Coaching for resiliency

Coaching for resiliency

Coaching for resiliency

Written by Dave Foxall

As any coach will know, task-based coaching is one thing, but coaching someone to develop a quality or attitude is a rather tricky process…

Resilience – a fashionable attribute

Over the last few years, there’s been much talk of the necessity for resilience at senior leadership levels. In a sense, resilience is needed more than ever. Whatever line of business you inhabit, the pace of change and progress shows no sign of slackening, the global economy is still in flux, customer demands are becoming ever more whimsical; and so on…

In fact, given that nobody works in an entirely predictable job, everybody needs a degree of resiliency; it’s a requirement at all levels and in all roles.

What exactly is resiliency?

Resilience is the key to success. Resilience is hanging in there when the going gets tough. But… resilience is not simply being stoic; it is not the clichéd British ‘stiff upper lip’, nor is it laughing in the face of disaster. Resilience is a little more proactive than that; some of the other names it goes by include: optimism, adaptability, flexibility, durability, learning from every situation, and being open to opportunity. To give it Shakespearean edge, resiliency is the ability to withstand (and triumph over) the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

How do you develop resilience?

If you’re coaching somebody to be resilient, or are looking to acquire a little more of it for yourself, there are a few key tips to bear in mind.

First, see the bigger picture. Setbacks (those slings and arrows) are almost always related to the details and while they may be serious, it’s only by looking at the whole that solutions can be found. And besides, keeping things in perspective is never a bad idea.

Second, don’t go it alone. The attitude of resilience often goes hand in hand with having a strong network of professional and personal contacts. Just knowing the ‘safety net’ is there is likely to enable you to keep your balance, and if not… well, then you have a network to call on for advice, guidance, and support (sometimes this role can be embodied by the coach).

Third, self-knowledge is usually the foundation of resilience. Clarity on your own strengths and weaknesses, values and motivations, will boost confidence and help you stand up again if you’re feeling knocked down. Given that coaching tends to promote self-awareness in the coachee, it’s fair to say that the coaching process is a resilience-builder.

Key qualities to encourage

You know a resilient person by their behaviour – here are three of the main attributes of resilience:

  • Curiosity – resilient people ask a lot of questions, they want to know how things work. At times child-like but never childish, they are prepared to play with new ideas and developments in order to understand them better. There is a healthy sense of wonder and a willingness to experiment, make mistakes, and ask, ‘What did I learn?’
  • Adaptability – They are comfortable with ambiguity and contradictory positions and viewpoints. They are not inclined to be overly rigid in their thinking; decisive and firm, yes, but not rigid. When it comes to problem-solving, they are likely to apply both logic and intuition (and if one of those is not their particular strength, they’re comfortable with inviting that specific contribution from others).
  • Confident – Resilient people have an air of confidence based on good self-esteem. It’s not that they’re the best at everything (and nor do they think they are) more that they know what their abilities are and are confident that they can find a way forward when facing difficulties.

Finally, if resilience were to have such a thing as a secret ingredient, that ingredient would be…

…a sense of purpose.

Give somebody a goal or an aspiration that they can genuinely commit to, something that they personally want to achieve, and then step out of the way!

Inspired? Then please give us a call on 01582 714280 to see whether we can be of service to you. We’re here to help!

Categories: Coaching

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