I’ve just coached the most inspirational woman who had zero confidence at the outset and now feels happy in her own skin and very confident with fire in her belly! She says I’ve changed her life, I said it was all her own work, I only opened the door for her. She told me I was born to coach. She was sceptical about coaching at first until I connected with her and gained her trust (during our first session) and now she feels able to take on the world- wow I love coaching and making a difference, it’s why I’m doing what I’m doing. A day to be thankful for today and another day to look forward to tomorrow:)
I became interested in training and coaching when I was the CEO of a Council for Voluntary Service in the 90s. Many charities are composed solely of volunteers who are ready and willing to help but often lack the skills and knowledge to make a real difference. It is important that people who volunteer their time freely feel valued and needed and feel that they are achieving something for the good of others. I undertook an OU course in Managing Voluntary and Not for profit agencies. Several of the modules were about managing staff, volunteers and yourself. I became interested in what makes people tick, why do they choose to become volunteers and what would help them to enjoy their role more. I undertook a train the trainer course and set up training courses for charities on how to apply for funding, the role and responsibilities of board members, being an advocate, finance for non financial managers to name but a few.
I subsequently became a regeneration manager for a small town and used my networking skills and my outgoing personality to galvanise the community into action. With my guidance and advice, local people set up a food co-op and a credit union and we all felt a massive sense of achievement when we secured a £400k lottery grant to support the ventures. I felt that I needed more management training and undertook an NVQ level 5 and a post grad diploma in ‘Strategic Management’ on qualifying, I was offered the post of ‘Head of Community Engagement’ at a local authority. I did this for a couple of years developing a consultation toolkit for the authority to use and leading a best value review of community engagement.
I then became a children’s centre manager working with really deprived families in an impoverished area of Preston. Parents lacked the confidence and skills to make effective life choices. They wanted to improve their parenting skills and build their self esteem but felt trapped in a cycle of welfare benefits and poverty. I established relationships with training providers to run confidence building sessions and I recognised the importance of counselling in breaking cycles of negativity and challenging behaviour. I employed a qualified counsellor and worked with health professionals to help parents to improve their quality of life.
I ran training sessions to help parents to become volunteers in the children’s centre as a way of gaining confidence and skills to enable them to enter the job market or adult education if they wanted to. I was described by the parents’ forum as a motivational leader, someone who listens and then gets things done or helps others to get things done.
I have become a strong advocate for lifelong learning and decided that I wanted to develop my professional practice and that of my organisation. I therefore enrolled on an MA course in ‘Developing Professional Practice’ which I passed with merit in 2009 gaining my degree at Lancaster University.
As you can see I am a people focussed person and I decided that I wanted to use my extensive skills, experience, knowledge and understanding to help others to achieve their goals in life. I am an experienced trainer, coach, mentor and facilitator and I myself have benefitted from training, mentoring and life coaching.
Running my own company as a life coach and creative trainer has long been an ambition and big desire of mine. I leapt at the chance when it presented itself to set up Aim4Life, my training and coaching company. I help people to set and achieve their goals and make the most of their life by understanding themselves, what pushes their buttons, make them sad, angry, happy; Why they act and react in the way they do. I help companies and organisations to reach their potential by helping their staff build stronger teams, solve problems creatively and become more people focused.
I believe that training should be fun and interactive with a serious learning outcome. If you share my views and want to discuss your training and coaching needs in more detail, then get in touch at www.aim4life.co.uk- choose a new direction for success!
Previously we’ve looked at the type of stress we experience in particular situations such as giving a presentation, with types of events such as interviews or when we don’t have enough hours in the day. Today we’re going to look at managing the stresses we experience when dealing with particular individuals or groups of people. Albrecht calls this ‘encounter stress’. If you remember from parts 1,2 and 3, Dr Albrecht is a management consultant based in California, who is a pioneer in the development of stress-reduction training for business people. He defined four common types of stress in his 1979 book, “Stress and the Manager.”
People stress as the name denotes revolves around people. This happens when you worry about interacting with a certain person or group of people – you may not like them, you might think that they’re unprofessional or that they don’t like you.
