CS1- Work Challenge

We are all individuals. These case studies are indicative of the kinds of issues that may arise. In all cases, the response is client tailored.


Career challenges are many and varied. In this example, the client is feeling very stuck and unable to move forward. This is overwhelmingly  frustrating for them because they have high expectations and not being able to reach them is causing stress.

Despite having work based coaching and personally funded counselling, the client has been unable to  resolve the tension between themselves, their peers and their bosses, before seeing me.

My initial response

This client was a strong character and so it was important to gather an understanding of their frustrations and to describe the key ‘Stressors’ in their life. Clients often find this challenging and so it was achieved through the Stress Test (see side bar).

From this process it became possible to understand the short term responses that the client was adopting. They were working harder and longer hours; were being demanding on their staff and colleagues; and complained that they were spending a lot of time explaining themselves to others. This was the wisdom that brought understanding to the clients situation.

Once we had practiced calming exercises, the client was able to explain and highlight more succinctly and with more responsibility (which is healthily different to blame) what was happening for them. This led in to a focus on their clear goals and priorities, which further calmed them.

Follow up

In order to shape those goals more holistically, we then undertook an Emotional Needs Audit (see side bar). This further helped to uncover, not just what the client needed to address to be emotionally and mentally healthy, but it also uncovered the clients gifts, strengths and talents, all collective termed their ‘Resources’. We all need good methods to be healthy.

This strengths based approach enabled us to co-operate and realise that the client had not be taking into account the response of his colleagues to his stress. They realised that they had failed to mutually co-operate with them and had failed to communicate their purpose and objectives in a way that made good sense to their work colleagues. This caused conflict.

We then described the better and more useful ways to approach their life, especial work. Together we rehearsed and practiced better responses, which I was then able to support them in delivering or implementing the new ways.


Once we stepped back and surveyed the results it became apparent that not only had the client become more calm and suitably focused, but that their colleagues were now responding to them in a more mutually supportive and beneficial way.

This was a contributing factor to them being chosen to move on to an accelerated leadership program.

Note: This case study demonstrates RIGAARIS (see side bar) in action.




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CS2 – Relationship Breakdown

We are all individuals. These case studies are indicative of the kinds of issues that may arise. In all cases, the response is client tailored.

Professional Married Couple

This case involved two clients, married partners, with children. Both have good jobs, but do not seem to have enough time for each other or to meet what they perceive are the demands of family, career and business life.

The couple were referred to me by a third party. Like most of my clients, they did not need a ‘voyage of discovery discussion’. They knew they were stressed and had researched many options.

My Initial Response

I sent them and they completed the Stress Test (see side bar). This prompted the initial discussion and clarification of core issues or ‘Stressors’, before the first session, in which the clients short term responses were identified. The healthy responses were to: focus on being effective at work; speaking (or at least shouting at each other) and remaining attentive to the children.

What was less healthy (or unhealthy) was that: there was no time for their individual needs; they were spending more time apart and; when they did engage with friends, it was to complain about things.

We worked on becoming calm and explored what ‘Impacts’ each of the ‘Stressors’ had on their lives. We explored how they viewed themselves and the rules and standards by which they lived their lives. Insights from this activity brought immediate relief, calmness and the spare capacity to pause and start co-operating, with me and each other.

Follow Up

Each client then considered the Emotional Needs Audit (see side bar) with me and we built a plan for them to each individually ‘get their needs met’.

This was backed up by two joint sessions in which the clients begin to negotiate (i.e.co-operate) with each other to  get the marriage and family needs met. This did need some planning and practice, which I supported them both with.


The family became calmer and more mutually supportive. One of the partners chose to work further with me on a life-long leadership coach and advance in their careers. Both felt approaching me on an ‘as and when’ basis, for example when the teenage children became a challenge or when one of their parents passed away. The family has successfully move on.





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CS3 – Financial Strains

We are all individuals. These case studies are indicative of the kinds of issues that may arise. In all cases, the response is client tailored.

Struggling Parent

This client came to  see me concerned and stressed about how unmanageable their lives had become because of financial worries. Although they earnt a reasonable salary, there was always more month left at the end of their pay.

Even through they had taken other financial management advice and support, they still could not manage.

My initial response

In this case the client needed a good listening to. They were intellignet, eloquent and clear on their responsiblites, therefore, we talked through the Stress Test (see side bar) and completed it together. This provided us the opportunity to explore what was important to them.

It became apparent that the core ‘Stressor’ was the wish to have the latest technology and ensure that the family always had the latest best quality branded clothes and the like.

The short term responses were to spend more time at the pub, drinking to much and buying rounds of drinks for their friends. The benefit was that this distracted them from their stress, temporarily.

The ‘Impacts’ were that drinking was both expensive and made the financial position worse, but the drink side effects also that it meant their work performance and quality of relationships became fraught.

