Relentless pressure creates internal conflict, coach notes

A common theme emerges when talking to managers working in high pressure, high profile sectors – their description of working in what feels like a relentless squeeze. A squeeze created by heavy workloads, constant pressure and sometimes just enough organisational resources to get the work done. Another common theme is that of great fatique, the inadequacy of annual leave to refresh or regenerate and their distress in realising that their heart may have gone out of their job, even though they like aspects of it. People face difficult choices when they reach this point. It helps if they know themselves well: the factors that motivate and demotivate them; know what they will and will not be able to tolerate any more; know their own personal values and which of those may be compromised by the values operating in their organisation. Making decisions to change certain things is certainly difficult and requires courage…..

Australasian coach week a success


An amazing thing occurred this week throughout New Zealand and Australia. The annual coach week was held from 14 – 18 May 2007 to raise community and businesses' awareness of coaches and the coaching profession. A number of different events happened, ranging from complimentary one on one coaching sessions by coaches, held in city shopping malls, to key speakers touring around different cities, speaking at coaching events hosted by International Coach Federation (ICF) Chapters. The International Coach Federation is behind coach week and it's a world wide event, involving literally hundreds of coaches. Mind you, for us here in Australasia, coach week is held at a different time of year than in America and Europe but the intent and outcome is just the same.

Wheel Of Life

Assess your life by using the wheel

The following 8 areas represent balance in life, and by assessing how satisfied you are in each area it may assist you in identifying your goals. (Feel free to change the labels if you prefer another explanation).

How satisfied are you in each of the following areas in your life?

 Wheel Of Life

The centre of the wheel – 0 satisfaction

The outer edge – 10 = fantastically satisfied!!!

Place an X marking a figure between 0-10 on each line.

Then draw a line to join up all the Xs.

What have you found? How bumpy is your life at the moment?

What steps are you going to take to achieve a higher level of satisfaction?



Tolerations are things that annoy us, occupy our mind, make us fret and ultimately, drain our energy.

"Tolerations" are the things that annoy us, occupy our mind, make us fret and ultimately, drain our energy.   They're like a great weight we carry around with us. They are the things we typically mention – to ourselves, family, friends, workmates – and often begin with "oh, that's right, I mustn't forget to do X" or "yes, I've been meaning to do Y and haven't got around to it yet" or even "it's driving me crazy, seeing that mess/knowing that situation hasn't been resolved yet".

It's easy to tolerate things. We get conditioned to do so through our upbringing, our schooling, our workplaces. Being tolerant is a positive quality to have however, being too, too tolerant can often be negative and damaging – to ourselves and our workplace.

When we tolerate things that we really aren't that happy about, we:

  • are often tired
  • feel burdened
  • often lose creativity and flair
  • often can't get going – and may feel stuck, unable to move on things
  • often receive negative benefits that encourage us to keep tolerating the intolerable
  • often become negative in our thinking and attitudes

What are the benefits of eliminating our tolerations? We will:

  • feel good about ourselves, our situation and achievements
  • have positive energy
  • achieve what we want to achieve
  • conserve our energy and have reserves to spare
  • look and sound positive
  • have "head space" freed up

How do we eliminate tolerations?

  1. Make a list of at least 15 things you are tolerating in your world – both the big and small tolerations. For example, the cluttered cupboard to the unpainted back fences.
  2. Determine the current benefits you receive from tolerating things and whether it's worth it to evolve into a toleration-free zone. It may not be – you'll know.
  3. Select the tolerations you wish to eliminate.
  4. Prioritise the tolerations and begin with the most draining, most difficult one.
  5. Determine the steps you need to take to eliminate each toleration.
  6. Determine the deadline for eliminating each toleration.
  7. Book in time to 'do the doing'.
  8. Tell others around you what you're doing, so you can receive their encouragement and support .
  9. Begin at once – use the Nike approach – Just Do It! Quit whining and moaning – get into gear.
  10. Keep going until all the tolerations have been eliminated.
  11. Make lifestyle or attitudinal changes to support and maintain your progress.
  12. Celebrate your successes along the way.
  13. Then, make another list of another 15 tolerations and repeat the process from the beginning.
  14. Then, repeat the whole exercise every 12 weeks.


Action Required

Completion Date

Yes, Done!!


The concept of tolerations and related checklists are part of Coach U's Clean Sweep Program(tm). You are welcome to share this resource providing attribution is given to: (i) Coach U, USA ( (ii) Dwan & associates and links to our email address and website are included. Email:

Time Management

How we use it is up to us

  • Time is inelastic – demand has no influence on supply
  • All we get is all there is – 60 minutes to the hour; 24 hours per day=1440 minutes to use each 24 hours – about 480 minutes per working day – how we use it is up to us
  • Time is a valuable resource
  • Time is irreplaceable – once it's gone, it's gone forever
  • At work, we're here to achieve, not to do
  • Time is always 'short' in a service industry – catch up never happens
  • Time management is really self management
  • Time has a high cost – what is an hour of your time really worth?

