Rebel Diaries

Zoe Thompson - Employee Overwhelm and Burnout Post Pandemic

July 04, 2022 Zoe Thompson Episode 12
Rebel Diaries
Zoe Thompson - Employee Overwhelm and Burnout Post Pandemic
Show Notes Transcript

Zoe Thompson is a lifestyle and wellbeing coach working with individuals & employees to improve life, health & wellbeing through coaching and training services.

Zoe started her career in the Police Service working in both operational, business change and senior leadership roles.  With over 10 years of coaching and mentoring experience she is an NLP Master Practitioner (INLPTA) and an ACE (Accelerating Coach Excellence) Certified Coach with WBECs (World Business and Executive Coaching).

Zoe combines her personal and professional experiences, (including achievements as a GB competitive Strongwoman athlete) alongside her professional training to help her clients live the life they want, with confidence.

Things we discuss with Zoe Thompson

  • Why people who aren't happy at work decide to stay because it's easier to stay in their comfort zone
  • Dealing with redundancy when the choice is made for you
  • Why when you don't know what you want, everything becomes and option and that becomes overwhelming.
  • Why people are increasingly placing importance on the values and culture of where they want to work
  • How COVID made people evaluate their priorities and how restrictions affected their attitudes to work
  • The difference between counselling and coaching
  • How often it might not be a capability issue but it's actually something outside of work that is affecting their ability to be more focussed at work
  • What responsibilities an organisation has for employee wellbeing vs the employees own responsibilities
  • Why saying nothing isn't always the kindness you think it is
  • How we're not designed to deal with constant low level stress and what we are designed for instead

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Intro teaser

[00:00:28] Zoe: People who aren't happy at work and want to change and do something different it's that comfort zone isn't, it's familiar. So even when it's not working for us, what else is an option is quite often bigger, more scary than staying put.

[00:00:42] Zoe: Helping them to feel like they're taking back that control and making decisions for themselves and starting to plan out, "okay, this is where I am now this is what is happening to me, but how do I take control of this? What's in my control? What can I influence and what do I want instead?

[00:00:57] Zoe: I'm not saying for one minute, it certainly wasn't a positive experience for me, but five years on would I change it? Probably not because I, and would I go back to it? Probably not 

[00:01:09] Scott: In this episode with Zoe a lifestyle and wellbeing coach, we discuss dealing with redundancy. How COVID has forever changed many people's priorities around where and how they want to work and why saying nothing isn't always the kindness you think it is.

Main show

[00:01:23] Scott: Hi, Zoe, welcome to the Rebel Diaries podcast.

[00:01:27] Zoe: Hi, thanks for having me on.

[00:01:29] Scott: Would you mind just telling people who you are, what you do and maybe a bit of your career history or your background?

[00:01:34] Zoe: So me, in a nutshell, I am Zoe Thompson. My business is Phoenix Life and Wellbeing Coaching. It's been self-employed now for five years. 

[00:01:44] Zoe: I don't work with a particular demographic. So I work with what is described as a psychographic. So I work with people who feel stuck, frustrated, overwhelmed. I work with young people right through to adults. 

[00:01:55] Zoe: The common theme is how they feel when they first approach me and I support them getting from where they are now to where they want to get to.

[00:02:05] Zoe: Sometimes they know where they're trying to get to, and they haven't been able to get there themselves. And sometimes they don't know where they're trying to get to, but they know it's not where they are right now. So that's the type of people that I work with on a one-to-one basis. And I also work with companies.

[00:02:22] Zoe: So I work with businesses of all sizes. I offer wellbeing, coaching support as part of their employee assistance programs. So quite a lot of organizations offer counseling to support their staff and an increasing number of businesses are now offering coaching to support their individuals. And I also support their leaders as well.

[00:02:44] Zoe: So with leadership training and also leadership coaching. So there's a combination of support offered to businesses. Yeah, as I said, been doing it for five years now, prior to that, Worked with the police for 20 years and in lots of different roles. The final role that I worked in was in business change.

[00:03:02] Zoe: So I've gone from business change into personal change, but also work with companies around their business change as well because there's lots of people change within organizational change. 

