Take Back Control

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Take Back Control

We all have times when we can feel overwhelmed, but as a professional coach we have the knowledge and skills to understand these feelings. We also have access to a range of tools to help us review and plan what we will do to address or adapt to the situation.

In our recent blog on Managing Stress, we looked at ways we can help family, friends or clients improve their health and wellbeing. Especially if they were feeling worried, anxious or stressed. We had some great feedback on the blog, as it helped them take back control and feel safe, calm and more mindful.

Following up on this popular theme, we are now sharing an easy to implement coaching tool you can use with anybody you know who may be feeling overwhelmed or could be worrying about things outside of their control.

The ‘Circle of Influence’ tool will quickly identify the things within their control or things they could influence, but more importantly the things that are completely outside of their control. These are the things they need to learn to accept, let go off or walk away from, as they are normally the things that cause frustration or the most stress.

So if you know anybody currently feeling overwhelmed or as if nothing is going their way, use this coaching tool and help them gain insight. It will help them take back control of the things they can change or influence.


Circle of Influence

Download our free Circle of Influence tool

Step 1 – Make a list

Start by talking through how they are currently feeling and list anything that contributes to them feeling overwhelmed. Then ask them to make a list all of the things that cause them to feel worried, anxious or stressed.

Now go through their list together and add in anything you picked up during the initial conversation, as they may have missed it.

Tip: Honesty is key to successfully completing this activity and it can be helpful to explore a range of different situations (home, work, relationships etc) to see if it identifies anything else.

Step 2 – Understanding the Circle of influence tool

They should now have a comprehensive list of things that contribute to them feeling worried, anxious, stressed or generally overwhelmed. But take a moment to reassure them that this simple exercise really will help them take back control.

Using the Circle of Influence tool, explain the three different sections:

  • Within my control – Anything you can control or resolve without any help or support
  • Things I can influence – Anything you have some control over or could influence if you had some help or support
  • Outside my control – Anything that is totally outside of your control and you have no influence over.

Step 3 – Work through the list

Ask them to work through their list and write each item into one of the three circles. Check everything has been allocated to one of the circles and challenge anything listed as outside of their control. Even if they have minimal control of influence, it should be moved into the ‘Things I can influence’ section.

Step 4 – Take action

Now ask them to make a new list with everything from the ‘Within my control’ section. These are the things they feel they have complete control over and can change without any help or support. Look down the list and ask them to identify anything they feel they can take action on today. Talk through what the action will be and how they will know they have succeeded in making a positive change.

Do the same for each of the things listed and include a date or deadline if it’s something they can’t do today. Ask them to include what action they will take for each item and how they will know they have succeeded in making a positive change.

Step 5 – Plan some action

For everything listed in the ‘Things I can influence’ section, they have said they may need some form of help or support. So for each one, ask them to list what help or support they need and who has any control or influence over it. Include the steps they need to take and the date or deadline they will work towards. And as before, include how they will know they have succeeded in making a positive change for each item listed in this section.

Step 6 – Let go

The final step is to really take back control and cross off everything listed in the ‘Outside my control’ section. These are the things they genuinely feel they can do nothing to change, so why waste any more time on them?

Its now time for them to let go, walk away and focus all of their energy on the things they can change or influence.


Further reading:

To support you in your Coaching sessions, we have published a range of different resources that include:

Wheel of Life – Introduction workshop: An easy to implement coaching tool and step by step guide on running a free introductory workshop session.

Coaching Stress Management:  Your step by step guide for coaching Stress Management, plus ideas on how to manage your own stress levels as a coach.

Neuroscience and the Human Brain: A detailed look at the brain and how Neuroscience can help a professional coach understand human behavior.

The Coaching Manual: A comprehensive coaching manual with over 150 questions, plus fables, worksheets and tools for a successful coaching session. This manual also includes an introduction to Neuro Linguistic Programming and Transactional Analysis.

Content is constantly being added to the site, so please check our on-line shop. Or read some of the other blog posts written by our team of international coaches.


Image: Thanks to Deva Darshan for sharing their work on Pexels.


Please note – Our materials can only be copied and distributed, if you include a reference and link to the original source: (cc) MyCoachingToolkit.com – 2020

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