Kirsten works within the education sector, which like a number of other sectors had been greatly impacted by the COVID pandemic. Navigating government and healthcare guidelines whilst continuing to provide teaching to pupils, as well as managing staff shortages due to illness and isolation was a daily and unpredictable challenge. Adding to that the inevitable impact on pupils’ and staff’s mental health, being a great leader was almost an impossible job. Just trying to stay sane and looking after everyone else’s wellbeing required a huge amount of energy.
But Kirsten also had career ambitions. Before COVID hit, she had started a masters, which unfortunately ground to a halt when the country locked down. The subject she had planned for her research work was suddenly no longer relevant or feasible, and there was simply no time or headspace to even think about it anymore.
When we met, she was at a crossroads. She was all-consumed by her relentless day job, and was wondering whether she had the energy to pick up the research project again and the drive to further her career, or whether it was time to consider stepping down from her promoted post.
Our regular check-ins provided her with the time and headspace to process her thoughts and see the masters as a possibility again. They gave her deadlines for the steps to move forward with it, and also an accountability partner to share her progress with. Our sessions served as a motivator to move forward with a bigger ambition that the day to day busy-ness of her highly demanding job weren’t allowing her to get to.
“In a time of crisis management at work, Ingrid’s calm, non-judgemental manner was a great support. Meeting with Ingrid provided me with the opportunity to stop, consciously take time away from the busyness of everyday life and create space to think. She listened well, asking pertinent and challenging questions which encouraged me to question some of my negative self-talk and re-evaluate my worth. She also became an accountability partner, helping me to make progress towards personal goals which otherwise would have been lost in the chaos. I believe my confidence has grown as a result of working with Ingrid and I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to do so.”
Four months later, the dissertation was handed in. Kirsten received an A.