[00:03:12] Scott: Change can be quite unsettling for people can't it?. So you're flown into to guide people through that change or assist them through that?

[00:03:21] Zoe: It's I guess twofold really one is helping the managers who are organizing the change or creating the change to help them to understand what's needed to get them from the A, to the B, but also how they need to show up to support their staff, getting them through that change as well. So some of it is around the organizational change and processes and different systems that they can follow.

[00:03:46] Zoe: And some of it is more about the psychological and emotional change that individuals will go through as they go from A to B. So it's being able to support those managers and the organization as a whole in how to get the best from their people as they move through that change and embed that change and evolve it as time goes on.

[00:04:07] Scott: When you say change in an organization that can mean different things to different people and depends on what that change is. It can be a positive change or it can be, "Hey, we're going through a review", which for a lot of people means, "oh, dear we were reviewed two years ago and X percent of the workforce disappeared".

[00:04:26] Scott: So do you help people with that? Have you had experience with that? I'm talking about the negative side of change.

[00:04:31] Zoe: Yeah, certainly. And it's a big part of it isn't it is that main concern of any introduction of change of "what's in it for me? And where will I end up? And what will end up happening to me? What's going to change for me?" So yeah, that supporting the individuals does come into it.

[00:04:46] Zoe: That tends to be through one-to-one coaching because it's a very individual experience, different people manage it and handle it and respond to it in different ways. So I tend to run workshops to help deliver different tools and strategies that people can use, but then also work with people on a one-to-one basis as well, so that we can get into a bit more information about what is the impact for them? What support do they need? And helping them to move through that change.

[00:05:14] Scott: So if you helped people, who've been made redundant and then have had to find a new life, a new career. That must be hard for some people who've been in a job a long time. What kind of advice do you give them? some people probably feel if they've been in a job so long, I'd imagine some people may think, "oh I'm not gonna be valuable outside. There's no world outside of this job". Is that quite a common fear that people have?

[00:05:37] Zoe: Yeah I our jobs can quite often end up being part of our identity as well. It's not just who we are. It's what we do. And the two kind of are quite intrinsically linked and I, from my own experience, I'm self-employed now because I was made redundant after 20 years. And certainly from my point of view doing what I did was a huge part of who I was.

[00:05:59] Zoe: I didn't know anything else. I was 18 when I first started. So I'd never worked for anybody else. I didn't know different organizations had different cultures. I didn't understand. And actually being outside of, what's quite a big safety net. The police service feels like a very safe place. It's a very secure place in terms of employment or always was. 

[00:06:22] Zoe: I think that "what else is out there and how do I fit into that?" I found that really difficult and probably why I ended up starting my own business, because the thought of actually working in a different organization with a different dynamic on comparison when I looked at actually, what could I do if I'd started my own business, that for me felt like the better option, but I think for a lot of people, it is their identity, it's who they are. And we spend a lot of time in work, so we need to be happy in work. That's always a big, a common theme of people who aren't happy at work and want to change and do something different. But actually it's that comfort zone isn't, it's familiar. So even when it's not working for us what else is an option is quite often bigger, more scary than staying put. But redundancy, you don't have that choice. That choice is made for you. And I think that's part of the challenge for a lot of people. It certainly was for me, is that it wasn't my decision to go. It was happening to me. It wasn't something that I felt in control of.

[00:07:22] Zoe: So a big part for me, and also a big part for people that I work with is helping them to feel like they're taking back that control and making decisions for themselves and starting to plan out, "okay, this is where I am now this is what is happening to me, but how do I take control of this? What's in my control? What can I influence and what do I want instead? So when this time period comes to an end, what am I moving towards? Where do I want to be? What do I want that to look like? What's important? What skills experience am I taking with me? And what do I wanna leave behind? "

[00:07:54] Zoe: Because there's a, there's that opportunity isn't there of actually we've all got jobs or we've all had jobs where there's big parts of that job that we would quite happily not have to do.

[00:08:05] Zoe: So you've got that opportunity to reshape and say, "okay, what do I wanna do next? And actually, what don't I want to". Which is, knowing what you want. What's negotiable, what's not negotiable. And then you can start to see what those opportunities are.

