From slamming doors to self control

As part of our March blog series focusing on helping people manage change and uncertainty in the workplace, to remain motivated and positive. We're kicking off by re-sharing a Carter Corson coaching case study.

We hear Emma's journey of self-reflection, as she works through her own uncertainty , finding her motivation and making positive changes for herself and at work.

Emma had a reputation for being harsh and aggressive at work; and ran a team of ten people, which brought in a lot of business for the firm.

She had to keep the clients on side, and create the outcomes her bosses wanted as well.

She was in the thick of it, every day, and unfortunately had a massive chip on her shoulder about her standing… in a place where long service didn’t always trump qualification.

A tight spot, and one that Emma didn’t want to stay in for anymore.

It was exhausting.

As each day progressed, her energy would be affected and on the car journey home she would obsess about the day and what made her angry and upset.

Unfortunately, it was her family that suffered.

Emma decided to get coaching for her reputation, as she felt it was putting her job at risk.

And her goal?

Get home, go to the gym, and not obsess about work…

“I ‘always’ get emotionally affected by things,” she said. “In meetings, it’s not uncommon to throw things, slam doors and storm out.”

The first port of call was emotional control, to recognise when these things started to rise; and secondly, to choose a cut-off point each day where she would decide to create better self-talk?

Her inner voice was clearly winding her up.

Each day, when Emma drove home she chose a set of traffic lights to stop the rumination. She chose the place. She chose to create the gap.

What happened next?

“I had an internal meeting and managed to get my point across without shouting,” she said. “It’s the first time I have walked away from a meeting without shouting at anyone. I didn’t lose my rag.”

She sounded surprised, and relieved.

Her ability to reflect and create space had enabled her to get home feeling less stressed.

This also had a knock-on effect at work, for the way she felt and her reputation.

There were numerous bumps in the road for Emma – when difficult decisions went against her (and she took it personally).

But there were opportunities to ask for feedback, hear it for what it was, and understand how to move herself away from these decisions.

She continued to create space in her own mind.

By the time coaching finished, it was almost like night and day. She knew she could be effective, but she was holding herself back.

She’d stopped the whirlwind and was able to focus her energy to become more productive.

She was still loud and vivacious but not in a way that scared people.

Oh, and she got a pay rise and relationships with the team improved as well.


Names have been changed, but this is based on a real-life example from the Carter Corson coaching team. "When Emma came for coaching, she wanted to change, but didn't recognise how to go about it," says her coach. "Coaching gave her the time to stop and think about what was important to her and why she was so emotional. She worked really hard on every objective we set."

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