Posted on May 12, 2017 by Heather
On the occasion of Mother’s Day (celebrated this coming Sunday in many countries), I thought it would be pertinent to write about some of the Coaching tools and techniques that can be applied to motherhood.
This is an obvious one, as the first thing which disappears when you have a baby, is time. I look back on my single days with a mixture of envy and fascination – what on earth did I do with all the time I had on my hands?! Now, every minute of my day is measured out. It’s rare that I have time to myself, and I perpetually feel guilty that I’m not able to dedicate enough time to my family, friends and work. But somehow, like all Mums, I manage. Steven Covey’s Time Management matrix (www.stevencovey.com) is an essential tool to help you categorise your time into quadrants, and ensure that you’re focusing not only on the immediate, firefighting stuff, but also that you find time to learn, grow, develop and relax.
I spend a great deal of my day either managing conflict between co workers or my 2 boisterous boys. To manage conflict effectively, you need to be a skilled communicator, able to identify issues and really encourage people (and kids) to speak openly about their issues. It’s not easy, especially when kids are throwing their toys at each other, but it all starts with calming down a conflict situation, and calmly maneuvreing your way through it, using open communication. The other important thing to remember is not to react yourself to the conflict which is going on around you. Yelling at your kids, however tempting, isn’t likely to calm them down. Firing a retort back at a co-worker is likely to escalate the situation.
Whether you’re a parent running your household, or a busy CEO, or both, it’s likely that you’ll need to behave like a leader if you really want to be effective. Behaving like a leader means leading by example, for a start. If you have a “no cellphones role” at the dining table, put yours away. If you expect your kids to be calm and disciplined, take a heated call with a difficult customer out of the room. Behaving like a leader means that you take the upper hand, emotionally. Don’t let your kids see your frayed nerves and frazzled self. All easier said than done, but you can vent and let off as much steam as you want behind a closed door when no-one’s watching.
Most of us are trained to make powerful presentations, yet few of us are trained to communicate with our kids. Communication is key in helping your kids express themselves, disciplining them when appropriate and helping them grow. Take the time to talk to your children – at home, as at work, we all sometimes forget to relax and enjoy a good conversation. Keeping one eye on the child and one eye on the computer is a default position for many of us working Mums. Equally, talking to your child with an eye on the TV probably isn’t going to make them feel special and important. Our kids can tell when we’re interested in them, and when we’re thinking about 50 other things.
Being a mother feels like you’re perpetually in crisis mode. They say that being a mother is like having your heart walking around your body – you can never really relax or “switch off”, for fear that something will happen to your little darling. Sometimes these fears are irrational, rooted deep in our subconscious, and sometimes they are more rational, because lets face it, kids are accident magnets. The trick is to follow few simple steps to manage the apparent crisis. Firstly, assess the situation. Is it really as bad as it seems? (blood has a habit of making even a small cut appear worse than it is). Keep calm, and calm everyone else down. And then decide on your course of action. It sounds obvious, but when we experience a shock, we experience an adrenaline rush and our bodies go into either fight, flight or freeze mode. By breathing and staying calm, we can override one of these reactions and re-engage our brains.
If you’d like to know more about any of these topics, or whether you’re interested in Coaching for your business or yourself, please be in touch.