[00:08:20] Zoe: It certainly wasn't a positive experience for me, but five years on would I change it? Probably not because I, and would I go back to it? Probably not. Yeah. I think it's helping people to see that there is something positive there's opportunities and, potentially that hope of, okay, what else could you do? Cuz you almost got a blank sheet of paper now of, okay.

[00:08:40] Zoe: So this is where you're gonna be. What do you wanna make of it?

[00:08:43] Scott: You hear some people who say

[00:08:47] Zoe: Mm-hmm

[00:08:47] Scott: actually these kind of things where they're pushed is the best thing ever happened to them because otherwise they stay, as you said in that comfort zone. I'm sure for everybody, it doesn't always work out and they may go through a few other jobs before they find something that they're happy with.

[00:08:59] Scott: And do people go through, I guess they go through a process of, loss or grieving almost, or acceptance. There's a model isn't there. 

[00:09:08] Zoe: There is the Kubler Ross Change Curve. Yeah.

[00:09:11] Scott: Okay. I think someone else was talking about it. I can't remember where I heard it, but it's not necessarily a linear path.

[00:09:17] Scott: You don't, you jump back and forward on that curve. Is that right?

[00:09:19] Zoe: Yeah. So essentially for the change curve, you've got three stages. So you've got phase one, which is. Where you get the news, you and you've got denial, you've got anger, blame, resistance, quite a negative space to be in. Then phase two is the transition. So it's a lot of testing out.

[00:09:38] Zoe: It's a lot of trying something new. It's a lot about exploring what the options are, what the opportunities are. And then phase three is the acceptance and moving into dare I say it, cuz it's a horribly overused word now the new normal of being able to move forward. So I know from my own experience for me, the acceptance was quite quick of, "Okay we're doing this. I've got this many weeks notice, what am I gonna do? "Getting almost straight into rolling my sleeves up and go, okay. What am I gonna do with this? "What happened was, and for what will happen for a lot of people is the way redundancy works is it's not on your time scale.

[00:10:19] Zoe: You don't get to make the decisions. A lot of it happens to you. So I found even when I was trying to move forward, things were pulling me back into that phase one. So for a lot of people. you do bounce backwards and forwards. I described it as a bit like that game at the fair, where you've got the bungee, you are attached to a bungee cord but you've gotta try and get to the wall the other side.

[00:10:42] Zoe: And it's almost like that you're trying to get to that wall and then you just get pulled back into it. And I think that's certainly from my experience, but also that change curve for a lot of people is just focusing on phase three. What does phase three look like? What do you want it to be? And focusing on that transition phase and trying to move through that transition phase to work out what works, what doesn't work, and just keep that moving forward until you get into that acceptance and that place where you think, "okay, this is working. I can see the benefits I can see how this is going to work for me."

[00:11:19] Zoe: it's a much more positive space to be in the key is to not get stuck in any of those phases. It's to keep yourself moving, because situations will pull you back and some situations will launch you forward. So the trick is to not get stuck in any of them and to keep that focus on what it is that you do want.

[00:11:38] Zoe: Because when you don't know what you want, everything becomes an option. And then that's quite overwhelming and it's quite confusing. It's quite a frustrating place to be. So a lot of the conversations that I have with people now are helping them to shape what it is that they do want and then help them to work out.

[00:11:54] Zoe: Okay. What are the steps that they need to take to get from A, to, B essentially.

[00:11:59] Scott: And are you also helping people who actually want to make that change. So they're not being forced by redundancy, you'll have heard about the great resignation is the term that's used. Are you seeing an increase in customers who say, "actually screw this, I wanna do something else".

[00:12:16] Zoe: That's been a lot of conversations over the last 12 months and I think what's been interesting for me is that there's a big shift around organizational culture and organizational values and where organizations are heading, but also in how they're treating their people. And there's a lot of people I've seen, certainly since COVID, who have looked at what and how their company is managing their people.