People stress can also occur if your role involves a lot of personal interactions with customers or clients, especially if those groups are in distress. For instance, doctors and social workers have high rates of people stress, because the people they work with routinely don’t feel well, or are deeply upset.
This type of stress also occurs from “contact overload”: when you feel overwhelmed or drained from interacting with too many people.
Managing People Stress
You’ll be able to manage this type of stress better by working on your people skills.
A good place to start is to develop greater emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognise your emotions, understand what they’re telling you, and realise how your emotions affect people around you. Emotional intelligence also involves your perception of others: when you understand how they feel, this allows you to manage relationships more effectively.
Goleman,, an American psychologist, developed a framework of five elements that define emotional intelligence:
- Self-Awareness – People with high emotional intelligence are usually very self-aware. They understand their emotions, and because of this, they don’t let their feelings rule them. They’re confident – because they trust their intuition and don’t let their emotions get out of control. They’re also willing to take an honest look at themselves. They know their strengths and weaknesses, and they work on these areas so they can perform better. Many people believe that this self-awareness is the most important part of emotional intelligence.
- Self-Regulation – This is the ability to control emotions and impulses. People who self-regulate typically don’t allow themselves to become too angry or jealous, and they don’t make impulsive, careless decisions. They think before they act and have the ability to say no.
- Motivation – People with a high degree of emotional intelligence are usually motivated. They’re highly productive, love a challenge, and are very effective in whatever they do.
- Empathy – This is perhaps the second-most important element of emotional intelligence. Empathy is the ability to identify with and understand the wants, needs, and viewpoints of those around you. People with empathy are good at recognising the feelings of others, even when those feelings may not be obvious. As a result, empathetic people are usually excellent at managing relationships, listening, and relating to others.
- Social Skills – It’s usually easy to talk to and like people with good social skills, another sign of high emotional intelligence. Those with strong social skills are typically team players. Rather than focus on their own success first, they help others develop and shine. They can manage disputes, are excellent communicators, and are masters at building and maintaining relationships.
Everyone has different symptoms for people stress, a common one is getting cranky, cold, or impersonal with others in your interactions. When you start to experience these symptoms, do whatever you can to take a break. Go for a walk, drink water, and practice deep breathing.
Empathy as mentioned above is a valuable skill for coping with this type of stress, because it allows you to see the situation from the other person’s perspective. This gives you greater understanding and helps you to structure your communications so that you address the other person’s feelings, wants, and needs.
Crankiness and remoteness can also be symptoms of burnout. If you’re an enthusiastic, hard-working, committed person, make sure that you monitor yourself for this, and that you take action to avoid it.
Stress can cause severe health problems and should be taken seriously. You should visit a qualified healthcare professional if you’re concerned that your stress levels are affecting your health.
Life coaching can help you to manage yourself and to manage various types of stress more effectively. Why not get in touch today for your FREE initial consultation session.
In this four part series advice blogs I’m focusing on Dr Karl Albrecht’s four common types of stress. Dr Albrecht is a management consultant and conference speaker based in California, who is a pioneer in the development of stress-reduction training for business people. He defined four common types of stress in his 1979 book, “Stress and the Manager.”
Albrecht’s four common types of stress are:
- Time stress.
- Anticipatory stress.
- Situational stress.
- Encounter stress.
In this blog I’m going to focus on Situational Stress – that is stress that you feel when you’re in a scary situation that you have no control over. This could be an emergency, however more commonly it’s a situation that involves conflict, or a loss of status or acceptance in the eyes of your group. For instance, getting made redundant, giving a presentation or making a major mistake in front of your team are examples of events that can cause situational stress.
Managing Situational Stress
Situational stress often appears suddenly, for example, you might get caught in a situation that you completely failed to anticipate. To manage situational stress better, learn to be more self aware. This means recognising the “automatic” physical and emotional signals that your body sends out when you’re under pressure and learning how to handle them.
For example, imagine that the meeting you’re in suddenly dissolves into a shouting match between team members. Your automatic response is to feel a surge of anxiety. Your stomach knots and your mouth feels dry, you find it hard to breathe. You withdraw into yourself and, if someone asks for your input, you have a difficult time knowing what to say.
