Coaching for Resiliency

Parent Category: Resiliency Reader eNewsletter Category: Winter 2016 - Resiliency Reader Index
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by Glen Fahs, PhD

Resiliency is a very personal decision: Will we react as a victim or as a strategist? Will we give up or battle back and see the value in setbacks?

That decision — made in little ways daily, in big ways when crisis looms — can be empowering. Asking "Why is it good that this happened?" reframes negative turns into opportunities. Opportunities for creative shifts, for learning, for digging deeper into our individual and shared potential.

But relying on our individual strengths is limiting. We are stronger when our relationships are stronger, when we get help. If we break a leg, a health care professional can set it better than we can. If we exercise, a trainer will help us make better use of our efforts and motivate us to reach higher levels. So it is a sign of confidence and strength to rely on a coach for discipline and perspective.

Some perspective comes from reading books and articles such as those written by Viktor Frankl and Al Siebert. Similarly, media such as movies give us role models who struggle against the odds, usually coming out on top. Some comes from throwing ourselves into challenging situations and finding ways to survive and thrive. Some comes from reflecting on experience. Coaches help us target those challenges, prepare for them and learn from them.

Coaching Skills: The number one skill of a coach is active listening. The coach probes for what may drive the person (let's call that person the "partner") and what may hold the person back. Great listening involves:

  1. showing interest verbally and nonverbally,
  2. asking open-ended questions that help the person explore feelings and possibilities,
  3. succinctly reflecting back the person's words, especially their desires and assumptions.

When did a coach help you most? I have had the great fortune to have several caring mentors who believed in me and gave me opportunities to shine. They helped me without getting in the way, without distracting me with too much direction. But they got me to think and act on my insights.

Effective coaches and mentors build trust with honesty, openness and reliability but mostly for wanting the best for their partner. They listen, encourage, share humor, praise, and follow up. Their emotional intelligence helps the person feel special.

Coaching for resiliency emphasizes helping others see their strengths and passion and focus them on vision and goals. While it is natural to avoid one's fears, the coach can help the person assess what is truly the risk involved and whether that risk is worth taking. We gradually overcome our fears when we normalize them.

Do you choose not to be bitter? To help your self and others to become better and better? Then maybe you are already a coach for resiliency.

If you would like a resiliency coach, speaker or trainer, call Glen at 971-570-0159. To become certified for resiliency work, please see the guidelines on the Al Siebert Resiliency Center website: ResiliencyCenter.com.


Glen Fahs, PhD, has been a coach and leader for decades in the fields of training, resiliency, continuing education, change and transition. He has high-level training experience in government, nonprofit and the private sector and has taught for 12 colleges and universities. He has served on several boards, including currently on the Al Siebert Resiliency Center board.

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