Kelly first came to me as a consulting client. She was so overwhelmed and knew something had to give. She thought that hiring a consultant to take some of the extra work off her plate would take the pressure off and allow her to perform like she used to. And it helped a little, but as we continued to work together, it became clear that what Kelly really wanted was help to get unstuck.
She felt overloaded with the amount of work she had to get done every day. She loved her team and the idea of her job, but what it had become was unsustainable. Kelly felt like a failure for feeling like she needed to ask for help. And she didn’t believe that things would really change if she did. Plus – she wasn’t sure where to start. It all seemed impossible. Kelly was tired of feeling helpless to change her situation and figured the only way to improve things was to look for a new job. But, that had challenges of its own. So, she continued to struggle through things and hope that something would happen to make things different.
What It Means to Be Stuck
What Kelly was experiencing happens to a lot of us and causes us to get stuck in the first place. We start to experience the discomfort that comes from a change in our lives or our routines or even a mindset shift. In Kelly’s case, it was an increase in demands of her job and the size of her team without a change in compensation or even input into how things were done. When trying to talk to others about her challenges, she was only able to talk about what was going wrong and how she felt. Her ability to come up with a path forward was clouded by her fear of being a failure or letting others down.
How Coaching Helped
I approached Kelly with the idea of giving coaching a try to help her get unstuck and see new possibilities. Like many others, she wasn’t sure how coaching worked or how a health coach would help her job situation change. But – she felt like it was worth a try. I started with Kelly as I do with my other clients – establishing a vision for the ideal situation. She resisted at first because it seemed worthless to envision something that seemed impossible. However, she was able to bring herself to do it.
Just gaining clarity around what she really wanted – to keep her current job but with credit and compensation for her increase in responsibilities as well as better work/life balance – brought a sigh of relief.
Our next steps together included mapping out the top priorities for attaining this vision and action-oriented goals she could accomplish in order to move closer to it. This part of the process helped her see how much control she actually had over the outcome and made her feel less helpless in her current situation. And – by setting deadlines for the goals – she was being held accountable to completing them but also knew there was a timeframe to re-evaluate the situation if the outcome wasn’t what she hoped.
Confidence As An Unexpected Outcome
It took several months, but eventually Kelly devised a new way to tell her story to a leader who would listen. And, then things started to change for her. It’s possible that Kelly could have done this on her own over time. But like many of my clients, she felt that having a coach listen and help her see things from a different and sometimes more objective perspective expedited the process. It also helped her increase her confidence to a higher level than it was before.
Kelly was also able to use her new skills to tackle some additional areas where she felt stuck. With her confidence at a new level, she decided she would start exercising more. She also started a new meditation practice. It turned out that getting unstuck in one area opened up the opportunity to more easily change in other areas.