Conflict is a major source of situational stress. Learning effective conflict resolution skillswill ensure that you’re well-prepared to handle the stress of conflict when it arises. It’s also important to learn how tomanage conflict at meetings since resolving group conflict can be different from resolving individual issues.
If you are involved in the conflict, emphasize the fact that you are stating your own understanding of the problem. Use active listening skills to ensure you hear and understand other’s positions and perceptions.
And make sure that when you talk, you’re using an assertive approach rather than a submissive or aggressive style.
Look at things from the other person’s perspective
Try to get to the underlying interests, needs, and concerns. Ask for the other person’s viewpoint and confirm that you respect his or her opinion and need his or her cooperation to solve the problem.
Try to understand the conflict in objective terms: Is it affecting work performance? damaging the delivery to the client? disrupting team work? hampering decision-making? or so on. Be sure to focus on work issues and leave personalities out of the discussion.
- Listen with empathy and see the conflict from the other person’s point of view.
- Identify issues clearly and concisely.
- Use “I” statements.
- Remain flexible.
- Clarify feelings.
Agree what the Problem is
Sometimes different people will see different but related problems – if you can’t reach a common perception of the problem, then at the very least, you need to understand what the other person sees as the problem.
Look for Possible Solutions
If everyone is going to feel satisfied with the resolution, it will help if everyone has had fair input in generating solutions. Brainstorm possible solutions, and be open to all ideas, including ones you never considered before.
Negotiate a Solution
By this stage, the conflict may be resolved: Both sides may better understand the position of the other, and a mutually satisfactory solution may be clear to all. If not then negotiation is key.
There are three guiding principles here: Be Calm, Be Patient, Have Respect and negotiate a solution which may involve compromise.
Reactions to Situational Stress
Everyone reacts to situational stress differently, and it’s essential that you understand both the physical and emotional symptoms of this stress, so that you can manage them appropriately. For instance, if your natural tendency is to withdraw emotionally, then learn how to think on your feet and communicate better during these situations. If your natural response is to get angry and shout, then learn how to manage your emotions -I’ll explain more about how to think on your feet and manage your emotions in one of my future blogs.
If some situations make you to feel anxious then read my blog about stress management techniques at www.aim4life.co.uk
Next time we’ll focus on Encounter Stress. Till then embrace your challenges with positive thinking and try to see things from other people’s perspectives.
In my last blog I talked about Dr Karl Albrecht, a management consultant and conference speaker based in California, who is a pioneer in the development of stress-reduction training for business people. He defined four common types of stress in his 1979 book, “Stress and the Manager.”
Albrecht’s four common types of stress are:
- Time stress.
- Anticipatory stress.
- Situational stress.
- Encounter stress.
In this blog I’m going to focus on Anticipatory Stress – that is stress that you feel when you know something is going to happen in the future and you worry yourself to death about it, for example sitting an exam, having a job interview or giving a presentation. You sweat, have shallow breathing, can’t sleep or eat properly, feel sick and panicky.
It can also can also be vague such as an overall sense of dread about the future, or a worry that “something will go wrong.” We all know that if things are going great in our lives we tend to worry that something is bound to go wrong and we worry about what that might be.
Managing Anticipatory Stress
Because anticipatory stress is focused on the future you need to start to deal with it by recognizing that the event you’re dreading doesn’t have to play out as you imagine. For example if you are worried about a job interview, use positive visualisation to imagine the situation going well. Close your eyes and take yourself through the interview step by step. In your visualisation make yourself confident and well prepared. Imagine that you have the answers to all the questions and that you wow the panel so much they offer you the job. Make sure you prepare well, hope for the best and expect the worst.
Research shows that your mind often can’t tell the difference, on a basic neurological level, between a situation that you’ve visualized going well repeatedly and one that’s actually happened.
Other techniques – like deep breathing and meditation – will help you develop focus and the ability to concentrate on what’s happening right now, rather than on an imagined future. Consider setting aside time daily – even if it’s only five minutes – to meditate.