[00:12:46] Zoe: And a lot of people are saying actually having had that opportunity to take a step back and have some distance and working from home. They're making decisions that are along the lines of values and needs and culture. And I haven't seen that before. I haven't seen people stepping away from that and saying, "actually, that's not, it's not a place where I want to work". And are taking themselves out of that situation to actively look for organizations that are aligned with their own personal values that have a vision or a mission that's really important to them. There's been a real shift of people making decisions that are much more kind of heart centric rather than money centric.

[00:13:26] Zoe: There's definitely a shift around that.

[00:13:28] Scott: And what's behind that. That's interesting to get into. So have organizations changed? Because of COVID is this because they've almost shown their true colors or have they been consistent what's triggered employees to think "actually, no, I'm not being treated particularly well", how is it because of COVID you think?

[00:13:45] Zoe: That's a really good question. I think what happened with COVID. Everybody was impacted by it, but everybody responded to it in very different ways. I think what happened with COVID is that people, it almost hit the pause button for a lot of people, whether they wanted the pause button hit or not.

[00:14:03] Zoe: And I think a lot of people were put in a position where they had to make decisions around. What is important to them? what decisions do you make? And I think, when you look at how people responded to lockdowns. A lot of the conversations that I was having with people at that time was around you'll notice now that you might not be able to fulfill your needs, how you normally would, that you'll have certain things that are really important to you that will be challenged because of restrictions or laws that are coming into place. 

[00:14:33] Zoe: So I think a lot people became much more aware of what's important to them.

[00:14:37] Zoe: What do they need? When we were only allowed out once a day for our daily walk, for some people that prompted the opportunity to go, "oh, I've not done this before, but I'm going to make sure that I do that" and found the benefits for it. And there were some people that felt very restricted by that.

[00:14:54] Zoe: So I think there were a lot of people that really had that space to think about, "okay, what's important to me? I can't see family. How important are family to me? I can't socialize with people. How important is that to me? I can't go to the gym. That is important to me". 

[00:15:10] Zoe: So I think a lot of people really had time to think and decide what's more important where when those decisions were made and I think the how companies manage things. And I think we saw on social media a lot in those early days of COVID people were talking about how companies were responding to it. People were looking at how, in terms of furlough arrangements or how people were protecting their staff or looking after their staff companies that weren't doing well were all over social media and LinkedIn where people were discussing now is this the way you are managing your company?

[00:15:47] Zoe: And I think that it really increased the awareness, people aren't just choosing about where to spend their money. They're also choosing where they want to put their time and their energy. And ultimately from a work point of view, that's what we're doing. We are giving our time, our energy, our focus in exchange for money.

[00:16:05] Zoe: And I think people are much more aware of that. And I think also people have realized that when you couldn't go anywhere or spend any money suddenly having a really high paid job. It wasn't a benefit because there was nowhere to go there was no expensive holidays to go on. You couldn't drive your car anywhere, there, all of these things that people work hard for these benefits, they weren't a benefit.

[00:16:27] Zoe: I think there's just been a real shift for lots of for lots of different reasons. It's probably a podcast in itself, I would imagine, but there's just been a, I think there's definitely been a real shift in terms of that social awareness of how do people treat their people? How are people looking after the environment?

[00:16:44] Zoe:  There were lots of discussions around that as well. So I think there's just been a real shift in people have had time to think, I don't think people had that time before. And I think people have just become more aware.

[00:16:54] Scott: Yeah, it's almost people were in the just automatic pilot. It's like, get up, shove some food in the commute to work nine to five commute home, the rat run. But then there's just this cycle. It's like a circuit breaker. Wasn't it? It's like suddenly, no, this is no longer happening this way.

[00:17:11] Zoe:  We took away what was familiar so there was that external out of the comfort zone, the unknown, that fear zone, and everybody just wanted to get back. Everybody was talking about "when we can do this again, when we can get back to this", and the longer time went on, the more comfortable that fear zone got, the more familiar that fear zone got.

[00:17:33] Zoe: And then we got to that point where it was like, "okay, now we're gonna go back". And everybody was like go back. What are we going back for?" Like hybrid working and working from home and not having to commute and people being able to do the school run and people being able to go and work out at lunch times, people were, "we don't wanna go back we're actually quite happy with how things are evolving". 

