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Make Stress Management Personal with MindSonar

February 10, 2020
Ann Finnemore

Whatever area of coaching you work in, at some point you will probably do some work to enable your clients to discover ways both to manage their current stress level and to become more resilient to stress in the future. MindSonar can help us do this in a truly client-centred way, by identifying the meta programmes operating when a client experiences stress, and so enabling change work to be focused on those which might be fuelling their stress response.

As always when considering a person’s thinking patterns, there are no intrinsically good or bad meta programmes – it depends upon the context and the way in which the meta programme is impacting upon on the way the individual feels and behaves. Therefore, it is possible that meta programmes which help the person in one context, could be causing a problem in another. Likewise, each meta programme of a pair could be unhelpful in different people..

To illustrate this, here are two simple examples from a couple of my clients of how either of a meta programme pair can contribute to stress – in this case, the perceived locus of control.  I’ve also included a brief account of the benefits that each client experienced from becoming aware of how they could change their stress level by changing their thinking

1. Very high Internal Locus of Control: this client spent a lot of time worrying about things which were completely out of his control. He was losing sleep over such things as world events and the future economy. He said that he often felt responsible for anything that went wrong around him at work and at home, even when he knew that he could not have influenced the outcome in any way. During coaching, he was able to identify some situations in which he was content not to be responsible (ie when he had more of a balance between Internal Locus of Control and External Locus of Control). He recognised that he was thinking differently in those contexts, and that he was more comfortable and less stressed in them. After that, he said could imagine how he would feel if he utilised that more comfortable thinking pattern when in the situations which were currently causing him stress. Therefore, he decided to utilise the more helpful style of thinking in relation to the things in his life that he tended to worry about.

2. Very high External Locus of Control:  in this case, the client felt completely out of control in the context of developing a business. The level of stress she was experiencing from this was stopping her from progressing toward this goal. She felt that so many external factors were in the way of becoming a successful business owner that she could no longer see any opportunities. By considering her score for this meta programme, she considered other situations in which she did feel confident and focussed on what she could influence. She then began to be able to identify the changes in her thinking that would enable her to move in the direction she wanted to, gaining in confidence as she did. The result was a business plan which enabled her to accept those factors which she could not control whilst taking decisions and actions on the factors that she could influence.


I believe that any meta programme can contribute to stress. I am still discovering how powerful a MindSonar profile can be for getting clients to understand both the impact that their thinking pattern can have upon their personal experience of stress and anxiety, and their ability to change that.

Let me know of other meta programmes that you’ve seen contributing to stress, whether your own or a client’s. Perhaps we can demonstrate how each meta programme can cause stress in certain contexts..


About the author 

Ann Finnemore

Coach and Therapist, living in the UK. Previously a teacher, a medical researcher and then a senior manager in the public sector. After re-training, Ann entered private practice as a coach and therapist in 2008, co- founding the business Getting You There with her husband, a physical therapist. Her first book “Life in the Driving Seat”, 2016 (Goldcrest books) and is available from Amazon.

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