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CAREER COACHING: When fear holds you back

Anna Stowers
Guest Coach Blogger Anna Stowers

I couldn’t agree more with Valerie Legge’s view on Career Coaching.

And from this point of clarity, I often see my clients struggling with the element of fear. Let me explain, I coach primarily in the German Corporate Business world at executive levels, where it’s all about leadership and change management with a strong focus on risk avoidance; not exactly an area of joyful, light-hearted playfulness. In fact, the spirit of adventure is often well buried under the dreaded fear of making a mistake.

I often find these perceived fears hold back the change process, the voice of the gremlins sometimes so loud that inaction and avoidance become strategies in themselves. I then find that labelling the fears, accepting the role they play in keeping us safe and seeing the field of endless possibilities that lies on the other side of these fears is a powerful motivator for my clients to move courageously out of their comfort zone, testing the waters of their individually designed stretch zones and experimenting with strategies for moving forward.

 4 Types of Fear

 In my experience as a Corporate Business coach, I note that fears often fall into one of four categories:

1.    At the level of inspiration is the fear of dreaming, my clients being afraid to even consider what is possible.

2.    At the level of implementation is the fear of failure, my clients stopping the process of exploring how to get the results needed when presented with signs of difficulty or interference. This produces lack of perseverance.

3.    At the level of integration is the fear of conflict: upsetting people/ the system, my clients don’t take pride in (or credit for) their own results, impeding their exploration towards further mastery; constantly looking for approval and belonging; blaming external conditions for whatever appears to be stopping them.

4.    At the level of completion is the fear of what comes next, my clients using avoidance, playing it safe and remaining in indecision rather than moving forward to the next challenge. Think about it. Looking at your own career, have you ever tried using a little avoidance?

Working with fear, not against it

By labelling these fears, addressing their positive intention of keeping my clients safely in their comfort zone, the energy can be found to move forward to the endless opportunities that lie on the other side of these fears. This is where, as a coach, I can provide the support needed to move on and, who knows, sometimes even in the very serious Business world of Corporate Germany, with an element of light heartedness, playfulness and spirit of adventure!


Located in Germany, Anna brings years of business experience to her work as a leadership coach with both individual executives and teams. Much of her work focuses on helping clients to embrace their leadership capability and achieve real and lasting results by focusing on strengthening creative leadership competencies while addressing reactive behaviors and gremlins that get in the way. Anna loves relevance, understanding her client’s unique business challenges, getting a sound grasp of what they do in order to jointly develop a deeper insight, plan a motivational strategy and hold accountability. When she is not coaching, you can find Anna heading out on a spontaneous adventure, taking dance classes, bicycling around the German countryside or relaxing on the West Coast of Ireland.



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