A Case for Executive Coaching:
There has always been a huge amount of waste in America. Heck, we have made a fine art of wasting our resources, but the catastrophic effect of wasting our time, our money, our energy, and our health on our lack of positive attention to the excessive stress in our lives is mind boggling stupid!
If we could avoid accidents and focus better on present assignments, we could save a huge amount of time and energy. This will save us money and improve our productivity… A very simple concept, but an easily ignored solution to our huge problem of wasted resources.
An executive vice president of a large financial institution was referred to me for Executive Coaching. He was actually sent by his physician because he was challenged by high blood pressure and GI complaints as a habituated response to his daily work stress. Let’s call him Bob. Bob was very successful and in his mid 50’s. He admitted that his real motivation in seeking coaching was that he was suffering from “Burn-out.” We decided to help him to manage his stress related symptoms because these “distractions” were keeping from enjoying his work. I gave him background information regarding the physiology of stress to help explain how and why the stress response manifests in physical or emotional symptoms. I also explained that stress wastes his time, uses up his energy, and creates distractions that can lead to wasteful mistakes. Bob agreed to listen to some guided relaxation CD’s that would teach him to control his habit of holding stress in his circulatory system and GI tract.
We met once a week to check in and to upgrade his stress management strategy. There was a huge struggle in the first few weeks because Bob could not “find time” to listen to the 20 minutes guided relaxations. At our fourth session, I “fired” Bob. I explained that it was a waste of our time and his money to continue this work if he was not going to follow through. (Note: the understanding of the theory of stress and stress management is almost never enough… one actually needs to practice stress management to master it to get the best results.) Bob had never been “Fired” from anything and he pleaded with me to give him one more chance… He figured out a way to use the CD before work. In two weeks he returned with a positive response. It was not that his blood pressure had dropped, because that requires 8-12 weeks of regular practice for most people. Bob said his GI complaints were a little bit better. But, Bob’s biggest revelation was that in 2 weeks of practice he could get his 8 hours of work done in 6.5 hours and this freed time to work on “back burner” projects (that were more interesting to him.) He was getting more done in less time AND having more fun! His “burn out” (due to overwhelm) was slipping away. Bob was sold on this stress management process because he was feeling better and being more productive. He realized how much time and energy he had been wasting!
Bob’s story is far from unique. I have heard this hundreds of times. Americans have a difficult time “sitting still” and resist practicing stress management to prevent problems or to improve their quality of life. If you found the “right” stress management technique, one that will work for you, the practice will free up your time, energy, and improve your focus. Research indicates that 20 minutes of deep relaxation can re-place the need of up to 2 hours of sleep. The sleep that you do get will be deeper and more restful. That is another huge problem for Americans, we do not get enough quality sleep/rest and our health and productivity suffers.
If you could feel better, save time, improve your productivity and focus, and have more energy would you spend 20 minutes of your valuable time practicing stress management? Stress management can even help to slow the aging process and may help you from the eating habits that make you gain weight.
Getting trained or coached in stress management is not expensive. The skills you will learn will last a life time and may prevent, or reduce, the need for costly medications. You might be able to minimize, if not eliminate, stress related symptoms that impair the quality of your life and negatively affect your productivity.
My challenge to you after reading this article, will you get up and do something to manage your stress or will you just stick your head in the sand and re-enter your state of denial??? Effective stress management often includes a combination of regular relaxation (or meditation,) some physical exercise, and a decent diet that avoids caffeine… Also remember that alcohol, medication, or drugs are not good long term solutions for stress management.
Please take good care of yourself.
L. John Mason, Ph.D. is the country’s leading expert on stress management and the author of the best selling “Guide to Stress Reduction.” Since 1977, he has offered Success & Executive Coaching and Training.
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