Managing Your Anger: Get a Coach

Kendall L. Stewart, M.D.

Why are leaders hesitant to do this?

Angry leaders are reluctant to admit they have a problem. They habitually blame others for the way they feel. If people would just do what they want them to do, the leader wouldn’t be angry. And if angry leaders don’t have a problem, they certainly don’t need help. The idiots with the problems are the ones who need the help. Well, that’s true enough.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

But you are different. You realize you are the one with the problem. You understand it is complicated and deep-seated. You realize you are not likely to figure this out on your own. If it were that simple, you would have already done it. You have observed fellow leaders who are much better at managing their anger than you are. You believe you can learn from them. And you suspect they would be willing to lend a hand.

How can you do it?

  1. Identify potential coaches among your closest colleagues. This is the place to start. These are the experts who work with you every day. They understand you. They can read your moods and predict your reactions with uncanny accuracy. You may even want to hire a life coach.
  2. Ask for their advice. We all figure out pretty quickly that unsolicited advice is seldom appreciated and less frequently useful. So we mostly keep our observations and suggestions to ourselves until we are convinced that someone really wants to hear what we think.
  3. Act on their advice. Unless your coaches see you are trying, they will give up on you. They have better things to do than waste their energy on a colleague who is not taking them seriously.
  4. Consider getting professional help. Changing lifelong behavioral patterns is a complicated business. If you are not making satisfactory progress, you will want to invest some money, time and energy with a professional who does this kind of work for a living. But don’t give up your collegial coaches. Their real, live observations will always be invaluable to you.

How have you used coaches to help you manage your anger?

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