Common Time Thieves


  • Interruptions (people, telephones)
  • Absent or inadequate systems
  • Distractions
  • Procrastination
  • Lack of planning – the 80/20 Pareto Principle*
  • Meetings
  • Inconsistent use of time management techniques

*The Pareto Principle – the general principle is that in any series of elements to be controlled, a selected small fraction in terms of numbers or elements almost always account for the large fraction in terms of effect. For example, 80% of turnover can be attributed to 20% of product lines; 80% of bad debts will come from 20% of customers; 80% of interruptions will come from 20% of our colleagues; we can often spend about 80% of our time on jobs that make about a 20% contribution towards our job objectives. It's important to spend time on the things that really count. Start with the time available, and not the tasks. Tasks must fit the time in terms of importance.

Strategies for Success


  • Planning – know what you need to do and how to do it effectively
  • Prioritise – do the right thing versus doing things right
  • Commit – to using effective techniques – consistently
  • Focus on results/the outcomes required
  • Delegate effectively
  • Eliminate time thieves
  • Learn to multi-task – the art of doing several things at once
  • Develop effective systems – and use them
  • Be ruthless with your time – and gracious with people
  • Find ways to 'save' time – work quickly; prepare for tomorrow today; be unavailable to be available; chunk time to do tasks; apply conversation ending techniques; write replies on letters or memos; ask people for their recommendations; eliminate unnecessary meetings, discussions or procedures; handle pieces of paper only once.
  • Use to do lists
  • Stop procrastination
  • Be clear about what is important
  • Get a headset for the telephone; it releases your hands to do something else
  • Learn computer shortcuts; learn to type with all fingers
  • Use templates
  • Treat your email inbox like the top of your desk – keep clear of clutter
  • Use good equipment and storage facilities
  • Control your desk and drawers
  • File, don't pile

Sues Simple Action Plan

This can be used to achieve personal or organisational goals.

This can be used to achieve personal or organisational goals.

1. Define the goal(s) you want to achieve.

2. Determine what's required to achieve them.

3. Keep them SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-framed).

4. Document the goals and actions needed to achieve them.

5. Do the doing – write the plan then work the plan!

6. Review progress at regular intervals.

7. Include more actions, as needed, along the way.

8. Celebrate your successes!

9. Repeat steps 1-8.

Goal: (specify here)

Actions needed

Resources Needed



Outcome Needed

(key result area)












If you fail to plan, you'll plan to fail.

Self Limiting Beliefs

Self limiting beliefs (SLB's) are those thoughts we have that hold us back; limit our view of what we believe ourselves capable of and stop us going forward, in some way.

Self limiting beliefs (SLB's) are those thoughts we have that hold us back; limit our view of what we believe ourselves capable of and stop us going forward, in some way.

SLB's can also be beneficial. It can suit us not to move forward, to avoid particular things, or avoid learning anything new.

So, if we want to be the best manager, team leader or supervisor that we can be, both personally and professionally, we have a choice to make – the choice between keeping and believing in self limiting or self actualising beliefs.

List three self limiting beliefs about your managerial abilities, skills or attitudes. Record them in the chart below and work each one through to completion. Use the example shown below as a guide.

Self limiting beliefs

How they limit me

How they benefit me

My Choice



3 actions to take to change

Mental shifts needed

i.e. I'm hopeless with computers; they frighten me

* have to handwrite all documents

*communications are slow

* I don't understand what other managers are doing

* I avoid doing some things so my 'lack' isn't too obvious

* people make excuses for me

* other's expectations of me are now limited

* admin. staff help me out


* Get help desk to show me the basics

* Get user's guide to email & go through

*Set time frame for actions &


*Avoidance isn't good role modelling

*It's not ok at my level to be computer illiterate

* I can easily do this

*I will be successful

Problem Solving/Decision Making Model

Practice these steps to improve your problem solving/decision making ability.

Problem solving and decision making is a key management function. Practice these steps to improve your problem solving/decision making ability.

  1. Identify the symptoms of a problem
  2. Define the problem
  3. Analyse the problem
  4. Develop alternative solutions
  5. Evaluate possible solutions/alternatives
  6. Select the best solution – make a choice/decision
  7. Implement the decision
  8. Follow-up and evaluate the results

Identify the Symptoms

Take notice of what you see around you in the workplace.

Define the Problem

Locate the core problem, not the symptom of the core problem.

Analyse the Problem

Get as many facts as you can. Assess and use the information at hand to tease out the problem. Consult with others, to assist you.

Develop Alternative Solutions

Consider several possibilities for each issue. Formulate a number of options, as rarely is only one solution possible. Consult widely.

Evaluate Possible Solutions/alternatives

Test each one of them by imaging that they have already been put into effect. Consider the positives and negatives (the pros and cons) of each solution and weigh them all up.

