Overcoming stress

Derek's challenge

Derek is an Engineer and is expected to work abroad for several weeks at a time. As a father of four children and with a baby on the way, Derek came to coaching because he was stressed due to the burden of demands from both family and work. He had some major decisions to make as he and his partner prepared for the new baby, but stress was making it too difficult for him to make a decision.

Coaching process

We looked at how Derek prioritised his life and identified family and financial stability as the most important areas of his life. This was an important step, because these priorities dictate how Derek makes decisions in life, consciously or unconsciously. 


Derek wanted to get control over his time and to manage overwhelm as he was trying to please different people in his family. We identified how he managed his time and discussed the importance of spending time on activities that mattered to Derek (high importance), but are not urgent (low urgency). We linked these activities to Derek's priorities of family and financial stability. To reduce stress and overwhelm, Derek could choose to focus on these high importance/low urgency activities.


In addition, we discussed how Derek was talking to himself. Through a homework exercise, Derek noted times where he was speaking negatively to himself and took responsibility for how that made him feel. 


Finally, as Derek faced a major decision, we discussed the problem he faced and talked through the various options open to him. We looked at the most important factors that would influence his decision in this situation.

Results for Derek

Derek found that the time management exercise helped him prioritise his time much better. He was able to reduce activities that left him feeling drained and stressed and consequently, he felt more better and relaxed.


Derek realised he was creating a lot of pressure on himself in the expectations he set for himself and in how he talked to himself. He took responsibility for how that made him feel and identified ways to reduce the pressure on himself. Derek started to see things more positively. 


Derek had a major decision to make which directly affected his family. When he realised the most important factors in making this decision and explored the options, he saw the problem clearly. This paved the way for productive discussions with his partner and they were then able to make the decision which positively affected family life.