What is Stress? And How Does it Affect You?

Uncategorized Oct 26, 2021

We learnt a lot about stress in 2020. In HR we’ve likely helped leaders and employees with stressful situations, as well as dealing with our own stress. 

Being stressed typically means being or feeling under pressure, often situations or events that cause our bodies to release hormones called cortisol and adrenaline. This is the body’s automatic response.

You may have heard of fight, flight, fawn or freeze – dating back to when our ancestors were faced with danger in their environment. Nowadays we are not faced with the same dangers, but our bodies react in the same way. Whether it's events – such as having to give a presentation, telling someone they are at risk of redundancy or being chased by a dog; or situations – such as intensity of work and home, juggling childcare; or overuse of social media – all can cause a stress response in the body.

Producing a small amount of these hormones isn’t harmful to most of the...

Continue Reading...

Focus on What You Can Influence

Uncategorized Oct 18, 2021

When things feel out of our control, we can become overwhelmed, anxious and frustrated.

When we focus instead on the things we can influence and control, rather than the things we can't, we change to a more positive state. 

One of my favourite tools for reducing stress and overwhelm is the Circle of Influence and Control model by Stephen Covey. This is typically used to identify obstacles and blocks in your thinking and explore options to increase your sphere of influence. It can be used on your own, with your family, or with teams. 

The aim of the Circle of Influence and Control is to help you take responsibility for your concerns and to be calmer, more proactive and productive. In doing so, you will feel happier with the current situation. 


1) Draw three circles as shown in the diagram below. Use a big piece of paper if you can. 

The outer is the Circle of Concern. Inside it, you will put all the things you are anxious, stressed,...

Continue Reading...

What Can a Coach Do For Me?

By working with a qualified coach can transform your thinking and achieve things you thought were impossible.

A qualified coach will:

  • Create an environment of trust and confidentiality, so you feel comfortable to open up, think and talk freely
  • Clarify where you are now and what changes you wish to make
  • Identify where you want to get to and why – so you know what the end goal is
  • Ask questions to increase your self-awareness, enabling you to gain new insights
  • Help identify roadblocks and ways to overcome them
  • Help reframe or challenge your thinking, so you see where you may have been hindered in the past and how to adapt or change course
  • Identify patterns of behaviour that may help or hinder you in making progress
  • Enable you to identify different, more helpful, ways of thinking, feeling, acting and behaving
  • Help you identify options and choices
  • Help you create an action plan that will create meaningful change
  • Support you and hold you accountable for the actions set
  • Help you...
Continue Reading...

Ten Questions to Ask a Corporate Coach

At Awakened Executives, we believe a coach who is charging for their services should be appropriately qualified and committed to their own development. The coaching profession is currently unregulated. So technically, anyone could sell their service as a coach, even with little or no qualifications or experience.

A good coach will follow a code of ethics, via a professional body, such as their training provider, or the International Coaching Federation (ICF) or European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC).

One method of ensuring a coach is committed to their own development is through continuing professional development (CPD) and coaching supervision.

Coaching Supervision is a collaborative learning practice to continually build the capacity of the coach. This benefits the coach and their clients.

Mentor coaching is observed coaching with feedback against a set of competencies, that sharpen the coach's skills and all-round presence.

Ten Questions to Ask a Coach:

To feel you...

Continue Reading...

Psychological Flexibility: The Key to Successful Self Leadership by Andrew Sewell


Psychological Flexibility: The Key to Successful Self Leadership 

Over the last few months, I’ve been talking a lot about psychological flexibility. For me, it’s one of the most important skills leaders can develop to survive and thrive in these uncertain and fast-changing times. It underpins both high performance and a greater sense of wellbeing.

 According to Steven Hayes, a leading voice in this area, psychological flexibility is “the ability to notice and accept the presence of negative thoughts, feelings, sensations, and still move towards what matters in life.” 

This might sound simple, but don’t underestimate its power. 

If you’re psychologically flexible, you’re able to focus on completing tasks, without succumbing to distractions. Your intrinsic motivation is high, because what you’re doing is aligned with your values and purpose. And if you do get stuck in unproductive behaviour patterns,...

Continue Reading...

Case Study: Building Healthier, Happier, High Performing Teams

Case Study: Building Healthier, Happier, High Performing Teams

Provided by Carole Berndt

For many years I had the privilege of leading the client service and implementation teams for a global financial services company. 

