From Dr. Magdalena Bak-Maier, Grid™ Creator and MTC Founder
It’s been close to ten years since I developed the Grid approach to help with work-life balance. It is with a great deal of pleasure that I now get to hear and begin to feature stories from fellow practitioners who have adopted my Grid tool into their practice. Below is one such example from Maggie Grieve, creator of Ping Thinking.
If you’re a professional coach or a coach in training and you’re interested in adding the Grid to your toolbox, you will find specific steps to progress your Grid journey at the end of this case study.
Grid™ Case study with Maggie Grieve
Grid™ in one sentence
“The impact of Grid for me is easy: it gives me simple control back over a balanced, realistic and satisfying life that’s focused on my goals and the things that are important to me.”
Getting started with the Grid™ is easy
“I first discovered the Grid in Psychologies magazine which covered Magdalena’s Grid work. The image of the wobbly table where the four legs were not even and the resulting imbalance grabbed me.
I bought the Get Productive Grid book and learned more about the concept and approach. I started to use the Grid in conjunction with other methods as a framework with clients who described overwhelm or unhappiness with the direction of their lives.”
Adopting the Grid™ approach to work-life balance
“The Grid was particularly helpful as a means of creating a picture to work from and develop. I was constantly beating myself up for feeling so overwhelmed and concurrently feeling like I wasn’t achieving anything – even though I was!
My affection for the Grid grew and grew and, as I found myself juggling more with the development of my business, my studies, my property business, my family, and the pressures and pleasures of home. I simply had to give it a try for myself. At that point, I was feeling the self-imposed pressure to keep so many balls in the air at the same time whilst trying to find direction and traction for my new venture.”
Grid™ supports the coach in their practice
“I developed a dedicated space for my business activities – my coaching cabin. Before I coached my first client here, I set about creating my own year Grid. I also bought some large sheets of sticky paper for the walls for my client sessions, the first of which I used for myself!
Completing my year Grid for the first time gave me clarity on what I was trying to achieve in each Grid quadrant. It helped me discover what would ‘good’ look like so I could describe it to other people. In fact, it also made me realize just how many balls I had in the air, competing for my time and attention.
I keep this Grid on the wall and refer to it consciously and subconsciously. When my clients come to see me, I let them see my Grid and often they comment on it. It’s turned out to be a good unintentional conversation stimulus before our coaching session begins. It has resulted in me learning things about my clients that I may otherwise never have known – e.g. a shared interest in lifting weights and strength training of all things!”
For Maggie the Grid™ Process has become a “happy habit”
“I started about a year ago and I haven’t wanted to waiver since. It’s not a chore, it’s a pleasure – a happy habit!
My best use of the Grid is to help me create and keep my annual plan as an overall reference. I review this every quarter or so. At the same time, and based on the same key areas in my year Grid, I create a weekly grid every Monday morning before I start my working week. Until lockdown, I would see my kids off safely, nice and early at the school bus, head to the gym, equip myself with a large coffee, get my week to a page diary out and set about mapping my weekly Grid. Then I head to a class, safe in the knowledge that I have set up my own week the way I want it to be. It’s a great feeling!
During the week, I enjoy reviewing it as pressure builds up because it makes me realise what I have achieved and makes me more realistic about what to expect of myself. It helps me handle unexpected things that come at me during the week because I can see how that frames into what I have to do and what I want to do. It helps me subtly show my lovely family the scope and scale of things I am juggling without overtly making my point or complaining about it. And so it makes me feel like they respect my role more at home and at work because it’s more visible and it gives me a sense of satisfaction at the end of the week to see what’s been done.”
Keeping the Grid™ practice up is key for good work-life balance
“I now have a Grid template that I write out every week, keeping the same sections and subsections. This sometimes adapts depending on my focus but it’s a good fall back for most weeks.
Sometimes I worry that Grid is a crutch, that it’s an indulgence of my need to have control, but in my heart I know it frees me from the list hell I previously lived in. Making lists ate up my time and made me feel like I was never getting anywhere.
With the Grid, I make time to focus on my new company – Ping Thinking – development and my clients, my administrative heap, my properties, my family and friends, my husband, the girls, home and personal family life. Top right is time for me, me – exercise, health and fun – even reading which I hadn’t managed to do for years despite it being a passion!! And Bottom right is all about learning, studies and PR.”
About Maggie Grieve and her company
“Ping Thinking is a Berkshire based professional business and personal coaching practice run by Scot, Maggie Grieve.
Maggie enjoyed 30 successful years in large corporates with leadership experience spanning sales, business development, partnering and strategy development where she offered highly valued thought leadership. Her last role was as Director of Global Partnering Strategy for BT Plc before taking redundancy to create Ping Thinking to support people development and positive change for businesses and individuals.
Alongside her Business Degree and Diploma in Marketing, Maggie proudly holds professional Certification in Coaching and Behavioural Change from Henley Business School where she’s also continuing her MSc studies. She is a Professional Member of the Association for Coaching and is currently completing certification professional certification in Team Coaching with WBECS endorsed by the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC). Maggie is also currently working on a coaching skills book for which she has recently secured a publisher.
Maggie is passionate about coaching people at all career levels, empowering them to take the next logical step in their work, their business, and their lives. Outside of coaching, Maggie is a busy mum to identical twin girls, wife to the CEO for a Swiss-based organization as well as “dog mum” to the other love of her life, her enormous long-haired German Shepherd. Maggie also co-owns and manages properties in the South Coast, Cornwall, and Scotland.
Maggie’s clients include other coaches, leaders, managers, small business owners, creatives, teens, and back to work mums. The qualifying criterion is that you’re someone who wants to achieve or change something and need a productive hand to hold on your journey. You can contact Maggie at ”
If you’re a coach who wants to improve work-life balance and add Grid™ to your toolkit
- Order a copy of the Get Productive Grid book which will help you take a systematic approach to Grid practice including additional goal-setting activities, a 3-months Grid plan and evaluating your results.
- Sign up to the next Grid Masterclass for Coaches in collaboration with Coaching at Work magazine.
- Explore our free Grid resources that will help you try the method out for yourself.
- Join our Facebook or LinkedIn Grid communities.
- Become a Grid certified coach with us. Register your interest here.
Thank you for reading. If you have a work-life balance story to share for a Grid case study please get in touch.