What is it that, if someone could grant you three wishes, you would wish to change in work tomorrow? What are the issues which would make your professional life more enjoyable, productive or satisfying?
Would it surprise you to know that, without even knowing what they are, you are the author of making them happen? There is absolutely no use worrying over things outside of your control, so act on those things that are within your control instead and I assure you that you will feel better about it. Having a good problem solving strategy in your pocket has been proven to underpin better health and enhanced self-esteem. So its win-win whichever way you look at it.
Coping mechanisms come in all shapes and sizes but roughly fall into three main groups:
- Appraisal-focused strategies occur when the person modifies the way they think, for example: employing denial or distancing oneself from the problem. People may alter the way they think about a problem by altering their goals and values, such as by seeing the humour in a situation: some have suggested that humour may play a greater role as a stress moderator among women than men. It’s a well known point that if you change the way you look at things, then the things you look at will change too;
- People using problem-focused strategies try to deal with the cause of their problem. They do this by finding out information on the problem and learning new skills to manage the problem. Problem-focused coping is aimed at changing or eliminating the source of the stress. They ask loads of questions in any conversation to try and extract as much detail as they can. They are born investigators and the very best problem-focussed folk follow a recognisable pattern of:
- define the problem
- gather relevant information
- identify possible causes
- identify possible solution
- test possible solution
- would out solution
- make a decision
- monitor results
- Emotion-focused strategies involve releasing pent-up emotions, distracting oneself, managing hostile feelings, meditating or using systematic relaxation procedures. Emotion-focused coping is oriented toward managing the emotions that accompany the perception of stress. For those choosing these kinds of strategy, a good grasp of emotional intelligence is required. You will need to know and understand the 5 elements of EI:
- self awareness – understand yourself, your strengths and weaknesses and how you appear to others
- self regulation – master the ability to control yourself and think before you act
- motivation – know what your drive to succeed is grounded in
- empathy – master understanding other peoples’ viewpoints, whether or not you agree with them, appreciate where they are coming from and understand how they reach their conclusions
- social skills – develop your interpersonal and communication skills towards others.
Typically, people use a mixture of all three types of coping strategies, and coping skills will usually change over time. All these methods can prove useful, but some claim that those using problem-focused coping strategies will adjust better to the challenges they will inevitably face over time, particularly when promoted and issues become more complex and often multi-faceted. Problem-focused coping mechanisms may allow an individual greater perceived control over their problem, whereas emotion-focused coping may sometimes lead to a reduction in perceived control.
It’s useful to master them all in due course. A great coach can help of course 🙂