Anticipatory stress can result from a lack of confidence. For example, you might be stressing over a presentation that you’re giving next week, because you’re afraid that your presentation won’t be interesting. Often, addressing these personal fears directly will lower your stress. If you practice and prepare for tough questions, you’ll likely feel more prepared for the event. If you lack confidence and self esteem, life coaching could be a great help.
It is also really helpful if you learn how to overcome your fear of failure by making contingency plans and analyzing all of the possible outcomes. This way you’ll get a clearer idea of what could happen in the future. This can help diminish your fear of failure and give you a greater sense of control over events. So think about what could be the outcome if the worst thing you could imagine, actually did happen, then plan for it. It is very unlikely to happen but if it does, you’ll be ready!
Next time in part 3, I’ll explain about situational stress. Meanwhile relax, breathe deeply and enjoy being in the now.
Did you know that people in Britain work the longest hours in Europe clocking up an average of 40 days a year in unpaid overtime? This is usually time spent just trying to catch up on the backlog of work piling up around us.
The NHS recognises that long hours and a heavy workload can cause stress and a survey they undertook in 2008/09 showed that nearly half a million people in the UK reported work-related stress at a level they believed was making them ill.
Psychological problems, including stress, anxiety and depression, are the underlying reason for one in five GP visits, with anxiety disorders affecting one in 25 people! There are loads of us about!
Some pressure at work can be motivating, but when the pressures or demands become excessive it can lead to work-related stress.
Stress is “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other demands placed on them”, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The Four Common Types of Stress
Dr Karl Albrecht, a management consultant and conference speaker based in California, is a pioneer in the development of stress-reduction training for businesspeople. He defined four common types of stress in his 1979 book, “Stress and the Manager.”
Albrecht’s four common types of stress are:
- Time stress.
- Anticipatory stress.
- Situational stress.
- Encounter stress.
Over the next couple of months we’ll take a closer look at each type of stress and look at how you can identify it. I’ll give you some tools you can use to deal with it.
This week we’ll look at Time Stress in more detail.
You experience time stress when you worry about the number of things that you have to do, and you fear that you’ll fail to achieve something important. You might feel trapped, unhappy, or even hopeless.
Common examples of time stress include worrying about deadlines or rushing to avoid being late for a meeting.
Here are a few things you can do to start to manage your time more effectively:
To start managing time effectively, you need to set goals. When you know where you’re going, you can then figure out what exactly needs to be done, in what order. Without proper goal setting, you’ll fritter your time away on a confusion of conflicting priorities.
Prioritising what needs to be done is especially important. Without it, you may work very hard, but you won’t be achieving the results you desire because what you are working on is not of strategic importance.
Most people have a “to-do” list of some sort. The problem with many of these lists is they are just a collection of things that need to get done. There is no rhyme or reason to the list and, because of this, the work they do is just as unstructured. So how do you work on To Do List tasks – top down, bottom up, easiest to hardest?
To work efficiently you need to work on the most important, highest value tasks. This way you won’t get caught scrambling to get something critical done as the deadline approaches. I’ll explain more about how to prioritise in a future blog. Life coaching sessions can help you to do this.
Practise the 4 Ds
We can spend up to half our working day going through our email inbox, making us tired, frustrated and unproductive. A study has found that one in three office workers suffer from e-mail stress.
Making a decision the first time you open an email is crucial for effective time management. To manage this burden effectiively, practise the 4 Ds of decision-making:
- Delete: half of the emails you get can probably be deleted immediately.
- Do: if the email is urgent or can be completed quickly.
- Delegate: if the email can be better dealt with by someone else.
- Defer: set aside time at a later date to spend on emails that require longer action.
Set yourself a goal to put some of the above into practice. I’ll be back with details of how to tackle other types of stress, until then take care of yourself. See www.aim4life.co.uk and book your free coaching consultation today!
In part one of this blog we looked at the question:
what is stress? We looked at thoughts, feelings and behaviours associated with anxiety and stress.
Part 2 looks at the causes and ways to tackle stress to improve your well being.
Life events can cause stress?
Some things that happen in your life can be stressful particularly life changes. Look through the following list. If one or more of the following events has happened in your life during the past 12 months you will probably be more likely to experience greater levels stress.