Follow Up

The clients pattern(s) of behaviour had become so ingrained that the first session focused on the core beliefs that kept the behaviour in place. As we stated to discuss them and share insights, the client was able to uncover the contradictions between their values and actions.

This enabled us to then turn attention to the Emotional Needs Audit (see side bar) and identify the core areas that needed to be followed up. As this client was a very logical processor, we invested time of ensuring that their goals and priorities were concretely agreed (see side bar RIGAARIS).

We worked together on ‘psychoeducation’, which is that although in this case the client did not need to draw down on my financial expertise, they did need to learn more about how their patterns of feeing, thinking and acting were individually and personally developed for them.


The client became calmer, more accepting of their current constraints and the need to be measured.  They then directed their efforts and energies towards their family and bundling a career, which developed into a successful business of their own, which continues to meet both their own and their family’s needs.


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CS4 – Serious Health Scare

We are all individuals. These case studies are indicative of the kinds of issues that may arise. In all cases, the response is client tailored.


This client was ordinarily a calm and competent operator, successful both in their home, personal and work life. However, they had now had news about their health which was going to have a very profound impact on their life. They would need to have serious medical issues and may need to change their life going forward.

They were referred to me by a previous client who felt that I could help them make the transition, not just through the invasive medical procedures, but also during their recovery and then after into their new life.

My response

Clients all have different needs and the process is always tailored. In this case, there was less need to conduct a Stress Test, as the elements of concern were very apparent. Instead we invested our time in exploring the values and beliefs that the client had around her health and the forthcoming process.

Although the client was not religious and did not have any particular spiritual practices, I was able to explain that a pragmatic approach to spirituality, is to focus on making good sense of the life, have a clear purpose and to work in co-operation with those around us.

In that respect, we worked to develop a plan and set of tools that would help them be calm, stay focused and ensure that they took as much command of their situation as they could.

Follow up

What slowly became apparent was that the client had suffered a number of traumatic events in her life (see). As can sometimes happen, these trauma’s became ‘re-lived’ as a result of the new trauma that arose.

We discussed that right approach and agreed that I would refer the client for trauma resolution. In this case the organisation who assessed the client felt co in referring the client back to me for that work. Sometimes there are other referral organisations whom are equally well suited to helping the client.

The process of healing the trauma (relieving it rather than re-living it) included conducting the Emotional Needs Audit (see sidebar). This has become the process by which we can make sure that the client can suitably arrange and plan their future life.


The client has comfortably moved through their medical challenge and the initial phase of recovery, and now we are working together to ensure that they adjust to their new life, get her needs met and remain as successful as she was originally.


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CS5 – Executive Board Conflict

We are all individuals. These case studies are indicative of the kinds of issues that may arise. In all cases, the response is client tailored.


A middle aged executive who found that there had been a recent change to the composition of the Board. This meant that several members of the Board they had grown up with, and been mentored by, had retired. New members had joined and this a source of conflict.

The client was very much respected, but was referred to me because they were struggling with the change in culture, by the new CEO of the organisation..

My initial response

The Stress Test (see side bar) was conducted and it was clear that the client was a little resistant (which they later acknowledged) and could not acknowledge that any of the stressors they were currently experiencing where their responsibility (part of my client psychoeducation is to show the difference between ‘blame’ and ‘responsibility’).

However, as we shared ideas and experience’s, the client  became more self-aware of their influence over the situation and slowly stated to make clearer links to how their current actions and behaviours (short term responses) may not have been helping the situation.

Eventually the client made clear statements on what their core values were, what they planned to achieve and how they would start to build relationships with their new team. Experienced executives often have the ability to both be single minded and then flexible, the art of therapeutic coaching becomes helping them chose when to use which.

Follow Up

This client was very experienced in coaching techniques and it made sense for us to focus on a pragmatic and straightforward exchange of ideas. In this instance, because these was a referral from the organisation, I was given permission to mediate between the board and the client.

Each organisation and individual has a set of needs and values, so we worked through an Emotional Need Audit (see side bar) and spotted where there were tensions and conflicts, which we mediated a plan through.


In this case, the client was able to resolve his position in the Board and moved on to be an ongoing active part of the organisation.

There has been other circumstances in which it is apparent that the executive no longer has a cultural or strategic fit with the board. This sometimes happens and is not a reflection on the skills abilities or experience of the executive, but simply a complex situation.

Sometimes it is time to move on or transit into something different, which is part of the work that I do with experienced executives.

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CS6 – Family Life Balance

We are all individuals. These case studies are indicative of the kinds of issues that may arise. In all cases, the response is client tailored.


This client came claiming the their Work-Life Balance was ‘out of sync’. They were feeling pressure from many sides and were struggling to meet the demands placed on them from their strained resources, which is a simple, straightforward explanation of what stress is.

What was very clear was that the client was very confused and feeling unable to make any decisions or focus their attention. They had already taken the free Stress Test (see side bar), but that they wanted to be successful, but did not know where to start.

