Monday, 7 December 2015

Off work with Stress?

If you are off work/suffering with stress at work and would like to discuss how to move forwards with an Occupational Psychologist then this blog is for you.

We are currently working with a number of individuals who have been off work with work related stress. Discussions have included how to handle work meetings with a current employer, how to handle conversations with new employers about a period of work related stress as well as career coaching.

Harvard Business School with Stanford University have carried out research recently that found low job control to be the biggest influence on stress and life expectancy for men and women.

Our own findings are that the majority of clients are coming to us overwhelmed by workload due to resource constraints. Despite having made a case for extra resources they are unable to influence the decision makers. This has resulted in our clients experiencing stress related symptoms including negative thought patterns, sleeping problems and panic attacks.

Still other clients have reported over compensating for lack of resources by working long hours and sometimes requesting holiday at short notice without explanation then using the holiday to 'catch up'.

We help our clients to prepare for conversations with line managers, including challenging unreasonable and unmanageable workloads. We also assist you in prioritisation, increasing your resilience and self confidence through one to one coaching.

Some clients move forward with a career change that draws on what they are good at and enjoy. Your career coaching starts with a diagnostic looking at your personality preferences plus other relevant factors.

From a blank sheet of paper we arrive at two to three career options for us to consider and research in more detail.

The final stage of career coaching includes action to move you into your new role, such as CV tailoring, speculative role applications and interview preparation.

If you are feeling stuck and somewhat stressed and would like to discuss this, please e mail us at, including a summary of how you are feeling and what would help you at this time.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Why Career Coaching could help you?

A client of mine told me yesterday that she had a friend who was depressed and had told her, 'what's the point? You work then you die. Where is the joy in that?'

I immediately felt sad. My first thoughts were around 'what is she missing in her life e.g. time spent with family or on hobbies/passions?'

My deeper thoughts centred on the fact that a good part of most of an individuals waking life is spent on work. I presupposed that the individual was not enjoying their work.

I have philosophised in earlier blogs that 'life is short'. If you accept this, are you spending your time the way you want to, especially when it comes to work, something most individuals do a lot of?

If you are not enjoying your work, what is stopping you from changing it?

Many of my clients arrive at my door years after first considering changing their job/career, citing rationalisations such as fear of change, fear of not earning enough or lack of energy to act.

There are a number of stages to making a change and motivation is a key part of these stages.

We know that it is hard to make changes on your own, especially when it seems easier to maintain the status quo. This is true whatever the change...'I will start the diet tomorrow...I will change my career when I have the energy'. It really is a vicious circle. Unhappiness in our job/career can lead to comfort eating can lead to depression.

A good career coach can help you on your new path.

A structured process starting with a thorough diagnostic including your personality preferences with an occupational psychologist, with career coach skills and empathy, will help you to get what you want from your career.

If you would like an initial discussion about your wants please get in touch on 01761 237400 or Do visit our website

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Thinking of changing your Career?

If you are thinking about changing your career then this blog is for you.

Research suggests that more than half of UK workers are unhappy in their current jobs.

The career guidance that we received at school is outdated.

Little wonder most people are overwhelmed by how to get started in taking action to move forward in their career.

Questions include 'am I headed in the right direction, is now a good time to change, am I qualified to do anything else? can I make a living working for myself?'

The big questions include, 'what is my destiny, what do I really want to do, what am I doing with my life, what would fulfil me and give me meaning?'

Indecision is rife and does not make you feel secure.

I suggest that your starting point is asking yourself what you are motivated to do and what is holding you back from this.

There are no jobs for life anymore so whatever your issue - wanting more work life balance, to work for yourself or find a new employed role that fits with your values now - we all need to accept career change.

You are not on your own in this. You can do your own research and reading and make use of digital coaches if that appeals to you.

When you are looking at your career options it can feel lonely just like when you run a business on your own.

Sometimes you need a boost, some support and help to guide you on your path.

I firmly advocate face to face one on one coaching and counselling for you in your career. It is real and the connection with your coach is an important part of your results.

