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Dance with our clients and explore their true values

By Atip Muangsuwan

Who would know that… starting from a common coaching topic like… “how to deal with stress” could transform into big decision-making and career coaching instead?

There was an executive client who showed up in my coaching session with a common coaching topic: ‘how to deal with stress.’

In one part of our session, she described to me that she had been overworked for the past 3 months until now. She had been working every day; that literally means 7 days a week nonstop although she had been working from home (WFH) during those 3 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation.

Almost every day, she also had to participate in the teleconference meetings and most of them ran from 6 pm until 1 or 2 am of the next day. So, she told me that she had no life!

Not only that, but she also went to the hospital 7 times within those 3 months. She got a migraine and gastroesophageal reflux disease at the same time due to overworked stress and insufficient sleep.

I asked her how she could let these things happen to her. She said it’s because of her strong sense of ownership and her big responsibility in her job.

Then, I asked her a powerful question that… “What do you value as your number-one priority in life?” She paused for a while… thinking.

Then, she replied… “My No.1 priority in life is… my health… both physical and mental health.”

We closed our session with some key action steps that she could work on for the next 2 weeks before our next coaching session.

Some of the key action steps were… to search for stories and also pictures of the people who died from hard work as a result of long working hours. Then, select some of them for printing out and put them up in the place where she could see them every day.

When we had the follow-up session, she shared with me that she already made her decision to change her job. She said she valued her health both physical and mental more than her current job and her executive title/position. She said if she continued working in this same job, she would have a shorter life for certain.

We can learn from this case that… from appearing-as-common coaching topic like ‘how to deal with stress’ could transform into a career coaching and big decision making instead.

We’ll never know what would come out from coaching sessions until… “We dance with our clients and explore their true values.”