A Coaching Power Tool Created by Daniel Chng
(Business Coach, UNITED STATES)
2020, a new decade. Who could have guessed that this year would be a pivotal point in human history? The COVID-19 pandemic has alternated the very fabric of society beyond our imagination. The impact has been felt globally. It has changed our approach to health, our economy, and social interaction. As a coach, are we ready to adapt to this phenomenon? In these challenging and uncertain times, we need to find and build our resilience and agility!
So what are resilience and agility? If we refer to the Oxford Dictionary:
- the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. “the often remarkable resilience of so many British institutions”
- the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity. “nylon is excellent in wearability, abrasion resistance and resilience”
- ability to move quickly and easily. “though he was without formal training as a dancer or athlete, his physical agility was inexhaustible”
- ability to think and understand quickly. “games teach hand-eye coordination, mental agility, and alertness”
But merely referring to the literal meaning only helps us understand what it is, so let’s put things into perspective and see if we can use it as a ‘tool’ to help us in coaching.
Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell and got back up again.― Nelson Mandela
Let us first define what it is for humans to be resilient. (resiliency) Resilience is a person’s ability to adapt and bounce back when things don’t go as planned. Resilient people don’t dwell on setbacks, they acknowledge the situation, learn from their shortcomings, and then move forward with conviction and purpose.
According to the research of leading psychologist, Susan Kobasa, three elements are essential to resilience:(1)
Challenge – Resilient people view difficulty as a challenge, not as a paralyzing event. They look at their failures and mistakes as lessons to be learned from, and as opportunities for growth. They don’t view them as a negative reflection on their abilities or self-worth.
Commitment – Resilient people are committed to their lives and their goals, and they have a compelling reason to get out of bed in the morning. Commitment isn’t just restricted to their work – they commit to their relationships, their friendships, the causes they care about, and their religious or spiritual beliefs.
Personal Control – Resilient people spend their time and energy focusing on situations and events that they have control over. Because they put their efforts where they can have the most impact, they feel empowered and confident. Those who spend time worrying about uncontrollable events can often feel lost, helpless, and powerless to take action.
So as a coach, to be of service and help to our clients, I would like to use the analogy of the emergency oxygen mask on an airplane. When it’s activated, we need to put the mask on ourselves first before we tend to those under our care. Just as in coaching, we need to build our own resilience before we can help others. Here is my three-step approach:
- Review our goals. To stay resilient, we need to keep our eyes on our own goals. I see our plan for our goals as a living document which we need to adapt and adjust accordingly. Let’s keep our goals S.M.A.R.T. For me the acronym stands for - Specific, Motivational (instead of measurable), Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. We should use our focus on our goals as motivation and aspiration to keep us going forward through tough times.
- Embrace Change. When we are dealing with uncertainties, the only constant changes. Adaptability is key in dealing with life-changing situations. When dealing with change we need to remember that we need to address both the ‘technical’ and the ‘people’ side of change. The technical side refers to processes while the people side refers to skills that help us deal and work with others better.
- Focus on moving forward. Yes, we should learn from our past but we should not dwell too long on it. Use what we have learned to help us look to the future. “We are all here for some special reason. Stop being a prisoner of your past. Become the architect of your future” - Robin Sharma. To stay resilient we need to keep forward momentum. It gives us purpose, not just for ourselves but for all that’s around us too.
Agility is our ability to respond swiftly, decisively, and appropriately. Agile individuals will be able to do this with ease and comfort. During challenging times, agility is the ability to remain calm and productive, to seek out knowledge and information where it is available, and to act on opportunities that will help us adapt to this new normal.
What can we do to cultivate our own ability to remain agile? Here are the 3 things that we can do:
- Positive outlook. We hear this so often that sometimes it’s hard to believe that it even exists. To have this mindset is crucial in being agile. The first step to maintain a positive mindset is to stop judging yourself and others. When we stop judging ourselves we enable ourselves to find positivity in all aspects of our lives. As a coach, this is important to help our clients find their own positive space to be in.
- Center yourself. We need to find our own center. What I mean by this is the need for us to find our own purpose in life. As we grow older, our purpose in life will evolve and that’s ok but knowing what it is will help us find our own purpose, our own center. This will be your guiding principle, your guiding light in good and difficult times. When you know what is your center, you will be able to spot opportunities that are ‘right’ for you and seek it and act on it.
- Be curious. In being agile, we need to be constantly seeking knowledge and information so that we can respond accordingly. Having as much knowledge and information provides us the means and the justification on how to act and what to act on. This is important in uncertain times. Curiosity is required for us to be a constant seeker of knowledge and information. Being curious drives us to find knowledge, that is the essence of growth for humankind. “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” - Albert Einstein
When you combine both resilience and agility, its ‘power’ enables us to stay strong, adapt, and take the necessary actions needed in these uncertain times to help ourselves and everyone around us to continue moving forward and thrive.