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Coach’s Diary: This Ego Business


Olivia Stefanino's client is desperate to be noticed for his achievements, but it's costing his business dear.

David had wanted all his life to be recognised as a “somebody” – and it was this sub-conscious drive which has led to him launching his own business ten years ago.

And while David’s bull-headed determination had made a modest success of his company, he was beginning to recognise that while he was working hard – he was not achieving the results that he had originally anticipated.

Understanding that he needed to find a way to work “smarter” rather than harder, David had decided to see if the services of a business coach could help discover the root of the problem.

After listening to David’s story, I asked him how he promoted his company to potential clients. His answer didn’t surprise me in the least.

With a wry smile, David admitted that he had no marketing goals and rather than work to a plan, he had adopted a scatter-gun approach with regard to his promotional activities. Clearly, he was wasting both time and money.

After a little more discussion, we started getting closer to the nub of the problem. David was spending his marketing budget in places where his peer group and competitors – all of whom he wanted to impress – would see his name in lights. However, the problem was that his target audience did not read the same publications!

To his chagrin, David was also embarrassed to admit that he had agreed to sponsor a local football team for the next two years – in return for their wearing his corporate colours and logo.

He began to laugh when I asked him whether any potential customers were likely to play for – or support – the local team. “I guess that’s unlikely,” he said, “as you know, my company makes walking frames for the elderly and infirm!”

Reaching the heart of the problem, I then asked David whom he had really been trying to impress with his sponsorship deal. After looking blankly at me, the truth slowly began to dawn – David had really been trying to impress himself.

As he was keen to sort out the problem once and for all, David readily agreed to access what was going on in his sub-conscious mind by entering into a light state of hypnosis with me.

Travelling back in time, David’s insecurity began to tumble out. The youngest of three clever – and sporty – brothers, he had felt inferior and had wanted to prove himself. On one hand he was naturally shy and retiring – and yet he was also driven by an overwhelming need for recognition, at whatever cost to himself.

It was a pattern that had repeated itself throughout his life. David’s business had been created to achieve recognition – and he had bought his flashy car for the same reason.

Working at the sub-conscious level with David, we worked to reframe his beliefs about himself – and his place in the world. David agreed that he could learn from the past and use it to create a different future for himself. He also recognised that by accepting himself, he could choose to take on a true leadership role – one where he put his customers’ needs first rather than those of his ego.

* Olivia Stefanino is a leadership development consultant and executive coach, who works with blue chip organisations, SMEs and individuals. Download your free e-booklet “128 ways to harness your personal power” at


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