Gary R. Collins
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Gary's Newsletter 375: Resilience Coaching

Posted by Gary R Collins on March 17, 2010 Comments 4


Crises and disappointments are inevitable during times of rapid change. Careers, businesses, ministries and relationships can sink, especially if we let bitterness, discouragement, or fear pull us down when hardships strike. Deeply ingrained beliefs and habits can sap our energy and keep us from acting constructively, according to a Harvard Business Review article on adversity (January-February, 2010). Often we fall into a dark cloud of deflation or a victimization mindset that leaves us feeling hopeless, helpless or wronged.

Whatever the initial reaction, we need to counter adversity with resilience: the capacity to respond quickly and constructively when crises arise. This involves controlling ourselves but often includes what the HBR authors term "coaching resilience." Pep-talks rarely work long-term and neither do ongoing expressions of empathy and reassurance. Instead, effective resilience building and coaching includes the following:

  • At least initially, avoid analyzing what went wrong, who is to blame, or whether the crisis could have been prevented. Resilient people, including managers and coaches, move quickly from analysis to a plan of action.
  • Adopt a collaborative approach, working with others to develop an inquisitive, interactive environment that stimulates options and possibilities.
  • Ask what specific steps can be taken to have an immediate and maximally positive impact on the situation. Let the answers emerge from the discussion instead of giving directions.
  • Focus on what you can control and on how the breath and duration of the crisis might be contained.
  • Determine what people, strengths, and resources are available or quickly attainable to help.
  • Visualize what the situation might look like on the other side of the crisis.
  • Ponder what the leader you most admire would do in this situation.


I wonder if the folks at Toyota have read this article.



A footnote from Gary: For some time I have had concerns about the format and direction of this newsletter. We're working to make it more reader friendly and interactive, hoping to have a new plan in place soon. In the meantime, to respond please post a comment below.

Lydia Bowen Says:

Maybe include some specific applications, stories of how some of these principles are being implemented by individuals.

Dave Heasler Says:

Your newsletters are consistently clear, concise and practical. I read them as soon as they appear in my mailbox and about 65 percent of the time find material that I quickly pass on to others.
If you can improve on that, go for it!

Barb Burge Says:

I love your newsletters, and usually find something very useful to use with my clients and myself! They are easy and quick to read - good amount of content. Thank you Gary!

gary colllins Says:

Thanks everybody. We are still working to make this better. Hopefully you will see some of the changes soon.

© 2014 Gary R. Collins, PhD.
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