My Initial Response

The advantage of being a therapeutic coach rather than being a counsellor, is that I can provide guidance and psychoeducation. In this case, the client was creating even more stress adopting an unhealthy definition of work-life balance, which is having an appropriate ‘division of one’s time and focus between working and family or leisure activities’.

However, what is normally at the root of the challenge is that the stressed person has failed to focus on their needs, and the interface of getting this needs met with in the context of their work and family. It often means that the goals and priorities have not been properly negotiated and communicated.

We started with an Emotional Needs Audit (see side bar) and being to see where conflicts and tension shad started to develop. This allowed the client to reconsider carefully the nature of the stressors and explain that to those around them more clearly.

Follow up

What became apparent was that this client did not really understand why they had struggled. In this instance, I explored the following:

  1.  What knowledge did the client need to have or skills they needed to develop to understand and explain their challenges. In this case it was to deepen their understanding of their emotional needs.
  2.  When then looked at the works and family environment and identified key areas that needed to be addressed, but what was apparent was that the client had suffered ….
  3.  A trauma two years previously that had been unaddressed. Using a quick and simple, gentle and effective Trauma Response we able to calm and to reset their focus and calm demenaour.


The client simple found that they were able to re-engage their natural gifts, strengths and talents, being their resources, so that they were (as it was described), back to their ‘old self’.


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CS7 – Struggling Business Worries

In progress

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CS8 – Career Progress

In progress

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AA1 – RIGAARIS Process

Keith has been working in Stress Management for over 20 years and has evolved a straightforward process from his experience, training and research, which he terms RIGAARIS.

This process sets the frame around which you and Keith will negotiate your personal way forward. The 8 aspects of the RIGAARIS process are normally delivered over 5 stages (and may typically take 5-6 sessions or less, depending on the clients needs and progress).


1. Rapport & Information gathering

The client sessions are designed to be efficient and effective, starting with the initial consultation and assessments, which  enable Rapport to be built and sufficient Information gathered for an understanding of the stressors and their impacts to be understood.

Please act now and request your: Stress Test, Emotional Needs Audit and/or Mental Well-being Appraisal (see side bar).

2. Getting Calm, Goal setting & Agreeing priorities

The next session focuses on getting calm so that Goals can be set and priorities agreed. After that, the Clients reosurces, including their gifts, strengths and talents (see blog on resources).

3. Access resources & Rehearse responses

The skill of an experienced therapeutic coach, is that they can not only bring their insight to clients, who have often forgotten the wealth of resources they have available to them, but that the coach can lend their spare capacity to the client; that is their physical time, calmness, thinking and solutions, abilities and focuses. This includes confidence building techniques.

4. Implement

The therapeutic coach also has the spare capacity to support the client ‘in action’ that is in implementing the agreed actions. This enables the client to be supported as they gain confidence and reassert themselves over their circumstances.

5. Survey the results

Progress is monitored, often by re-taking a Stress Test, and/or an Emotional Needs Audit and/or a Mental Well-being Appraisals. Much of the work is anecdotal, in that the client begins to feel and report more effective ways. Even so, the closing session will check and consolidate all the changes and ensure that a continued way forward is plotted.








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AA2 – Stress Test (ST)


Healthy vs Unhealthy Stress?

How do you handle stress and pressure? What is stopping you from progressing? How do you move from stress to success?

There is a healthy level of stress, termed ‘Eustress’, that enables us to ‘get things done’.

The art of managing stress is to spot or know the tipping point from healthy stress into ‘Distress’ and to stay healthy before tipping.

A very common and normal process

Everyone has stress. People pretty much know that they are stressed when they are. Between worrying about paying your bills, enjoying your social life, problems with work, concerns about family members, day to day hassles, and difficult people in your life, there is a lot to be stressed about.

We have all survived. No matter how difficult it has been, to this point, we have all survived. Very well done!

This is because we evolve stress coping mechanisms. Sometimes they are responses which are adopted and implemented instinctively, which become embedded as automatic patterns of feeling, thinking and behaving in response to stressors. this can be very helpful.

What is the problem?

Stress tends to be reactive. The question for me, as your therapeutic coach, is are those coping mechanisms healthily, efficiently and effectively doing what they were intended to? The art of coping well is in having productive patterns or systems of coping.

Rather than tell you that you are stressed (to which most people respond, “yes, now tell me something that I do not know.”), this measure looks at how you are coping with the stressors in your life.

Now what?

The mere presence of stress does not imply something problematic. The key is how you react to the stress. The results will give you an assessment of how well you are coping. You will receive information on how healthy your coping strategies are.

See side bar for the stress test.

Disclaimer: This assessment is not intended to provide a psychological or psychiatric diagnosis and your completion of the test does not indicate a professional therapeutic or coaching relationship with the administrators of the test.

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