A-Head for Success

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Working From Home

Several people have spoken to me about the challenge they have in working from home.  There are those for whom this is a real boon and boosts their productivity.  But there are those for whom it is something close to a living nightmare.  Starving for connection and distraction, the thought of hunkering down, isolated, can feel very difficult indeed.

I do hope these tips help you, whatever your situation.  It’s a fairly long post because I wanted to cover off as much of the common working-from-home problems as possible.  You may want to skip to sections relevant to you, or read through the whole thing.  It should only take a few minutes.

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How Stress Resilience Helps Performance

Stress resilience

We already know that stress can have a negative impact on performance in a number of ways:

  • Poor decision making
  • More errors made
  • Increase in irritability and therefore conflict
  • Impact on teamwork
  • Increase in absenteeism and presenteeism
  • Negative effect on customer satisfaction
  • Risk of burnout or breakdown of your most valuable resource

All create a negative domino effect.

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Stress and Performance

Stress and Performance

Many of the people I coach say that they have too much stress.  For some it is the reason they come for coaching.  For others it is a consequence of what else is going on for them.  And then there are others, who come to me because they are wondering “is this it?”:  often a euphemism for boredom or feeling unfulfilled.

But there are three levels of stress which affect performance and I wanted to share them with you.

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5 Dimensions for Success with Less Stress

5-Dimensions-for-Success-with-Less-Stress

5 Dimensional Coaching

As we enter a new year, most of us will have thoughts about what it will take to make it a success.  We will doubtless make huge commitments to ourselves and our businesses to make it a good year.  But it’s stressful being successful.  My A-HEAD for Success 5 Dimensional Coaching ® program is designed to make it less so.  In this article I wanted to share with you the 5 Dimensions and then in future articles I will go into them in more detail.

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Stress: Avoidance, Cure or Prevention?

Stress prevention - don't trust to luck

Avoidance of Stress

When it comes to stress, avoidance is the best strategy, isn’t it?  Not really.

It is almost impossible to avoid stress – it’s a natural part of life.  Especially in our VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous).  Obviously, we don’t want any more stress than is necessary but in order to avoid it, one or more of the following are probably true:

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Stress Resilience in a Chaotic World

Chaotic World

Our world is not just chaotic, it is volatile, it is ambiguous, it is uncertain.  Now, more than ever with Brexit an ever-present uncertainty in our lives; always-on technology; social media and press reminding us at the perfection we need to attain and the happiness we need to feel; having to achieve more with fewer resources; the rate of change; reliance on technology which changes without warning and technology breaking down when you have a deadline to meet, it’s hardly surprising stress levels are so high. You can’t even watch the news without seeing other news relayed to you in text below the main story.  It is relentless.

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Your Stress at Work

stress at work

The Your Stress at Work Survey has been completed and it has some interesting insights I wanted to share with you.

It seems that stress has reached epidemic proportions, and the impact on individuals at work has been significant.  The main themes are given below.  So, grab a coffee (or chamomile tea) and read on.

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What is Integrative Coaching?

Integrative CoachingCoaching is a wonderful tool for those who care about getting results with more ease:  it helps you achieve your goals by creating practical action plans, using tools and techniques to help achieve them and helping you to build skills to facilitate the change you seek.

Integrative Coaching does the same but it goes deeper, if required.  Because sometimes there is a reason that goal achievement is elusive, or perhaps challenging.  Integrative Coaching looks at what is blocking you.  Unless the blocks are removed, problems will recur, especially in times of challenge.  Integrative Coaching, a more sustainable approach, will look at the psychological blocks, the biological ones (tired all the time is a common factor), the emotional ones (stress and anxiety for example) plus more.

Author Philippe Rosinski says it is “… a holistic approach that calls upon multiple interconnected perspectives to facilitate the unleashing of human potential towards meaningful pursuits … from the physical to the spiritual.”  In the A-HEAD for Success terms, spiritual is all about purpose and meaning.  When you are aware of and completely aligned to that, everything else becomes easier and clearer.

Three Levels of Integrative Coaching

Integrative Coaching is at the forefront of The A-HEAD for Success 5D Coaching Model ™ which helps provide three levels of integrative coaching through the 5 Dimensions (Clarity, Skillset, Mindset, Stress-Resilience, Health and Energy).  Of course we only work at the level of need but the process helps identify the need which is different for everyone.

  1. Integrating a variety of approaches tailored to suit your specific needs
  2. Integrating mind and body. A good example is that a client may present with any number of physical symptoms.  For example: exhaustion  (my latest book explains how complicated this condition is and why the integrative approach is so important), insomnia, headaches or Irritable Bowel Syndrome to name a few.  Though there may be physical causes to these, there may also be emotional and lifestyle factors involved.  Stress is very often a factor in IBS so we deal with it from a multifaceted perspective.
  3. Integrating parts of the self. This deals with self-sabotage which may be impacting performance, health, relationships and more.  So we address this internal conflict:  if you feel that you have your foot on the breaks and the accelerator at the same time, self-sabotage may very well be at play, but it is often subconscious so you need to work with an expert to deal with it.

