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Making it up

This week, I had an interesting time coaching an Account Manager.

Kate seemed angry pretty much all the time and this was affecting how she dealt with her clients and how she was interacting with her colleagues I asked her what this was about.

Our conversation went like this:



Kate: “Well, Frank (the MD) makes me feel angry every morning and it takes me ages to get over it”.

I felt this probably wasn’t the time to point out that she was making herself angry but instead asked:

Me: “So, how does he do that?”

Kate: “Well, every morning he walks past my desk and doesn’t say “Good Morning”. That makes me angry and it takes me ages to calm down”.

Me: “So if he said good morning to you, you would be fine to focus on work?”

Kate: “Absolutely”.

Me: “What did Frank say when you asked him to say good morning to you when he walks past?”

Kate: “Oh, I’ve never asked him to do that”.

Me: “So…you make up a rule in your head that Frank should say good morning to you and if he doesn’t do something that he doesn’t know you want him to do, then you feel angry for a few hours?”

Kate: “Well, when you put it like that, it doesn’t really make sense does it?”


We went on to discuss how she was making up what someone’s actions meant and how she was making herself angry. Kate also realised that she was using this pattern with clients. As soon as Kate saw this, her thinking changed and her behaviour changed. From a business point of view, her interactions with clients improved beyond measure.

Whether in your work or your life outside of work, where are you making up rules, not letting the other person know and then using this to make yourself angry/anxious/demotivated?

Just a thought…

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