No Image Available


Read more from TrainingZone

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Coaches Diary: Stephen Revs Up A Gear


In her latest casebook notes, coach Olivia Stefanino helps a bored executive to wake up and attain his goal of playing James Bond with his very own Aston Martin.

Stephen had sat in my office this time, three years ago. Then he had complained of being bored at work and overweight. We had discussed his lack of goals and ambition and the detrimental effect this was having on his well being.

Together we explored Stephen’s aspirations and his childhood dreams. We agreed that not all goals should be financial but as he had a fairly happy home life, Stephen decided to set himself a challenging goal that would give him a sense of purpose at work.

Like many boys, Stephen had been an enormous fan of James Bond and had boasted that one day he would own an Aston Martin like his childhood hero. However, everyday life had soon overshadowed this goal and Stephen had become bogged down with earning enough money to pay the bills and keep a roof over his head.

Worse, Stephen’s self-belief had been severely knocked as a child when his father had laughed at his dreams of owning such a beautiful car. Patting Stephen on the head, his father had told him to remember his station in life – pointing out, “Everyone in our family has always had to work hard just to survive – don’t you expect to be any different.”

And for years Stephen had taken his father’s words to heart. He had consistently struggled and had felt twinges of envy every time one of his friends had talked about their latest financial success.

In order for Stephen to succeed, it was obvious that he was going to have to re-programme his sub-conscious mind. Firstly, he would need to delete his father’s negative thought patterns. In order to do that, Stephen had to accept that his father had only been trying to protect him from disappointment.

Secondly, Stephen then needed to forgive his father whose beliefs he could now see had held him back in many areas for most of his life. By forgiving his father, Stephen was not condoning his actions, but was merely untying himself from the negative energy that had been weighing him down.

After letting go of his father’s thought patterns, Stephen was now free to create the goals to which he aspired. I had explained to Stephen that there was a big difference between wishful thinking and clearly defined SMART goals. I had reminded Stephen that the SMART acronym stood for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, (W)Ritten Down and Timed.

Looking more enthused than he had for a while, Stephen decided to focus his attention on achieving his SMART goal of a silver Aston Martin within three years. As well as the streamlined beauty of the vehicle itself, Stephen had chosen the Aston Martin because of the personal symbolism it held to him.

I had shown Stephen how to visualise living his goal and he had promised to spend ten minutes each day imagining what it would feel like to drive the car of his dreams. He had also learned to imagine how he would look in the car and what the view would be like from the driver’s seat.

Of course, imagining making his dreams come true would not have been enough to bring the Aston Martin into reality. So Stephen and I had spent an hour or so creating an action plan that would enable Stephen to generate sufficient cash.

Stephen had known that achieving the car of his dreams would require hard work. However, he had been toying with a new business concept for a year and he knew that if he could make it successful, he would easily be able to afford the Aston Martin model on which his heart was set.

While Stephen may have had a mere pipe-dream before, the difference now was that he had self-belief and he had programmed his mind to believe that he could succeed. Previously, he had believed that he would never succeed and that he and his family were destined to do no more than struggle to exist.

Fast forward to three years later … and Stephen was once more in my office. But this time, I was sitting opposite an enthusiastic, slim and vibrant individual. Stephen proudly told me that he had dropped into my office to take me out to lunch – in his new silver Aston Martin DB7!

Olivia Stefanino is a leadership development consultant and executive coach, who works with blue chip organisations, SMEs and individuals. To find out more – and to download your free e-booklet “128 ways to harness your personal power”, visit


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!