Conventional coaching tends to be somewhat formulaic and will not always address the finer details which can so impact on us.  Integrative Coaching helps address the complexity of what it means to be a functioning person in a dynamic world.

Want to know how it might help you?  Call me, Tricia Woolfrey, on 0345 130 0854 to find out more.  Calls are no-obligation and completely confidential.

© Tricia Woolfrey

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Sources of Negative Stress: Poor Working Relationships

Help for poor working relationshipsThey say that you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family.  What about work colleagues?  When it comes to poor working relationships, for the most part we are either stuck with them or we find another job.

The longer we put up with it the worse it can be and the higher our stress levels.  So, what to do about it?  The causes can vary widely from problems at home, to differences in communication style and many more.  This is such a broad subject – worthy of a book of its own – but a simple strategy can help:

1. Understand driving values

A good starting point is to look at the motivations/values of the person you are having difficulty with.  When you understand where they are coming from it makes it easier to communicate with them.  I was working with one client whose values included getting things right, whereas his colleague’s was all about being on time.  They often had rows about the quality of things before release.  It wasn’t even that one didn’t respect timing or the other quality, it was the driving value which got in the way.  More about this later.

2. Find common ground

Though there may be much you disagree on, there will also be common ground.  Build on this and everything becomes that bit easier.  In the case above, the common ground was that they wanted to be perceived as doing the right thing for their boss, they just disagreed on what the right thing was:  to be on time or be perfect.

3. Take the pressure off

Remember that you aren’t there to like each other but to produce a result.  Of course it’s always easier if you can get along but the acknowledgement that you don’t have to like the other person can take the pressure off.  Conflict can turn into respect which can turn into collaboration.

4. Choose your style

The following image helps you to decide whether it is important for you to compete, collaborate, avoid, accommodate or compromise.   This is essential when considering your working relationships Each requiring differing levels of assertiveness and co-operativeness.  Each have a role to play but you need to think very carefully before competing, avoiding or accommodating as these can have negative consequences even though they may at times seem like the easiest option.

 

For example, accommodating someone who doesn’t listen to your needs simply teaches them to ignore your needs in the future causing deepening resentment.  On the other hand, it can be helpful to build goodwill.  It is all a balancing what you are giving up versus what you are gaining and simply choosing your default mode can build problems instead of neutralise them.  It helps to be more strategic than reactive.

Apologies but I am not sure of the source of this graphic so thank you, whoever you are!

For the most part, collaborating and compromise are the best way.  It certainly was in the case I described above but they were treating the situation as a competition.  As it happened, quality was much less important than timeliness in this case.  But sometimes it is the other way round.  And at other times it may be a little bit late and a little less perfect.  It is about understanding the bigger picture.  But often we get engrossed in our own perspective and lose sight of what’s really important.

Need more help to improve poor working relationships?

Working relationships are so important to achieving more success with less stress and I do hope that the above go some way towards improving yours.  If you do need additional support on this complex issue, why not call to find out how.  I can be reached on 0345 130 0854.

I also run courses on Influencing Skills where we cover this.  Let me know if you are interested.

 

(c) Tricia Woolfrey

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Source of Negative Stress: Regrets

Stress and regretIt’s hard not to get through life without a sense of regret:  something you did which you shouldn’t have done; something you didn’t do which you should have.  We’ve all had those moments.  And of course sometimes there are consequences which could not be foreseen and for which we chastise ourselves nevertheless.

The repercussions can be subtle or profound.  But, internally, guilt or shame can be uncomfortable consequences.  And it can really impact your stress levels.

What do you regret?

  • Not putting enough effort in
  • Not thinking through possible consequences of a decision
  • Not planning contingencies in case things don’t go well
  • Not being honest enough
  • Not being diplomatic enough
  • Not being good enough
  • Something else?

The list goes on.  But, what’s important to know is that the past is irretrievable.  The present is all there is because the future hasn’t happened yet.

So, what to do?  First of all, understand the difference between guilt and shame.

The difference between guilt and shame

Guilt is the concept that you did something bad; shame is the concept that you are bad.  One is about behaviour, the other is about identity.  Too often we let shame be our judge and shame is a destructive emotion which belittles, dishonours and disconnects.   It certainly skews perspective and can paralyse.

Remedial action

Where possible to take remedial action:

  1. Correct the mistake.
  2. Make a sincere apology. Never underestimate the effect of this.  An apology takes humility and courage.  Done well, it can build bridges and restore – and even create – trust.  Certainly for me, if I have experienced very bad customer service, my faith is not only restored if I have received a heartfelt apology but actually I can become fiercely loyal to someone who has had the integrity to apologise:  it is such a rare trait.
  3. Learn from your mistake. I like to think of not letting anything be wasted:  the problem is wasted if you do not learn and grow from it.  What is the lesson in this?  How can you avoid this happening again, without shrinking into obscurity?  Remember that the only way you don’t make mistakes is if you don’t achieve anything.  And that’s a whole different level of mistake:  opportunities lost, potential unfulfilled and even more stress.

Yes, regret can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to define you.

If you are stuck in regret and need additional help, do call me on 0345 130 0854.  You don’t have to do this alone.

 

© Tricia Woolfrey

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