[00:17:54] Zoe: And so then these conversations about hybrid working of finding the best way forward. And you. For a manager, those conversations of find out from your individuals, what do they need? What atmosphere, what environment, what situation do they need to be an a high performing member of staff.

[00:18:14] Zoe: Cause ultimately as a business, that's what you want. Isn't it, you want happy high performing people so how do you create that environment for them? It's a hybrid working. Isn't it. So you take then take that choice away from people. People say you are not doing it, but this company over here is so see you later".

[00:18:30] Scott: Yeah, it's opened up people can work for an employer that's on the other side of the country or a different part of the world now. 

[00:18:37] Scott: During lockdown I went and became self-employed as well, the thing I do miss the most certainly being self-employed at the moment is having a team around me all the time and being able to bounce ideas off and those social interactions. I Video calls just don't quite cut it. So I guess if I was back in that situation, I'd probably be keen to have the flexibility, to have the choice of both actually, and say, I don't wanna be a hundred percent remote, but when there's a time that it's good to come together as a team and it works for everybody, then let's do that. 

[00:19:05] Zoe: Yeah. 

[00:19:05] Scott: Cause I think some people also you've heard, found comfort actually being able to be at home and not being out.

[00:19:10] Scott: You know, some people don't like the hustle and bustle and the noise of the world, do they? everyone's a bit different aren't they, in terms of respond? 

[00:19:17] Zoe: And you've got some people who, whose home environment isn't set up for a remote working. And actually it is, I think it is important. It is a very individual conversation to understand, it's not ideal for everybody. And also there are benefits to getting everybody around the table and having those conversations.

[00:19:34] Zoe: I think it is a very individual requirement. I think it's that a reasonable adjustment. Isn't it? Almost of "okay where do we meet people in the middle of what the business needs, but also what individuals need and how do you make that work?" There's definitely benefits of putting people around the table and having those conversations and engaging with people in that way.

[00:19:56] Zoe: And online also has its benefits in terms of efficiency. So certainly pros and cons.

[00:20:03] Scott: There's a line between counseling and coaching. Are you a qualified counselor as well? Or are you, do you no, but do you find sometimes people almost, you get drawn into that side? Is it quite difficult and maybe for listeners, just what's your definition of the difference between the two.

[00:20:22] Zoe: So if I'll start with the definition and then people understand what my perspective on it is. So we counselors and coaches. Can be seen. Both of them can be seen as a form of talking therapy, because ultimately you are talking things through from my perspective, we both start from the present counselors, go back to find out why you are or where you are.

[00:20:44] Zoe: And from coaching a coaching perspective, we look at where you are now and where do you want to get to and how do you move forward? So counseling is present, looking back to understand. why you are where you are or how you've got there. And coaching is where are you now and where do you want to be? And both, counseling will help you to move forward.

[00:21:07] Zoe: And also coaching occasionally goes back to understand the learning. To help you to move forward. So some people do use it as a form of talking therapy. I think from a coach's perspective, there's a, there's ethics and different things that we sign up to that for us, it's quite a clear line of actually that's.

[00:21:27] Zoe: That's not, this is not a space. I'm not a professional that is able to support you in the best possible way. And so I do refer people to counselors and quite often in initial inquiries, I'll have conversations with people. And sometimes I will say, "okay, I think perhaps explore counseling. And then when you feel that some of the historic things have been understood and resolved, then you can come through for coaching". 

[00:21:54] Zoe: And so I do work with people who do both. They'll see counselors to, to go back. And then they'll see me the following week planning and moving things forward. So they can go hand in hand quite nicely. For me, it's quite a clear line. Certainly any in terms of diagnoses medical, mental health illness diagnoses are certainly better placed with mental health professionals.

[00:22:18] Zoe: Also the mental health wellbeing, the prevention, and looking after yourself firmly comes in with coaching too. So there's lots of overlaps. I think it's very much around the ethics of each individual to do what's best for the person that's in front of them and not step into a space where we're not qualified or trained.

