Living from crisis to crisis

Jenny engaged an executive coach several months ago after being passed over for a job promotion which she had hoped for this year.

She was almost half an hour late for her first coaching session, as she had apparently slipped and fell whilst getting off the bus and had hesitated on whether to visit a nearby medical clinic for a check-up.

The following week, she arrived very late again for the coaching session having just lost her wallet in an Uber Car, which contained ID Card, Employee Card, and all her bank cards, credit cards. She wanted to know if all her bank savings and identities would be stolen.

The week after that, she had emailed a report to an important client with spelling mistakes and numerical errors. She asked her coach if she would be fired by her company and whether there were any means to retract the report from the email server.

Each week, Jenny would arrive late and recounted various mishaps and misfortunes that had happened during the day, whilst seeking advice on how to handle them.

Her coach continued to work with Jenny each session, refocussing on coaching objectives, exploring options and action plans. But there were so many “fire fighting” episodes in Jenny’s personal and work life, the coach sometimes felt like being a fireman rather than an Executive Coach.

Several weeks passed, Jenny mentioned to her coach that it was increasingly hard for her to get out of bed every morning. She did not feel motivated to go into the office. She was overwhelmed by feelings of stress, anxiety. She would eventually drag herself out of bed to face the world after self-identifying some crisis, emergency, urgent situations that required her immediate attention.

It appeared that Jenny was making use of dealing with crisis after crisis as distractions to calm herself from her stress and anxiety. In doing so, she would have postponed or avoided responsibilities to address the deep underlying root causes of her matters. By taking on various fire fighting activities to stop herself feeling and thinking, Jenny had avoid responsibility for her own self-destructive acts. In her subsequent coaching sessions, Jenny and her coach continued on exploring the insights into Jenny’s conscious and unconscious behaviours.

*All personal identification details have been altered to maintain confidentiality.