Richard* is a director of a FTSE 250 company who, after many years of outstanding performance in his client consulting capacity was asked to head up an internal consulting function to develop up-and-coming talent. While he loved the challenge of the new role and the recognition it carried with it, he increasingly found himself highly stressed and anxious about his mentee colleagues and the work they were delivering to clients. Richard embarked on a coaching programme with me to address this.
>>> He recognised that his anxiety was becoming all encompassing, that he was taking it home and finding it hard to stop thinking about. His sleep was being affected as was his much anticipated enjoyment of his new role.
In our coaching work together we explored the nature of the change Richard’s working life had undergone, and the change in responsibility, focus and the intrinsic rewards he got from it. He recognised that a great deal of his own prized sense of self was his expertise and reputation directly liaising with his clients. When he became one step removed from this – coaching new talent – he lost a considerable part of what he loved about the role. The disconcerting effect of this was coupled with his strong client focus and ethic of very high standards. As he was no longer actively analysing and delivering the complex financial analysis he was known for, he became very anxious that his mentees were getting it right. This caused him to need to compulsively check their data and analysis, causing him to maintain a high level of stress until he received confirmation of a job suitably excellently done.
In our six month programme Richard was able to recalibrate his new role in order that it satisfied his need for recognition and the maintenance of his expertise – in time he found this as rewarding as his previous role. We worked on techniques to address his obsessive thinking patterns and relieve stress. At the end of our programme Richard was embracing his new role with relish, was sleeping well, exercising and enjoying life in a sustainable way.
* Richard is not his real name.