[00:22:37] Scott: And you cover lifestyle as well. It's not just about business, but obviously somebody's performance at business is gonna be intrinsically linked into their 

[00:22:48] Zoe: Yeah, Absolutely. From my point of view. Wellbeing is almost the golden thread. It's that element of the wellbeing for businesses is the same as wellbeing for individuals, for you to perform well. You need to look after your mental, physical, and emotional health, it's that day to day show up it has that knock on impact for everything and the same for staff as well.

[00:23:08] Zoe: So certainly when I'm coaching with individuals in organizations, wellbeing is part of that, of how are they looking after themselves and what support do they need to be able to do that? Because quite often that's what is impacting their work. It's not necessarily that there's a capability issue. It's that there's something else that's going on outside of work that actually some support to help them to work through that helps them to show up and be more focused when they're in work.

[00:23:34] Zoe: And from a one-to-one point of view. It's quite often the same thing is, the lack of energy, the lack of focus, the lack of, or lethargy in terms of wanting to do the things that they want to do quite often comes down to a very full stress bucket and not looking after themselves and in what they eat and sleep and rest.

[00:23:54] Zoe: Busy is good if you are busy with the things that are important to you, and it's the things that align with, what's important to you, the values and all of those things.

[00:24:02] Zoe: But when you are busy with things that aren't important to you, that's when often the stress and the overwhelm and burnout comes into it as well. 

[00:24:09] Zoe: So people need to look after themselves to be able to move themselves forward and get what they want from life. And we only get one go at it but depending on what your beliefs are.

[00:24:19] Scott: Yeah, do you think there's an increasing blurring line with companies and their responsibility for their employee's wellbeing? Versus the employee's personal responsibility for wellbeing? 

[00:24:33] Zoe: I think it's it. It's difficult. Isn't it? because, when I work with managers, I'm really clear in helping them how they word things and how they go into these one-to-ones with staff to say, "this is not about you rolling your sleeves up and fixing people this is about you giving people the support to do what they need to do to help themselves". 

[00:24:58] Zoe: Even just the wording of, "Okay. What do you need from me to support you to do that?" As opposed to, "okay, what can I do to help you?" Because it's not that individual as a manager, it's not the manager's responsibility to help that person get from A to B. We can support people to get from A to B, but we need to be, hands off and giving that support, that guidance. We can't do it for them. You can't force people forward, you can't force people to make changes. I think it's really important for organizations to provide support.

[00:25:34] Zoe: I think in terms of what else is available in the pressures on the NHS waiting lists are huge. So I think it's balancing. How do you support your staff? There's definitely a, real change in what staff need, what support staff need. But I think if you've got it's balancing, isn't it. If you've got a member of staff out sick for six months, what's the cost to the organization.

[00:25:58] Zoe: And I think the last figure I saw is that for every pound invested in mental health support, it's a seven times return on that investment. So there's an element of as an organization, as a business, you want high performing people who are there and who are present. So if you are losing money or it's a cost to your business because people are absent or they are there, but they're not present or focused or getting as much done as they could, then there's a cost to the business. So providing some support to help people with that probably speeds the process up of getting them back or moving them forward to where you want them to be. Is it the company's responsibility? I think it's definitely a joint responsibility because there's individual personal responsibility, but there's also that duty of care as well. And I think that's where finding that balance between what do you do as an organization where is your responsibility as a manager? And then, where is that individual taking responsibility? 

[00:26:58] Zoe: And I think it needs to be almost met halfway of when that individual steps forward to say," I need some support. I can't do this on my own". Then the business, the manager can then enable that if you've got an individual that's not willing to step forward, then that's part of that personal responsibility isn't it? I won't make a very good HR manager. Would I?

[00:27:18] Scott: Some of those personal difficulties and mental health challenges will be triggered by things at home and outside of the workplace. And that's where I guess it is tricky and some managers might find that difficult then in a conversation, if an employee reveals that kind of stuff, they might like, "whoa, I dunno how to deal with this."

