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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Palmer

Stop the Spin

Stop the spin. I had an almost perfect coaching session last week. It was a high potential, junior manager who was struggling with her leadership and being of service to her manager. She was plagued by doubt, feeling overwhelmed and not feeling like she was prioritizing the right work. At the same time, she wanted to add value to her manager and not ask too many questions or share her frustrations. “She already has so much on her plate.”

In these sessions, a coach can add value in terms of seeing the underlying issues and the root causes without the cloud of emotion or politics. I like to call myself a ‘perspectives coach’ because I offer a different perspective, through a different lens, based on my experience. It doesn’t make my perspective right; it is just an alternative to the narrative we develop for ourselves.

I asked a few questions to ground ourselves in fact vs self-talk:

  • Had anyone said or insinuated that she was not performing well or up to her potential?

    • No, no one had said anything of the sort.

  • Had she received any feedback from her team members that they felt unsupported or needed something different from her?

    • No, all of the feedback from her co-workers was positive and appreciative.

  • What would her manager say if she knew that she was not approaching her because ‘she already has so much on her plate’?

    • She would say that it is her job to lead and guide and that she should never hesitate to ask for support.

  • What would she coach a colleague if they came to her with the same concerns or doubts?

    • Talk to your manager, ask for support, do your best and then work on doing better.

We tell ourselves stories. We get in our own way. We project. That is where coaching can work its best: to notice the signs of spin and swirl, to see situations with clarity, to provide support and a differing point of view.

In the end, we walked away with some reminders (mantras) that may help you navigate your Oh Sh*t Moments:


And if you need perspective or to stop the spin, let’s talk. It’s what I do best.

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