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A Week in My Life: Pete Coates, Managing Director, iProspect UK Client Group

Pete Coates

Pete Coates is managing director at iProspect’s UK Client Group – leading teams in offices across Stafford, Leeds and Newcastle.

This week marks 2023’s Mental Health Awareness week.

Often the conversation around mental health can be dominated by the extremes, but our wellbeing is hugely influenced by the jobs we do, our work/life balance and how we manage that.

In this week’s edition, Coates reflects on trying to get that balance right throughout a busy week, noticing how he feels about his mental health. 



The alarm goes off at 6.30am, the plan was to get up and get some exercise in before work (self-improvement always starts on Monday, right?) but today’s a work-from-home day, so I make the split-second decision to have an extra half an hour and skip it for today. The morning routine kicks in, shower, dress, feed dogs, cats, chickens, general tidying and make some breakfast. All done just in time for 9am. Transition from ‘home Pete’ to ‘work Pete’ in 0.001 seconds.

I sit on the iProspect UK leadership team and my specific role also covers three locations; Leeds, Stafford and Newcastle, so regardless of where I am physically, my interactions are mostly virtual. Monday is a non-stop day of virtual meetings and catch ups which is tough going on a screen.

At the end of the day, I backtrack through all of the emails and Teams messages that sit behind the notifications that have tried to distract me throughout the day. There’s always a little pang of anxiety that nothing important gets missed. Over dinner with my wife, I chat through a few of the challenges I’m up against. I find this helpful to get her perspective on things. Most challenges at work ultimately come down to either how you frame things or how you interact with other people so talking about it always helps, more-so when they don’t work in the same industry as you.


Today, I’m in Leeds and Tuesday is usually a busy day in the office. I’m lucky enough to live out in Wensleydale (where the cheese comes from) so it’s a long drive, but I can always get myself up early for that as cruising in before the traffic while listening to an audiobook is a very peaceful experience. I’ve got a few face-to-face meetings, but rather than fill the diary back-to-back all day, there’s a lot of value in just being amongst everyone.

We’re social beings, so a day of being in the same space usually lifts everyone. Things seem to happen faster when you can just grab quick conversations in an open-plan office. In terms of what I had to get done today, I could have been anywhere, but I go home feeling better for having been in the office and closer to the team. In the weeks where my diary runs away with itself these days are harder to make happen, that disconnection from other people can leave you feeling like you might be missing something important.


Another early start today as I’m travelling to Manchester for dentsu’s brand new flagship event Seichō, gathering our people, clients and partners together to discuss the importance of growth and open listening whilst bringing to life a new vision for the future.

I’m on stage in front of 400 people interviewing Michael Normanton from the Square Ball podcast on the value of Teaming. I’ve always been comfortable getting up on stage in front of a large audience. Ask me to walk into a room full of people I’ve not met and talk to someone though and that makes me feel infinitely more anxious.

For me, there’s something about being on a stage that gives you both credibility as well as distance. I don’t worry about what anyone individually thinks about me. And when you get off stage, it’s much easier to talk to new people as they’re more likely to come and talk to me in a bit more detail about something I’ve said.

The rest of the day was hugely inspiring. An opportunity to step back from to-do lists and small tasks and reflect on the vast number of capabilities that exist across our business and the opportunities to do exciting new things for our clients.


Lots happening today. Client meetings, media owner catch ups and operational planning. The challenge with days like this is that your to-do list can become quite fluid quickly. Prioritisation is always important, but it’s not always easy to let go of the things that are still important, but just don’t make the cut.

In a leadership role, the decisions you take at any point have an impact on other people, so it’s common to let a bit of stress creep in. Functioning through stress and dealing with stress are two different things. I’m great at the former and trying to get better at the latter. At lunchtime, I try a guided mindfulness exercise. These don’t always work for me, but today it does. A bit like pushing the reset button on your laptop, it declutters my thoughts and redoubles focus for the afternoon.

At 5.30, I’ve got through everything I need to. While it can sometimes feel tempting to stay ‘connected’ to work when there’s a lot going on, I’ve learned to check myself against whether I’m being productive or just present. I take the dog for a long walk up in the hills behind my house and don’t see another soul, which is always good for mine. When I get back, I can’t resist the urge to just have a final check of the emails, but nothing needs urgent attention.


I always try to keep my diary meeting-free to give myself more head space to tie up loose ends on Friday.  Today, I also have a session with my professional coach. I was previously sceptical about coaching but have found it hugely valuable to better understand myself, how I respond to different triggers at work and how I can reframe my thinking to influence my emotions and be more effective.

This process has identified two characters that live within me. An inner champion who gives me the confidence to push myself out of my comfort zone to do new things and an inner critic who behaves a bit like a helicopter parent warning me off it. Realising that inner critic is actually helpful to me to act as an external filter on the decisions I make has been very useful.

Rather than try to push it away, I have to work on making it a more realistic voice instead of one that worries too much. To top off the week, I cook up a home-made curry to transition back to home Pete (my lockdown project was mastering Indian cooking)! The new exercise regime definitely kicks in on Monday… promise!

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