[00:27:38] Scott: But equally there's the duty of care as you said for the organization to make sure that their employees are being treated fairly, and well by their managers and their colleagues, and a lack of action to deal with that and stamp that out absolutely is. And I say the organ, I always say the organization as if it's this big faceless thing.

[00:27:58] Scott: So I'm gonna specifically say the leaders in that organization to take action and get rid of bad behavior, but I've seen that doesn't often happen. So what you I'd imagine is going on to some organizations it's creating this mental health problem for employees and the organization's going, "oh, our employees have got mental health problems."

[00:28:15] Scott: Let's bring in some people to help that and not actually fix the root of the problem in 

[00:28:19] Zoe: Yeah, Yeah, absolutely and I think that's the challenge, isn't it of where, what is the root of the problem? And coaching counseling can help the individual with that, but as a business organization and you're talk, it is it's the responsibility of the team leaders and the managers to identify when there's a problem and it is difficult. And a lot of the, I get requests for, managing conflict training or helping managers to have those difficult conversations. Saying nothing isn't always the kindness that people think it is. Actually sometimes those early intervention conversations, are much kinder, even when they're uncomfortable, they're much kinder than not doing anything because these things escalate really quickly and these things take a long time for people to recover from, you talk to people, who've had a bad boss 20 years ago.

[00:29:13] Zoe: They still remember very clearly those interactions and how those interactions felt. And then they'll go into future managers expecting and, they will respond in a different way. It's very hard to undo. It's very easy to allow to happen and very hard to undo. So it's, it is individual responsibility for managers and also team members.

[00:29:34] Zoe: It's the whole ethos of a team is working together and bringing people up and helping support each other. That actually, it's just as important for individuals to call it out too. 

[00:29:46] Scott: Any common themes that are running with your clients on an individual basis? 

[00:29:52] Zoe: I think it's fairly different because of the nature of the work that I do. And so a lot of coaches work with a particular demographic or a particular challenge. So I think if you were asking different coaches, they have a niche for a particular individual or a particular niche to a particular challenge.

[00:30:11] Zoe: I tend to work with people who have lots going on, even though quite often, when you peel back those it's one thing that, or two things that are at the core that are then having the impact across different areas. Uh, I think stress managing stress. That's definitely something that comes up quite a lot.

[00:30:30] Zoe: That overwhelm of feeling like they have to do everything and they have to do everything really well and finding ways to offset that. That's definitely a common theme quite often, people don't know how to manage it. I think we lost a lot of that resilience with COVID and working from home.

[00:30:51] Zoe: Like you, you were describing that, being on that hamster wheel, that was very normal for people. It was very normal to get up at. Very early to commute to sit in traffic, to get into work, to work in a very busy office, with lots of people and then commute home and then do everything else it needs doing.

[00:31:09] Zoe: So people were really resilient to being on that hamster wheel. And then. COVID stopped that. And the hamsters got all cozy of getting up half an hour before you have to log on and being able to go for a walk at lunchtime and being able to balance and find that balance. And I think that's the shift at the moment is people are finding it really hard to find a new balance that works for them in this new world, of this new world of hybrid working or, some people have had to go back into the offices four days a week, even five days a week, it is, it's a change. It's that transition. And you think change curve again, people are still trying to test out what works, what doesn't work. I think there's a lot of the stress, the overwhelm burnout at the moment, people are saying like, I'm tired, but I've had Jubilee weekend off I've had four days off and I still feel as tired as I did on the Thursday before and that's burnout. No, that's that constant low level chronic stress that we are not designed as humans to deal with. We're designed for those spikes and then that recovery. And I think that's a lot of the problem at the moment is that chronic low level stress that people aren't able to manage and work through.

[00:32:21] Scott: And you hear people get affected by social media and the news as well, with the war going on and the cost of living, that's just adding to that pressure for people isn't it?