Faced with a decline in client satisfaction scores, delays in implementation and increasing operational error rates, the standard thinking would be to review process, invest in systems and set improvement targets.

All valid tactics, but without investment in the people, particularly those leading the teams, the tactical projects would fail to realise the full benefit.

So, while we did tweak the systems, our primary investment was in the people.

This was not the traditional training, or “off the shelf” leadership development or leadership skills programs, instead we developed a bespoke program that focused on the individual. The program provided them opportunities to improve their physical wellbeing, their mental well being and to give them tools to...

Continue Reading...

Can't Switch Off? 15 Ways to Help Reduce Stress and Reconnect

Switching off can feel somewhat of a luxury when you’re an overthinker, but even for the most relaxed of us, COVID presented us with a situation none of us were prepared for.

At the beginning of the pandemic, there was an abundance of support and ideas - from workouts to working from home advice. New hobbies, new ways of working and a feeling of being in it together.   

We continue to be faced with change and uncertainty, it is little wonder many of us are feeling demotivated and anxious, with switching off being an ongoing struggle.

Whether you’re working from home,  running a business, actively seeking work; or finding yourself twiddling your thumbs – you can find your mind is always switched on.

It’s important to keep our minds active, but the stress that comes with rarely switching off can have long term mental and physical health impacts, in addition to the impacts it can have on relationships, connection and confidence.

We have to...

Continue Reading...

Selfcare - Somewhere between selfish and selfless

selfcare wellness Oct 13, 2020

I first came across the term ‘selfcare’ in 2018, when my coach suggested I was desperately in need of some. During our first meeting, she barely had to scratch the surface and I was in tears. ‘I’m just so tired!’ I said. On my ‘plate’ was:

  • A demanding career
  • Leading a significant project
  • Managing a team
  • Being a mother of two
  • Managing a home
  • Being at risk of redundancy

I was a juggler, only without the clown costume.

Selfcare…wasn’t that another word for selfish? Lacking in consideration for others and putting your own needs before everyone else’s? Me…never.

How could I do that? People needed me. People were relying on me. I was reliable, dependable, a mother, a wife, a manager, a leadership team member.

She then explained to me that selfcare was like putting on your oxygen mask on an aeroplane before helping others. You can’t help other people if you’re not fit and well. A dictionary definition is...

Continue Reading...

Burnout - It's a real thing. How to be aware of the signs and how to prevent it.

burnout wellness Oct 13, 2020

Originally written for COACH Magazine (Edition 2, September 2019), this article provides insights and tips to be aware of the signs of burnout and how to avoid it.

With Burnout now classified by the WHO as an 'occupational phenomenon', it's crucial that people pay attention to their stress levels and seek to make changes at the first signs of negative effects.

Not knowing the signs, or ignoring them, can lead to huge impacts on your health and wellbeing, performance and productivity, and relationships.

After 20 years in HR and now running my own business, I've experienced the impacts of burnout.

At first is was brain fog and big dips in energy. I couldn't get past 2.30pm without needing to rest and was struggling to make the simplest of decisions.

I felt disconnected, was increasingly withdrawn, fraught, tearful and anxious. My motivation waned and my confidence plummeted. In the 12 months prior, I'd led an organisational change programme, trained to become an accredited coach,...

Continue Reading...

Top 5 Reasons Why Performance and Wellbeing Coaching is Essential for Senior Leaders

leadership Oct 04, 2020

As a senior leader, you’ll be well aware of the leadership challenges. The environment is often fierce. The expectations high. The pace of change incredible.

As a former HR leader in pharma, I’ve seen challenges with pressure to control costs of medicines, expiring patents, growing and shrinking R&D pipelines, pressure to control medicine costs, shrinking budgets, M&A, scrutiny from Health Authorities, the declining industry market perception from patients and consumers…and much more...that’s only skimming the surface of the internal impacts they have on all functions. Inevitably, the expectations upon leadership have continually increased and the bar has been consistently raised.

The pharma industry was impacted differently to many other industries during the pandemic, but with the spotlight now being on employee wellbeing, managing teams remotely and potential changes to policies such as flexible/remote working, many industries are expecting a lot...

Continue Reading...

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.