How to Navigate Uncertain Times and Emerge Stronger

23 November 2010

In these difficult times many executives are feeling stressed and insecure. Executive coach Dr Nicola Bunting explores the reasons why thinking positively and seeing the opportunities could get you ahead.

As an executive coach, I see first-hand every day how the current economic uncertainties are causing executive stress and insecurity. Equally, however, because most of my past and present executive clients have faced or live with the possibility of redundancy and job insecurity, I've seen what makes the difference in ensuring something unexpectedly brilliant can emerge from transition, professionally and personally.

Here's what you can do to optimise opportunity and successful outcomes in uncertain times:

1.Prepare yourself for positive change so that you're ready for any developments. What are your career objectives? What would your ideal next role be (and where)?

2.Understand and leverage your strengths and values. Are you maximising these in your current role? Where is there opportunity to shine by reflecting them more fully in what you're doing and how you're doing it?

3.Keep up to speed with the international developments in your company, your industry, and your profession. Expand your horizons and your frame of reference to stay current and compelling.

"As an executive coach, I see first-hand every day how the current economic uncertainties are causing executive stress."

4.Maintain and expand your professional networks and contacts by attending relevant meetings and conferences and staying in touch with headhunters and former colleagues, while developing current contacts outside your organisation within your industry. What are the interesting meetings, conferences, and events you could attend?

5.Ensure your work / life balance energises you and enhances your career. If you respond to professional pressure by feeling angst, working all hours, and keeping your Blackberry switched on all night, you will drain your resources and burn out.

Losing your balance actually lowers your professional standing and reputation, and so do whatever's necessary to keep your equanimity and perspective.

6.Maintain your energy, focus, and presence by enhancing your physical fitness, nurturing your positive personal relationships, and ensuring adequate sleep. Make sure you're having fun too! All this will actually make you more effective professionally and more likely to be perceived as a positive, stable presence in the organisation.

7.Consider getting executive coaching. Take advantage of the opportunity to excel by maximising your professional development and performance. What you learn will also enhance your resilience in stressful times, helping you to identify and seize great, if unexpected, opportunities.

If you do lose your job (or decide it's not right for you anymore), take advantage of the space and extra time to reflect on and possibly reframe your professional and lifestyle objectives.

You might find that the financial package and free time allows you to retrain in something you've always wanted to do, or inspires you to start your own new business. It might be a wonderful life-changing opportunity, maybe even the best thing that's ever happened to you. Rather than feeling stuck or limited, consider that you're actually neither, and (almost) anything is now possible. It is paradoxically liberating!

Many of my executive coaching clients look back on apparently rocky career moments as a positively galvanizing influence in their current success and happiness! Why not prepare yourself now to emerge stronger from uncertain times, to become more successful, more self-aware, more fulfilled, healthier, and happier too?

Dr. Nicola Bunting is a top international executive coach, one of the few Master Certified Coaches in the UK, and Director of La Vita Nuova Coaching.

Nicola Bunting's new Platinum Coaching Programme starts in 2011-a ground-breakingmonthly programmecombining individual and group coaching with the opportunity to network with other successful international professionals, and group retreats in Capri and Dublin. CEO readers enjoy a 10% discount. To learn more, visit and contact Nicola at

Dr. Nicola Bunting is a top international executive coach.