Resilience Coaching: Increasing Performance through Self-Awareness, Recovery, and Networks
Resilience is an increasingly demanded and necessary skill in the leadership environment. While it is often seen as an innate quality, we believe that resilience is a trainable skill. In this article, we will explore how resilience coaching can enhance this skill and provide strategies to increase your resilience capacity. By deliberately training and doing resilience coaching, you can improve your tolerance to stress and pressure.
Step One: Increasing Self-Awareness
Resilience coaching emphasises the importance of self-awareness—the ability to recognise and understand one’s own beliefs, emotions, thoughts, and resulting behaviours. In the world of olympic sport, athletes use various methods to identify areas of limitation or underperformance. This process is framed as an opportunity for performance gains, creating a desire to uncover areas for improvement rather than feeling embarrassed or ashamed. Whether it’s tactical, technical, physical, or psychological improvement, athletes have to not only change their actions or behaviours but also address the deeper thoughts and emotions that drive those actions.
To enhance self-awareness, consider the following resilience coaching questions:
- What emotions do I experience in situations that I perceive as high-pressure?
- Am I aware of my triggers and how they impact my performance?
- What methods can I employ to increase my self-awareness in performance?
Step Two: Developing a Growth Mindset
Resilience coaching also focuses on developing a growth mindset—a belief that abilities can be developed through effort and learning. Olympic athletes and their coaches constantly work on fostering this mindset, often referred to as a challenge culture. One effective approach is to ask the question,
- “If you had to find a 1% improvement without adding more effort, where would you start?”
This question cultivates curiosity, an essential ingredient of a growth mindset, and triggers an exploration of how to improve performance.
Step Three: Prioritise Recovery
Your leaders are responsible for setting the tone, but not for suppressing negativity. A tone of relentless optimism will not feel authentic, and the pessimistic voices need to be heard. We need someone to pre-empt the things that could go wrong, to say ‘hang on’ and ‘let’s think about how we’re actually going to do this’.
Welcome the warnings and listen to those voices rather than suppress a minority who don’t align with the tone you’re setting.
One of the most significant performance gains in Olympic sport over the last decade has come from prioritising recovery. By understanding an athlete’s or team’s workload and pushing just beyond their performance peak, then allowing enough time for recovery, overall performance throughout a season dramatically improves. This approach can be applied to executive leadership teams as well – using resilience coaching to create a culture of understanding where teammates are, and how the collective can perform at their optimum without pushing too far into exhaustion and burnout.
To enhance resilience through recovery, reflect on the following questions:
- How close am I to my limit right now?
- What can I do to either push closer or pull back?
- What are my most effective recovery techniques?
Step Four: Build a Resilient Network
Resilient networks provide invaluable support during times of stress and pressure. Olympic athletes rely on coaches, trainers, and teammates to navigate intense training and competition. Similarly, you can enhance your resilience capacity by nurturing strong networks. Consider the following resilience coaching questions:
- Who are the individuals in my network that I can turn to for support and guidance?
- Am I actively fostering relationships with mentors and peers in my field?
- How can I contribute to building resilient networks within my organisation or industry?
Resilience coaching offers valuable insights into increasing performance through self-awareness, recovery, and networks. By developing self-awareness, fostering a growth mindset, prioritising recovery, and building resilient networks, you can enhance your resilience capacity. Remember, resilience is a skill that can be trained and improved with deliberate practice. Embrace the resilience coaching questions provided and embark on a journey to unlock your full potential. Prepare, recover, adapt, and rise to new heights of success.