[00:32:31] Zoe: And it is, it's the response that we have as well. Our brains don't know the difference between reality and what we read and what we see. So we still feel those emotional responses, whether it's happening to us or not. And it's the fear as well. When you talk about cost of living there's a lot of people who've not had to worry about these things before that are now starting to either having to worry about them now, or there's that fear when the prices go up again at the end of the year or next year, there's that fear of what next?" there's that fear of the unknown. And we respond to that. We have that emotional response to that. Whether we are reading it on Twitter or LinkedIn, or whether somebody's talking about it, we get that very real, emotional response even though we know we're perfectly safe. It's not a threat to life for a lot of us, but then it is for some, so even reading about it on social media or watching it in the news and they know they love the fear factor. Don't they fear factor. The fear factor is great for getting us to click through and read the articles or watch the news clip.

[00:33:35] Zoe: And that's how mainstream media works. So we we get drawn into that. We get the emotional responses to that. And again, we've got another stress response that our body has to deal with and that's before we've even got up and got outta bed in the morning.

[00:33:49] Scott: That's the worst thing isn't it looking at your phone before you get out of bed or while you're in bed or you do it when you go to bed at night and in your phone, and then it's there. They advise to take, keep out the room. 

[00:34:01] Scott: So have you got any kind of top tips that you give people who are dealing with this stress and overlaid any

[00:34:06] Zoe: yeah. I 

[00:34:06] Zoe: think, and it 

[00:34:07] Scott: or is it different for each person?

[00:34:08] Zoe: There's definitely lots of very general. General things that everybody could be doing. And then there's then speaking to individuals and working out what the triggers are for them and how they want to respond to it and helping them with the tools. But I think there's definitely things that we could all be doing more of sleep is.

[00:34:26] Zoe: You mentioned then about scrolling before bed. A lot of problems would feel a lot better. And, in terms of our physical health, our mental health and our emotional health is one of the biggest factors in that if we all just had quality sleep and maybe even just one more hour, that a lot of things would improve our focus, our attention, what we retain, that brain fog, all of those things all down to sleep.

[00:34:52] Zoe: What a lot of people do is they're really busy right up until, "oh god, it's 11 o'clock. I need to be going to bed". And then they'll almost hit the pillow at 60 miles an hour, like an emergency stop rather than slowing down as the evening goes on, is that it seems like such simple, such basic things, but helping people to integrate that in and make it happen.

[00:35:15] Zoe: I think everybody knows. They need to eat well. They need to exercise and be active. They need to sleep well. We all know that. how do you make that happen on a day to day basis? That's the challenge is how are you consistent with that when life has other plans?

[00:35:31] Scott: It's trying to build healthy habit's isn't it?

[00:35:32] Zoe: Yeah. James Clear's Atomic Habits is such a great book for that reason, because it's the small things that we do on a day to day basis that we almost don't need to think about. Don't need to put any energy into, if we can nail those things down, it really does take care of a lot of the bigger stuff, but we think we need to focus on the big stuff and then break it down.

[00:35:52] Zoe: Whereas it's the little things have the impact.

[00:35:55] Scott: Brilliant. Thank you. So you've mentioned a book there. One of the things I ask all my guests at the end of the show, if you could take one book with you to a desert island and you're trapped for life. So we've had some people say they want a raft building guide. I say you can't have that, cuz you're not getting off the island.

[00:36:10] Scott: So what would it be?

[00:36:11] Zoe: Oh, A book to read over and over again. That's a difficult one because I read to learn and then I read to relax. So do I wanna learn on an island or do I wanna relax on an island? That's such a good question. The book that I recommend to everybody is the Chimp Paradox.

[00:36:30] Zoe: So Dr. Steve Peters. Could I read that over and over again though? That's the question. If I just had one book. Yeah. There's always something to learn. Isn't there, there is always something to learn. 

[00:36:42] Scott: So if anybody wants to work with you, how do they get hold of you? 

[00:36:45] Zoe: The best way is to probably head straight to the website, which is There's links in there. There's lots of free resources. And there's also a link there to book in a call if anybody wants to have a chat and that's a free, no obligation clarity call, just to talk things through.

[00:37:04] Zoe: So yeah, head to the website and the information's all there.

[00:37:07] Scott: Great. I'll put that link in the show notes. 

[00:37:09] Scott: Zoe, thank you so much for taking part in this show. It's been great to have you on. 

[00:37:12] Zoe: Thanks for having me.

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