Select the Best Solution – make a decision

Draw on your previous experience, advice from others, intuition, experimentation or maybe scientific tools to help you decide.

Implement the Decision

Plan how you will implement the decision. Consider 'the who, the how, the when, the where and the what' of it. Communicate the decisions to all appropriate stakeholders.

Follow-up and Evaluate the Results

Monitor the outcome of the decision, to ensure you have solved the problem. By monitoring progress carefully and frequently, changes can then be made, if required.

Adapted from Bateman, T. & & Zeithaml, C. (1990) Management Function and Strategy. Richard D. Irwin, Inc. USA.

Management Functions Defined

Managers must perform several major functions or activities to establish the success of any organisation.

Managers must perform several major functions or activities to establish and operate an effective organisation. The key management functions include planning, organising and staffing, leading and controlling. Each function is critical to the success of any manager and organisation.



This is analysing a situation, determining the goals that will be pursued in the future and deciding in advance the actions that will be taken to achieve these goals. Plans are developed for entire organisations, for specific work units and for individual managers and workers. The plans may cover long periods of time (years) or a short time (days or weeks). They may be very general or very specific.


Organising and Staffing

This includes the work to assemble the human, financial, physical and informational resources needed to complete the job and to group and coordinate employees, tasks, and resources for maximum success.



This function focuses on the efforts of the manager to stimulate high performance among employees. This activity involves setting directions, directing, motivating and communicating with employees, both as individuals and in groups. It includes influencing people to follow the direction.



This function involves monitoring the progress of the organisation or the work unit toward goals and then, if necessary, taking corrective action. It includes the ongoing collection of feedback, adjustment of systems, processes and structures.

These management functions are the cornerstones of a manager's job. A common view of management is that it is about getting things done through others. However, it also means the job of management is to support employees' efforts to be fully productive members of the organisation. Managers also need a variety of skills to execute these functions successfully.

The three general skill categories managers need include : technical skills (the ability to perform a specialised task that involves a certain method or process); interpersonal and communication skills (human or people skills); conceptual and decision skills (abilities to recognise complex and dynamic issues, to examine the numerous and conflicting factors that influence these problems, and to resolve such situations for the benefit of the organisation). Bateman, T. & & Zeithaml, C. (1990) Management Function and Strategy. Richard D. Irwin, Inc. USA.

Some other key functions include financial management, systems development, working 'on' and 'in' the business; public relations/marketing.

On or In The Business

Successful managers and business owners spend most of their time working 'on' their business/service and little time 'in' it.

If you had a periscope, how would you be? See the things in front of you or the waves upon the sea?

If you had a business, what is it you'd do? Everything because you can and have, or the stuff that's just for you?

If you had to travel, what is it you'd take? Lots of luck and positive thought, or a map for safety's sake? 

Successful managers and business owners spend most of their time working 'on' their business/service and little time 'in' it. They know that their role is to steer and guide the business/service and ensure its infrastructure is sound and can support its activities. They know their staffs' role is to do the doing – working in the business. What do you spend most of your time doing – working in or on the business? Take 5 minutes to complete the exercise. If the answer to a question is definitely yes, tick the box ?. If the answer is definitely no, mark it with a cross X. When you've finished the exercise, determine where you spend your time. If you find you spend most of your time working in the business, note the six steps you'll take in the next three months, to redress the balance.

In the Business

  • I do some of my staffs' work when they're busy
  • I don't like to delegate as everyone's busy and stressed
  • I find the days just fly and I don't know what I've done
  • I really enjoy doing the hands-on stuff
  • I want to keep my hand in
  • It is easier and simpler to do stuff yourself
  • I'm too busy to train and coach others
  • I don't enjoy doing the paperwork, so I leave it for as long as possible
  • I don't have the time to sit and plan – I just go with the flow
  • I believe people are much more important than paperwork
  • Planning and plans are a waste of time – things change all the time
  • I have rough plans in my head – there's no need to document them
  • I withhold information to protect my staff from difficult organisational realities
  • It isn't the right time for me to step completely away from my old role
  • I identify with the workers, not management.

On the Business

  • I develop annual action/business plans and use them to guide my activities
  • I take time out every week to think and review the service/business
  • I have systems for everything
  • I delegate appropriately and achieve through others
  • I have regular meeting times with my direct reports
  • I always involve staff in business planning
  • I regularly make myself unavailable, to spend time on important work
  • I have a clear vision and goals for the service/business
  • I prioritise tasks and focus on the important
  • I have robust risk management policies, practices and plans in place
  • I act on things, when they come to my attention
  • I know my role requires me to see the big picture and make things happen
  • I recognise 'early alert' situations and see them as symptoms of problems
  • I let my staff get on with their jobs
  • I always do 'the boring bits' of my job, because I know I need to.


I think I spend most of my time working:

  • on the business
  • in the business

The practices I want to change over the next three months are: