Amber’s nightmare would begin each day with the alarm clock. She would wake up dreading another day of high-pressured stress at the office where her boss would move the goalposts daily. Amber never knew when performance feedback would be given, and when it was, she had learned to expect that it would be personal, judgmental and threatening. Every day she left the office feeling drained and weighed down by persistent self-doubt.
Amber was a determined and talented woman. She had ambitions to rise in her organization, and to do it without risking burnout. However, her boss’s impulsive management style and lack of a consistent vision resulted in a daily stew of new obstacles and high expectations for Amber. Growth and upward momentum were very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve under these circumstances.
At one point, a close friend noticed Amber’s elevated stress, self-doubt and fatigue.
Amber was reluctant, however, as in her mind, coaching meant acknowledging failure.
She told her friend she wasn’t ready, preferring to tough it out despite being plagued by overthinking and sleepless nights. But when she found herself crying at work, agonizing over decisions and losing her temper with staff, Amber decided to give coaching a try. She conceded to herself that she had been in this situation before and recognized she might be in a pattern of her own making.
Patterns Revealed by Coaching
Coaching opened the door to identifying this pattern, which was directly increasing Amber’s stress. It quickly became clear to her that her default was to make decisions based purely on logic, cutting out her emotions and inner knowing. The results were policies that gave her the opposite of what she wanted to achieve in the first place. Her staff was becoming more dependent on her, not less.
When they did not agree with her, Amber would become angry with herself and then retreat. Becoming quiet and withdrawn did not reduce her stress. Instead, she was alone with her feelings of failure and her staff’s anger.
Amber also courageously acknowledged that she needed validation from her boss and colleagues. But the blame-and-shame environment of her workplace did not have a culture of validation.
Eventually, Amber saw that her stressful work environment was spilling over into her personal life. Her relationship with her family was suffering too and she was not enjoying her children despite the fact that she loved them deeply.
Amber’s breakthrough came with a series of insights as she realized:
- The belief that she was not important and did not matter was false.
- This false belief was reinforced every time she made a decision out of fear.
- When she made decisions from a place of loving accountability, she and her staff thrived.
- She also thrived when her needs and values were no longer compromised.
- Staying in her high-pressure, intense work environment was a way to avoid dealing with how she was really feeling deep inside.
Ultimately, the coaching process liberated her from the false assumption that she was destined to suffer abusive bosses.
Amber courageously began to take new and different action in all parts of her life. At the end of the coaching process, she told me she was grateful for having overcome her reluctance to consider coaching as a solution in the first place.
After coaching: Here are some of Amber’s results
- She now actively chooses what she wants in life rather than just going along.
- She now sets expectations for what she will and will not do, at home and at work.
- She empowers her employees to be autonomous, accountable and effective problem solvers.
- She changed her job and found a corporation that was truly in alignment with her values. And at a higher salary!
- She now chooses her friends with more care, opting for those she truly feels safe with.
- She now chooses to look at problems as opportunities to build her skills.
- Her relationships at home have improved.
Amber was scared when she started: scared of herself and scared to admit what she truly, deeply wanted. She took a brave step in seeking out a life coach. She has told me that it was transformative across all parts of her life.
Inspired by Amber’s story? Are you ready to take action for what you truly and deeply want?
Transformation is possible.