Executive coaching helps leaders increase their effectiveness via a private, structured and proven process in which we uncover exactly what is working right now, and what needs to be tweaked or fundamentally overhauled.
It might be a single relationship (for example with a colleague, superior or subordinate), or an entire area of life (such as health and wellbeing, finances or leisure). We look at both what’s going on externally, and what’s taking place internally in the executive – what thoughts, feelings, emotions and beliefs are working and not working.
Then, through expert coaching, and with me specifically through my unique 360 Degree Coherence Method, we work on optimising each of these areas, one by one.
What’s different about the way I coach, compared to many executive coaches, is that I recognise that non-work areas (for example home, exercise, and family life) can have a profound effect on performance in business, so it’s important to look at these. I regularly get feedback from executives that they are getting much more out of coaching with me than they have from previous coaches in part for this reason.
It might seem counterintuitive to improve business performance by looking at an executive’s personal life, but they’re inextricably bound. It also means that then, when we’re discussing issues and opportunities in business, we’re coming at it from a much stronger and more unshakeable foundation. Leaders are capable of huge resilience, but they’re not robots!
One of the themes I’ve noticed with my executive coaching clients is that they often come to me struggling with burnout.
Now how do you know if you’re burnt out? When you’re extremely busy, it’s easy to be so focused on powering through your epically long to do list, that you actively ignore how you feeling, either physically or emotionally (or both).
But there are some signs you won’t be able to escape.
Mental fog is one of the first and most inescapable signs of burnout. If you find yourself reading the same page or email five times, and still having no idea what it said, it’s a key sign you’ve spent too long in fight or flight and it’s affecting your ability to think clearly. While society and technology has evolved dramatically over the last thousand years, our brains have actually evolved very little. And our primitive fight or flight response was designed thousands of years ago to enable us to spring into physical action in order to fight head on, or run away from a predator like a hungry tiger or a rival tribe.
In such moments, our primitive systems class intellectual ability as secondary to peak physical performance. Our bodies don’t differentiate between a stressor that requires physical exercise and one that requires mental exertion. So when we get very stressed by anything, our fight or flight response is triggered and we get a build up of cortisol (the hormone designed to help us flee, and fast!). Without the relevant physical release (running away, or fighting), the cortisol remains in our system, and the more it builds up, the more stressed we become, which gradually leads to mental fog, unexplained weight gain around the middle, irritability, exhaustion, reduced immunity and other symptoms. We are simply not designed to be stressed for prolonged and continuous periods.
I experienced burnout myself six years ago. I went to my GP complaining of mental fogginess that had begun impeding my work, and exhaustion that never seemed to abate. He referred me for a brain scan as he was concerned I might have a tumour. The brain scan came back fine, but my symptoms matched those of severe burnout. It was a huge wake up call, and I went on to seek various solutions until my acuity returned.
Many of the clients I work with now come to me suffering from burnout, even if they haven’t realised it yet and they think they’re coming to me for a different reason. But they usually know something’s not right and they’re not as sharp as they’re used to, even if nobody else has noticed it yet and their primary concern is elsewhere!
Stay tuned for other common signs of burnout which I’ll be sharing soon.
In the meantime, if you think you might be experiencing burnout, send me a message to arrange a complimentary consultation and find out how I can help you further.
Global Success Coach for Visionary Executives & Entrepreneurs