- Divorce or relationship breakdown
- Death of close family member or friend
- Moving house
- Getting married
- Losing your job
- Health problems
- Starting a new job
- Big financial commitments
- Serious debts
- Major changes at work
Is there a type of person who is more likely to experience stress?
Studies have shown that some people are more likely to experience
stress than others. These people are known as ‘type A‘ personalities.
They tend to be more competitive and impatient and have tight time
schedules compared to ‘type B‘ personalities who are more relaxed
and ‘laid back‘ in their style. If you would like to know which type you
are see which list you fit into:
If you have more charecteristics from the A list then you will be more prone to
stress, if both As and Bs then you are a little prone to stress, if mainly
Bs then you are less likely to suffer from stress!
Those people who are more prone to stress may have to try harder to use some of the stress management techniques suggested here to tackle their natural tendency to stress.
- Must get things finished
- Never late for appointments
- Can’t listen to conversations
- interrupt, finish sentences for others
- Always in a hurry
- Don’t like to wait
- Very busy at full speed
- Trying to do more than one thing at a time
- Want everything perfect
- Do everything fast
- Hold feelings in
- Not satisfied with work/life
- Few social activities/interests/friends
- Don’t mind leaving things unfinished for a while
- Calm and unhurried about appointments
- Not competitive
- Can listen and let the other person finish speaking
- Never in a hurry even when busy
- Can wait calmly
- Easy going
- Don’t mind things not being quite perfect
- Express feelings
- Quite satisfied with work/life
- Many social activities/interests/friends
How can I help myself to cope with stress?
Studies have told us that the first step in tackling stress is to become aware that it is a problem for you. The next stage is to make a plan to take control of the causes and effects of stress. Here are some practical ways to take control of stress.
Holiday – try to plan at least one short break each year with a change in activities and surrounding.
Open up – if your relationship is part of the problem, communication is very important.
Work – is that the problem? What are your options? Could you retrain? What aspects are stressful? Could you delegate? Could you get more support?
Try to concentrate on the present. Don’t dwell on the past or future.
Own up to yourself that you are feeling stressed – half the battle is admitting it!
Be realistic about what you can achieve. Don’t take too much on.
Eat a balanced diet. Eat slowly and sit down at a table
Action plans – try to write down the problems in your life that may be causing stress, and as many possible solutions as you can. Make plan to deal with each problem.
Time management – plan your time and don’t make too many changes at once in your life.
Set yourself a goal – if you could only do one thing, what would it be?
Talk things over with a friend or family member or someone else you can trust and share your feelings with.
Relaxation or leisure time each day is important. Try new ways to relax such as aromatherapy, reflexology or yoga. Learn some relaxation exercises.
Exercise regularly – at least 20 minutes two or three times a week. This is excellent for stress control. Walking is good – appreciate the countryside.
Say no and don’t feel guilty.
Seek professional help if you have tried these things and stress is still a problem.
What further help is available?
Sometimes a good source of help is to talk to family or close friends, but there are also other ways you may get help.
Life coaching can offer advice and support to help you to make positive life choices and develop a plan to help you achieve your goals. Contact Julie at www.aim4life.co.uk
Your family doctor is probably the best person to discuss your difficulties with if you are feeling very depressed and unable to cope. He/she can prescribe medication; refer you to a trained counsellor or the community mental health team.
What is stress?
Here are the thoughts of some people who are experiencing stress.
“I just don’t get a task finished any more before I move on to the next thing. I keep forgetting where I’m up to;
I have 20 things on the go at once and I’m not getting anywhere with any of them …
I keep meaning to get a little time for myself but I never manage to.
Someone always asks me to help out and I never have the heart to say no, but I end up feeling really tired and irritable …
It just seems to be one crisis after the next in my life. I’ve got a constant headache and stomach problems, I keep expecting something else to go wrong, I’m at the end of my tether …”
Is this you?
Stress is the word that many people use when they are describing how the demands of their life seem to be becoming too great for them to cope with. This ability to cope varies from person to person and what one person finds stressful may not be a problem for another. Whilst many of us suffer with stress and anxiety at times in our day to day lives, long term stress is known to be bad for our health and many of us would like to find ways to gain some control over it.
