The clients we coach within organisations keep saying to us, “I had no idea it was going to be like this… this wasn’t what I was expecting… but I quite like it.”
And we say, “Well, you thought you were going to be working on email with us, and we are doing that, but that’s not the whole story. Our intention is to help you understand what your underlying behaviour patterns are, that show up in the way you do email, and they’re usually much deeper rooted. The good news is that if we do this, it’ll totally change the way you work and how you feel about it.”
Email as a symptom
To put it another way, the way you manage email is a symptom of what’s really going on underneath, and you can’t keep pretending those factors aren’t important.
So we look at how you do email as a way to get you to address some of your underlying working patterns.
For example, how many times do you say to someone, “I’m just so busy, I’m so sorry I couldn’t get to that, I have too much going on.”
It’s true, you may be very busy, but you’re still making choices about what you do and don’t do.
The fact that you haven’t done the thing that they wanted was a choice. Sometimes those choices are dictated by the software, like the way Outlook organises email.
But a lot of the time it’s to do with the beliefs you hold about yourself, and the feelings you’re experiencing about your work relationships.
Most of us are so focused on the immediate responsiveness of email and on the work you have to do right now, you may not be aware of the unconscious choices you’re making.
What we often say is, “You have to understand that what you believe is happening drives the feelings you’re experiencing, and that dictates the behaviours you’re displaying. That’s what’s coming out in email. That’s what’s coming out in busyness.”
Why we start with Email
The reason we start with email as a way into deeper work patterns is because it works in reverse: if you change what you do, it can alter your feelings and rewrite your beliefs.
So when we work with you on email, we save you time, we teach you techniques, but actually what we’re doing is finding a really safe way to look at your underlying patterns of behaviour.
And we move very quickly from the inbox to interpersonal relationships ie the way that you are being managed or the way that you manage people.
That brings up the beliefs that you’re holding. And whether these are helping you or hindering you.
We may uncover ways that you self-sabotage, or the things that you’re doing, without realising it, that are really really working.
It’s practical, but we also look at the role you’re here to do, where you’re heading, your confidence, and how it fits in with the rest of your life.
And yes, people often say this feels more like therapy.
We’re not actually therapists but we’re definitely very interested in this underlying stuff, as well as the actual nuts and bolts of what makes your inbox tick.
A different approach to productivity
What we offer is a slightly different approach to productivity, in helping you think through things like:
- What is the role here that you need to do?
- How do you behave, and why?
- Where are you heading?
- What about that lack of confidence that seems to be brittly running through the core of you?
- And how does this role fit in with your children’s education? And your partner’s job? Or your purpose?
And we seem to find that it works.
“Critically the changes have stuck and the programme of support has created the conditions to enable a cultural shift in the way people work”
Bristol City Council
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