Life is too short to do a job you hate.

If you would like to know more please get in touch via or call 01761 237400.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Making Changes in your life

Change is a scary concept for most people who fear it, fighting it with excuses or running away from it.

So why would you bother?

Lack of change or addiction to the current state freezes you. You do not develop or learn the skills by trial and error of having experiences and learning from them. You do not find out what it is you want and how to go about getting it by relating with other people. You short circuit all of that and go for the immediate relief, that button that says this feels good, over and over again. You can wake up at 45 years of age and still feel the same as you did as a teenager.

There will always be mixed feelings - the pros and cons of your changing.

Any change is often slow and painful as few are willing to let go of the familiar, even if inaccurate values and views. Resistance to change or growth is considerable.

Some people would rather die than alter those belief systems that keep them stuck in dysfunctional behaviours.

We do of course have free choice and so a considerable potential to achieve whatever we focus upon. But growth and change are irregular and non-linear. One's range of choice is limited by one's vision and expectations - I will fail, therefore I do.

Willingness and high intent open up your mind. We start by feeling safe and secure enough for change.

When we initially experience the benefits of change we may be euphoric. This is often followed by a plateau or lack of expected progress, with some relapse to old behaviours. For example the individual who sheds weight for the first few weeks of a new eating plan and then stops doing what works.

A roller coaster of emotions is suffered by the individual who tackles their addiction.

Building your confidence, self-esteem and self-love, keeping things simple and living in the moment are key ingredients for achieving and maintaining changes that you make in your life.

Great coaches are sought after to help you to achieve the changes you really want to make because our influence inspires maximum effort and results.

If you would like help to make a change in your life please get in touch by calling 01761 237400 or e mailing

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Managing Your Stress or Pressure

On a scale of 0-10 where 0 is burnt out and 10 is peacefully calm where are you at work right now?

According to The Guardian survey 93% of public sector workers are stressed some of the time and 9% constantly.

Some of the report's authors blame austerity measures.

Barrie Pirie, president of the Public Sector's People Management Association, said that 'while doing more for less would inevitably increase stress, its important to distinguish stress from pressure and to increase resilience inside organisations.'

Whatever sector you work in pressure is not going to go away. We are @20% less productive than other G7 countries and UK productivity continues to be in the spotlight.

What are you doing to cope with your individual pressures and stress? What are you doing to help your employees to cope, to develop their resilience?

If you would like help to develop appropriate resources, strategies, tactics and tools for stress and pressure management in your workplace or your own as an individual, please get in touch via 01761 237400 or

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Small Business Leadership Coaching

If you are interested in developing a happier workforce who enjoy their work more and so perform at their best please read on.

We are working with people like you right now on two areas of focus

1. Ensuring that their staff have the right direction and support
2. Ensuring that where staff are not performing as required that a plan and actions are in place to address this

When you started your small business you may not have anticipated the impact of leadership direction and management required to be a successful business.

Research shows that where staff are well directed, supported and know what is required of them they are more engaged and perform better.

Where to start?

Firstly spend some time observing staff and noting what specifically they are doing well and what improvements could be made.

Next, speak with staff about

1. What you have seen them doing well - try to find three specific things and tell them the positive impact on the business
2. What you would like them to work on now
3. What you could do to help them to enjoy their work more and perform better.

Then, set aside some time to set clear objectives and specific targets for each of your staff and the team as a whole and share these with them to check understanding.

Where staff do not perform in spite of feedback and training, you need to have open honest and frequent conversations about the consequences of continuing to under perform. ACAS provide robust guidance on stages of disciplinary action which you may find helpful for structure and to meet legal and good practice requirements.

If you would like support with your leadership activities please get in touch via enquiries@westofenglandcoachingandcounselling or call us on 01761 237400.

Friday, 8 May 2015

What are your 'Work Wants?'

This blog is dedicated to you exploring or reviewing what you want from your work.

Research intelligently shows that what you want from your work changes based on where you are in your life generally.

For example, what you want from your life generally is often different at 40 years of age to 20 years of age.

I suggest that you spend a few minutes brainstorming what you want from your work and then scoring 0-10 based on the level that you think you are currently achieving on this at work.

A recent HAYS survey published in People Management, the CIPD magazine, reported that top factors when considering a new role are career development, work-life balance, job security, location, challenge of role/projects and flexible working options.

The point of this exercise is to work towards achieving what you want from your work now. Why? Because life is short and this will help you to feel happier in your work life, which for most of us forms a significant part of our whole life.

Let's say that work-life balance is your top priority right now and that you score it at 4/10.

What is already working that scales 4 rather than 0? In what ways can you build on this?

What score would you like to achieve and could a conversation about the gap be useful with your line manager?

I hope that this blog has generated some good thinking around what you might improve in your work life.

If you would like some support in making changes in your career please get in touch via 01761 237400/

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Why Future Plan My Life?

Do you have a business or career plan? Chances are that you do. But do you have a personal plan? Chances are you do not. Research shows that most of us bumble along in life with no clear direction of travel.

If this is you and you are interested in making a change in this regard please read on.

We review our business plans about three or four times a year to check if we are on track with our annual goals and to incorporate new developments and disruptors emerging.

Our own goals and values change so it makes sense that we plan for our own future. For example, what you want in your twenties is unlikely to be the same as what you want for you personally in your forties.

A typical personal path make take the form of marriage and children but then you get there and you have become a different person who wants something different perhaps.

Perhaps the way to look at your life is to see it in phases and make plans accordingly.

What are the advantages of planning your personal life?

  • Planning [rather than bumbling along] will leave you feeling more in control
  • Widening your perspective to creatively think about what really matters to you and to explore new possibilities
  • Developing your self awareness, understanding what drives you and what you value right now
  • Limiting fear and managing uncertainty helping you to more ably forecast what you will be doing, when, where, with whom and why
I will be blogging more on this topic in future months so look out for those.

In the meantime what about some personal planning in your life? Let us know how you get on.

If you would like help and support with your personal journey please get in touch through or call us on 01761 237400.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Why do you need or want coaching?

If you find yourself feeling that you have had the same goals for some time but have not moved forwards towards achieving them or too slowly, then read on.

Even in our work we sometimes avoid setting goals and objectives and very often if this is not a requirement enforced upon us!

In our personal lives, most people bumble along without planning their personal objectives in life.

Research shows that this is mostly because we are focused on either surviving, being secure or achieving pleasure now. These drivers do not encourage us to be objective and plan for what we want and need in our lives.

If you are frustrated and ready to change all this then coaching can help you to get clear on your direction of travel and to formulate an action plan to achieve what you want and need.

Coaching will also help you to identify the resources including skills that you will need in order to achieve your plan.

At West of England Coaching and Counselling, the coaching process includes another dimension which is to help you to master your psychology.

This area is one that often keeps us bumbling along, our lack of confidence, for example, keeps us stuck where we are.

I will be blogging on this topic for some time so please look out for future posts.

In the meantime if you are serious about change and would like support plus some constructive challenge, please get in touch by sharing what you would like to achieve, through

Friday, 10 April 2015

Invest in You

If you feel or think that you would benefit from personal development but this is not something that your employer will invest in, please read on.

Whilst coaching and counselling is increasingly being supported financially by employers, especially for senior leaders, this is not always the case and may not be available to you.

Before you forget about the option of investing some of your hard earned money in you, please think on.

We are prepared to invest our money in a lot of things and yet research shows that the best things in life are not things at all, including a big house, an expensive car and designer clothes.

Rather the best things in life are experiences that include at least some personal development.

You may have watched the recent Bear Grylls series and been impressed by some of the famous individuals who took part.

The chances are that you were not impressed by their fame but rather by their attitude and behaviours in the face of some significant challenges.

In particular I admired the humbleness of Mike Tindall and the unrelenting positive influence of Vogue Williams.

Interestingly, with increasing maturity when we are asked to think about our personal selves we think and speak and are interested in others less about what we own and more about who we are as people and the experiences we have had such as our friendships with others and fears that we have overcome.

I think that it is good to invest in your physical health by exercising your body and eating healthily. What do you think? What are your actions here?

What about investing in your mind, most notably how you think?

Is your thinking helping you to live your best self life or not?

If not you may consider very seriously investing in you.

You could start with exploring self development through reading etc.

If you would like a steer in the best books to read for your goals or would like to know the best tools to use or would like support in your development journey, we can help.

You can get in touch on 01761 237400 or through

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Why would I want to work with a business coach?

If you have been thinking about goals that you would like to achieve but have not got started on them or have some obstacles that have left you feeling stuck or putting the goals on hold please read on.

It is entirely normal in my experience for you to feel this way.

For one thing, there is your 'life as usual' to get on with and you may feel that you do not have the time or energy in your day to work towards goals albeit things that you would really like to do.

It is common to feel overwhelmed by the enormity of a goal because it is just that, a broad statement of intent. Until we break your goal down into achievable bite sized chunks or objectives, the goal just seems 'too much'.

A good coach will help you to get really clear on your goal(s) and then your objectives plus an action plan that is achievable, realistic and time framed to fit in with your life. A good analogy is that it is more realistic to have an eating plan that fits in with your being away from home than one which relies on you preparing everything yourself.

A good coach will be your conscience and hold you to account on your commitments including homework.

A good coach will have a process and structure that will help you get from where you are now to achieve your goals in an enjoyable way.

A good coach will have key skills such as asking the right questions, listening actively and empathy.

Research shows that working with a coach often saves time and avoids procrastination.

Life is meant to be progressive. We are by our natures goal focused.

If it is more important to you to progress yourself rather than standing still and possibly stagnating, please get in touch via

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Are you Stressed?

If you are suffering executive stress then you are not alone. Please read on.

Executive psychological health is under increasing strain.

We know that the majority of executives rarely report their stress, often ignore it and do not do anything positive to address it.

We also know that executives are more likely to self-medicate with alcohol or food, rather than do healthy habits instead such as exercise or meditation.

Stress is not something that executives talk openly about in the workplace. However, I am finding that my clients do share their stress at their coaching sessions. This means that we can start to address it.

Image management and ego are two key reasons why executives may not admit to stress being an issue. We are encouraged to project a strong self-image and that stress is 'for wimps'.

Your coaching session may be the only place where you are comfortable to unburden yourself of your stressors and safe in the knowledge that you will not be judged negatively for it.

Through honest meaningful discussion about the triggers, resources, support and tools to address it we can reduce your stress at least to manageable levels. These can also help you to be proactive so they are there for you at times of stress.

If you are suffering from stress it is a good idea to discuss this with your GP.

For further information and support please visit www.westofenglandcoachingandcounselling or call us on 01761 237400.

Monday, 12 January 2015

A New Career for 2015?

If you are thinking about the possibility of a new career then read on...

Before you take the plunge it helps to undertake some analysis.

What form could this analysis take such that you are confident with your decision?

The approach that I would recommend, with or without our help is to consider 3 key areas as follows

1. Your personality preferences

2. Your drivers or motivators principally what is important to you about the work that you do

3. Skills that you have or are committed to developing, that you enjoy/know that you would enjoy using

For 1. we use a number of personality instruments. You can start the process off yourself through sites such as Authentic Happiness. These tools help to determine how you like to live and work.

For 2. we use a number of tools including Dilts Logical Levels. You can examine what is important to you at work starting with a brainstorm and then prioritising your list.

For 3. we conduct a diagnostic to understand where you are now and where you want to be in terms of skills used in your career. You can consider which skills you have that you enjoy and tailor your CV accordingly. You can consider those skills that you want to develop and then assess the ways to develop these such as through self development or a course.

I hope that this blog has given you some food for thought and that you will take action.

For help and support on your career journey please get in touch via or 01761 237400