What are the signs of stress?
The signs of stress vary from person to person but here are some of the most common ones.
Do you recognise any of these in yourself?
Physical signs and sensations:
- Muscle tension or pain
- Sleep disturbance
- Stomach problems
- Feeling dizzy
- Breathlessness or palpitations
- Sexual problems
- Feeling irritable
- Feeling anxious or tense
- Feeling low in self esteem
- Feeling miserable
- Temper outbursts
- Drinking or smoking too much
- Changes in eating habits
- Withdrawing from usual activities
- Becoming unreasonable
- Being forgetful or clumsy
- Rushing around
- loss of self confidence
- Forgetting things
- Making mistakes
- Becoming indecisive
- Getting muddles or confused
- Thinking the worst
If you have some of these signs, you may be experiencing stress. These are some of the short term signsthat affect your well being but long term health risks from stress are serious and include heart disease, high blood pressure, severe depression, stroke, migraine, severe anxiety, asthma, low resistance to infection, bowel problems, stomach problems especially ulcers, fatigue and sleep problems.
Part 2 of this blog will tell you ways of coping with and overcoming stress in your life. Look out for it next week.
Life coaching can help you find ways to deal with the stress and anxiety that create barriers to you leading the life you want and achieving your dreams and aspirations. For more information contact Julie at www.aim4life.co.uk
Life coaching for young people - A positive self image part 2
Things that you can do to help your child develop a positive self image:
- Praise your child in a meaningful way – do not go over the top but praise good effort and skills. Ensure that school also gives positive encouragement as much as possible.
- Show that you value and care about your child’s news and feelings, make time to listen every day to what has happened in their day.
- Tell your child that you love and are proud of them frequently.
- Allow your child to make choices and to take responsibilities at home – this could involve choosing their own clothes to wear, having small jobs to do such as laying the table, tidying away, feeding the pets, tidying their rooms. It is vital that they know they are an important and useful member of the family.
- Ensure that your child has access to group activities where he/she is encouraged to take turns and cooperate.
- Encourage your child to give and receive compliments.
- Help to develop your child’s empathy i.e. Awareness of other’s feelings.
- Encourage your child to join in new games and activities but ensure that these are ones that you know your child will have success in.
- Encourage your child to highlight and identify good qualities in themselves and those around them.
- Give positive criticism. For example rather than saying “your room looks like a pig sty” try saying, “it would be good if you could tidy up the floor while I make the bed.’
If you spend time playing, talking and listening to your child and give them plenty of attention and praise, they will develop a positive self image and become a rounded happy individual. Coaching especially designed for young people can help, please see my website www.aim4life.co.uk for more details
The importance of a positive self image!
A good self image is very important not only for good self-esteem but also for learning and the development of basic skills. A positive self image allows children to cope in a variety of social situations, be able to form relationships with ease, respond positively to constructive criticism and cope with change. It is important that every child develops a positive self image to ensure that they have the self confidence to cope with adult life.
What is a positive self-image?
There are a number of things which contribute to a child’s positive self image. These include:
- feeling good about yourself
- liking yourself
- feeling loved/valued
- thinking others like you
- thinking that you look good
- feeling you have a good relationship with others
- feeling happy
- not worrying about what others think of you
- feeling positive about life and knowing that you are as good as everyone else
The right environment
Children who have a poor self image may lack confidence, feel worthless and useless. As a consequence they may exhibit defensive and aggressive behaviour towards others. They are generally caught up in a cycle of negative thinking which can appear impossible to break free from.
Why don’t you help your child to develop a positive self image by arranging social situations in which your child can experience success? If your child for example has difficulty making friends, invite a friend (or someone your child quite likes) over and organise their time together. Make sure there are a number of different things for them to do. This could involve playing games you know your child is good at, cooking together, having a treasure hunt, making things, playing in the garden or taking them out such as to the cinema, a meal or swimming. If your child has difficulty talking to others help in the conversation by asking questions which involve more than just one-word answers.
Life coaching designed especially for young people can help you to help your child feel better about themselves. For more information visit my website www.aim4life.co.uk