Whether you are an Executive Coach, working with a selection of clients, or an Internal Business Coach, working with internal colleagues, Coaching can be a lonely old job. You are the sounding board, the listener to other people’s problems, the person providing an independent view, the guide when people don’t know where to start. So how do you stay resilient and strong? And where do you get support from when you need it?
Human beings are messy, emotional things – they come with strong opinions, strong emotions and these leak out in coaching conversations, potentially affecting the mood and aura of the Coach. The Coach’s role is to be the enlightened being – keeping calm and professional, refraining from giving opinions or advice, being the ‘swan’ and setting a great example to the Coachee. In reality, Coaches are also humans, with all of the emotions and the same reactions as their Coachees – whilst we might appear to be the swan externally, our internal stress levels can slowly build or even suddenly sky rocket, and we may find that we are in a position where our resilience levels are low and we need to find ways of supporting ourselves.
Resilience is multi-dimensional – partly driven by internal factors which we cannot change, such as our biology and personality, but also by specific skills and techniques which we can learn. This is great news because it means that resilience CAN be learned. Robertson-Cooper identified four key elements to focus on to rebuild resilience levels. They are:
Confidence – Positive emotions fuel resilience to stressful events; the experience of negative emotions (e.g. feelings of discouragement or anxiety) are associated with lower levels of resilience. Having a strong sense of your self-worth and confidence in your abilities is important for resilience
How confident are you in your Coaching skills?
Purpose – Purpose provides you with a foundation that allows you to be more resilient in the face of obstacles, stress and strain. Purpose in life is associated with higher levels of happiness and satisfaction, and lower levels of depressors. Aspects of personality related to drive and persistence are linked to greater levels of resilience.
Why did you become a Coach?
Adaptability – People who are able to think flexibly and re-frame events positively are more resilient. Those who accept challenging situations tend to be more psychologically resilient than inflexible thinkers.
What else could your current challenges mean? Where might these approaches be useful?
Social Support – Greater levels of social support are associated with more positive outcomes following a wide range of stressors. Social support has been linked to a reduced rate of high-risk behaviours and a reduced rate of depressors.
Where do you currently get work related support from?
Many Coaches have an official Supervision relationship in place, especially Coaches who are accredited via one of the Accrediting Coaching organisations. Supervisors provide an essential role for many Coaches, enabling them to discuss their coaching practise in total confidentiality, and to receive coaching themselves on any issues, including resilience levels.
In addition to official supervisors, it is possible to join a co-coaching group if you are a member of one of the accrediting bodies, and attend co-coaching meetings on a monthly basis. Again these provide an environment to discuss issues affecting your coaching practise in complete confidentiality, and have the added bonus of allowing you to learn new techniques and approaches from other coaching professionals.
If you are not a member of an accrediting body, there are numerous support groups on social networking sites such as LinkedIn, that are open to everyone.
No matter where you get support from, find some and honour your own needs. Neglecting your resilience isn’t an option, so seek some support to enhance your coaching practice.
Some useful websites to explore include:
www.associationforcoaching.com www.coachfederation.org www.emccuk.org