increasing stress and raising a few eyebrows.
We looked at Bethany's attitude to work. Why was she bored yet also struggling to do as little as possible?
We looked at the detail. It wasn't exactly the job she hated. The tasks themselves were comfortable and moderately rewarding, but there was an atmosphere of boredom and it's-all-pointless around which made everything grim.
Where did that atmosphere come from? Bethany took a while to work out that it actually came from two colleagues who sat near her. They spoke during the day - exchanging victim talk. During breaks and lunch they would lament their lot, and Bethany would get sucked in. Over time, she had absorbed the same negative pessimism as her two colleagues, and was now as negative as they were.
Bethany had not understood any of this before coaching - she just felt she really hated her job.
Having understood what went wrong, we were able to work on correcting it. Bethany decided she should take breaks with different people for a start - to stop the constant re-infection. We worked on re-assessing each of the tasks she was asked to do when isolated from the attitude pollution. She decided that the lowest scored 4/10 and she did that rarely; most of the others scored between 5 ("OK") and 7 ("Pleasant") - and a few scored higher.
We also re-connected Bethany with her own internal values. Honesty, fairness, making things better. She realised her work performance was not currently aligned with her own values and that conflict itself made her miserable at work. Recognising this made the way clear. She would do a bang-up job, clear the backlog, and get back on top, and like it.
The change was noticed, and she liked that too. Things went from strength to strength, and Bethany was promoted to supervisor.
Geoff has been working in an office of 20 people for three years, and he feels he is constantly overlooked and under-valued. He's thinking of leaving.
It's natural for humans to focus on the problem - on what we hate. We'll go over it repeatedly "it's not fair! I work harder than anyone!".
What is not natural - but far more useful - is to become goal oriented. So my first step with Geoff was to ask him what he wanted. He blurted out a salary number at first, but when we explored further it was more subtle than that. He wanted parity with certain other named colleagues, and he wanted to feel valued, and to feel that he was going somewhere. We also teased out what "going somewhere" meant for him, and it meant that he could believe he would be given raises which reflect his contribution, that he was learning and growing at work, and that he would be given more responsibility over the next year or so.
See how much more useful this goal statement is than the problem statement? It stirs up positivity and excitement, and it also hints at strategies to get to the goals.
We identified the decision makers. Geoff's boss, but also other bosses, and other key influencers - people whose views were respected. Then we looked at Geoff's target colleagues and analysed how they appeared to the outside world; at what they did which made them high-profile and well-paid.
Geoff choked down some hard lessons with good grace. We found he had an entitlement mentality which we needed to remove. What is valuable in business is results - and not effort. That's a hard one to swallow. So delivering results become our focus, and this changed Geoff's mind set completely. He had to take total responsibility for making stuff happen - very different from his earlier "give it a little push and then wait for help" approach.
I helped Geoff maintain his self-esteem through this rough patch, but after a while, as real personal results came in for him, Geoff suddenly "got it", and he loved it.
His whole sense of who he was and his place in the world changed. He could do real valuable things and people would notice him for it, and reward him for it.
We decided he should ask for personal development training in several areas, which he got. Meanwhile, we worked together on his personal effectiveness - particularly time management and strategic thinking.
Another key piece in the puzzle was Geoff's communication style. To some extent this had been driven by his entitlement mentality and his sense of personal failure; it was laced with defeatism, sniping and immature behaviours which would not tag him for success at work. When we changed his self-image, a lot of this dropped away, and we were able to find other things he could do to improve his appeal. We coupled this with networking - focusing on the key influencers we identified earlier.
Geoff blossomed as an employee but also as a human being - living in a new world of personal accomplishment and ambitions.
Kim is 29 and earns great money in insurance. She is good at her job and finds she can easily meet her work commitments, allowing lots of time for relaxing at work. So she has it all, and hates it.
Kim came to me originally to find promotion, but as we explored her world I saw the signs of something else. She didn't seem really serious about doing what it took to get promoted and said a few things which gave me cause to explore further. So I gave her an exercise to explore her values and it became clear to both of us that Kim would never find fulfillment in her career.
Her pursuit of promotion was really about finding a way out of the current job, with no reason to think the new job would be better except for the money and power we often imagine will paper over most of what's wrong.
Kim was intrigued, but also angry and afraid. Angry - because we now knew that promotion was not a solution, and afraid - because she now had no ideas for a workable plan to escape her current job. Her financial commitments were considerable and she was not ready for massive down-shifting, should her sizeable salary disappear.
Despair began to creep in, but I worked with Kim to keep her emotions in check and her intellect switched on. We'd changed nothing out there in the world - we'd just understood it better than ever before, which is always, ultimately a good thing.
We developed a two-pronged strategy for Kim.
The TACTICAL plan explored ways to alleviate the poor fit Kim endured in her job. We found which key factors caused the misery and found ways to alleviate or even remove them.
The STRATEGIC plan looked at finding out where Kim's bright new future lay. This was a long-term plan, involving a variety of exercises and research designed to put her on the right track to her life's purpose.
Kim is still with me. Our tactical plan is delivering major benefits which Kim is amazed to see. Because of her increased comfort she no longer has a burning urge to get up or get out, but she does still feel that this career line will never deliver her the kind of fulfillment she deserves.
From this far more stable working life, she is content to walk the long and difficult path to finding her true calling, and we already have some hints about what that might be.
I hope these examples give you a clear idea of how coaching at work delivers major benefits in a wide variety of situations and for all kinds of employee. Whatever's wrong in the workplace, coaching can make it better.
If you'd like to get yourself a turbo-boost at work, just contact me to set up some coaching.
If you'd like an informal chat to discuss your situation,
contact me to set it up.
If you'd like to see if your boss or your company might
like to finance some performance coaching at work for you, why not email
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