Prolonged stress can be a destructive and counter-productive situation that often finds itself the focus of the C-Suite coaching relationship.
The pressure of leading an organisation – a company, a not-for-profit, an enterprise – can be isolating at times, and it can help to speak to other C-Suite members experiencing the same challenges. However, moving beyond what could become a peer complaining discussion to find real solutions to stress, will require more.
When things get busy or stressful, the first things compromised are sleep, exercise, a healthy diet, leisure activity and sometimes, and even more regrettably, relationships. This compromise is, often, not simply a temporary imposition – it develops unsuspectedly, into an unhealthy lifestyle.
Stress is paradoxical, too.
- The more tired we are, the more likely we are to make unfortunate or less than optimum decisions.
- When we don’t exercise, we produce fewer endorphins and struggle to cushion stress.
- When we don’t eat healthily, our brains can’t function as well, and this affects both productivity, leadership and all-round performance.
- The more of our ‘self’ we invest in work, the less time we have for leisure activity that supports the formation of new networks, creative ideas, and the reflective practice indispensable to leadership.
- The more time dedicated to work, the less time is available to the human-ness of life – relationships, legacy, purpose and meaning.
As a C-Suite Coach, actually changing behaviour to remedy the impacts of negative stress in our clients takes an understanding of their context, their individual motivations and some idea about the possible remedies that guide the design of those individual pathways to success.
The next time you’re coaching a C-Suite client, pay attention to their physical presentation. They may well realise greater, and more long-lasting, benefit from you stimulating a discussion about their life-style choices: exercise, nutrition, identity and life-purpose.
As a coach, the next time you find yourself on the wrong side of busy, and are tempted to let your health slide, we challenge you to carve out the time needed for sleep, exercise and eating well.
There are only 24 hours in the day and you only get one-life, so live it as a purposeful one, not just a busy one!