Working with Individuals and Teams to Boost Resilience and Well being

What is Resilience?

Resilience is a person’s ability to work through, rather than deny negative thoughts and feelings and bounce back from adversity. Resilient people have a ‘can do’ approach and a mind-set of optimism based in reality. They are able to better manage organisational and structural change. They experience failure as a form of helpful feedback. They cope better with uncertainty and when faced with a challenge, they are able to work their way through it, manage themselves effectively and seek support as appropriate. A performance culture can inhibit staff from being honest about their fears and anxieties. This can undermine their resilience and can result in a reluctance to seek support and an unwillingness to disclose their experience of high levels of stress. Resilient staff are the life blood of organisations and teams that are effective and efficient.  

What is Well-being?

A better work environment and an improved work life balance is highly beneficial for staff, the organisation and the people you serve. Emotionally healthy workplaces help people to flourish and reach their potential. 

According to the CIPD, investing in employee well-being can lead to increased resilience, reduced sickness absence and higher performance and productivity. So often resilience and well being initiatives fall short  because they stand alone as isolated initiatives, or are put in place in response to a problem. This is what I call a ‘collapse and repair’ model. Employee resilience and well-being priorities must be integrated throughout an organisation, woven into in its culture, leadership and people management. This is a ‘prevent and invest’ model.

What’s the need?

Like many workplaces, working with complex needs can be tough and demanding and more and more is being required from staff.  In health and social care, staff are working with high levels of emotion, social deprivation and trauma on a daily basis. It is often assumed in health  and social care that because you deal with people on a daily basis, you should be able to manage yourself effectively. Nothing could be further from the truth! Resilience is a skill that needs to be learnt alongside other work related skills. If a skilled individual or manager is not resilient, they are far more ineffective and inefficient at what they do and ultimately this impacts the clients of the service you provide.

My experience from coaching and training staff in this sector for a number of years is that they love what they do, and yet the intensity of emotion they face on a daily basis takes its toll. The very passion that motivates staff to serve others and make a difference,  is what burns them out..Most staff are very alert to the needs of clients and yet do not always look after themselves so well.   Somehow, vulnerability is admirable in others but we see it as a weakness in ourselves and we worry what others might think if we are not seen to be ‘coping’. Resilience and well being coaching and training is underpinned by the principle that when you manage yourself effectively, only then can you work at your best – you can’t give what you haven’t got.

I work in a number of Health and Social Care organisations and this is a familiar pattern I observe in one to one and groups:

  • About 20% of individuals are unwell with signs of anxiety/depression that they are just about managing
  • 60% are barely hanging on, feeling overstretched and overwhelmed,
  • 20% don’t engage fully or resist which usually means they are struggling as well.

Through resilience coaching and training, staff are able to move beyond just about coping to competence, effective self-management and self mastery.

What I can offer

  1. A one day ‘Realising Resilience‘ event which is a generic introduction to resilience with the following outcomes:
  • Identify what resilience is and how you can weave this into your life.
  • Learn what happens when we are under pressure and how it affects you.
  • Practice a variety of techniques that work and have an action plan for what you can do differently.

The feedback from this resilience day in health and social care has been very positive and my experience is that staff, even those having significant difficulties, feel safe to open up, recognise how resilient they already are and begin to formulate a plan for how to make changes in the areas of their life where they are not.

Staff feedback- ‘I can now make sense of how I feel and how to improve’, ‘Extremely useful’, ‘I have a better understanding of me and where I am’, ’ group coaching exercises helped me to see how I can manage’, ‘Helped with self-belief and how I can face the future’,  ‘so valuable’ , ‘Self-reflection with a positive framework was most useful’,’ I understand why I react the way I do’ ‘I thought a lot about what I could do differently’.

The one day event has proved itself to be very valuable, and yet for most people, with the challenges they are facing, it isn’t enough.

  1. A two day  ‘Boost Resilience and Well being at Work’. This is a generic event that can be adapted to work effectively across teams as well. Day one is the Realising Resilience day then in day two, colleagues boost personal resilience further as we look at well being.

In teams, this event helps to build stronger, supportive relationships with colleagues. Conflicts can often subside as colleagues feeling safe to open up and seek support from others. This is a core skill of resilience. Staff learn the basic skills of how to coach each other effectively rather than digging deeper holes with each other when they discuss work related issues.

Over the two days staff learn about:

  • The day to day skills that make us resilient
  • Models of well being – what they are doing well and what needs to change
  • How to use values and strengths as an asset for resilience and well being
  • Limiting beliefs and how to change these
  • Boosting the relationship with the self – how to value oneself enough and prioritise one’s own innate needs and set effective boundaries
  • The basic do’s and don’ts of effective resilience coaching for yourself and others

Over the two days, colleagues can begin to understand and connect with each other at a deeper level than their day to day interactions at work. They get to know each other’s habits and patterns which means they can really support each other to be at their best at work.

The two days is run over several weeks. After day one, I may stay in touch with the group to follow up on action plans and share further resources and techniques.  Individuals get the chance to practice what they have learnt and get beyond those light bulb moments on day one. Day two follows with an opportunity to deepen learning, reach greater awareness and insight around personal well being and how to overcome one’s limitations. Practical skills are taught and resources are given to use beyond the event itself. Knowing about resilience is not enough, this event establishes the importance of daily habits at a deeper level.

  1. Self-Mastery for Middle Managers

This 2 day course takes a very different approach to self-mastery and is underpinned by several principles. The first principle is that when you manage yourself effectively, only then can you manage your team effectively – you can’t give what you haven’t got. The second principle is that you already have skills as a manager but in the midst of the pressing demands of your role, you don’t access these as effectively as you could.

Over the 2 days we focus in on you, your self-talk, your emotions, your values and beliefs and who are you when you are at your best – building a success identity. You begin to build powerful coaching relationships with colleagues in the group that can help you boost your resilience and well being and access effective support.

  1. One to One Resilience Coaching through Clinical Coaching/Supervision

This coaching programme is for those staff who would benefit more from a one to one learning programme to enhance resilience and well being. It can be time limited to focus in on a particular issue for a minimum of six sessions or it can be ongoing. The coaching is even more impactful after staff have attended the one day or two day resilience events above. The outcomes for coaching are:

  • Learning how to manage individual triggers and practicing the application of skills
  • Self-assessment of well being, identifying needs and a plan to address these
  • Using values and beliefs to boost resilience and well being
  • Learning how to set boundaries effectively with colleagues and clients
  • Boosting self-belief and self-worth, the underpinning mind set of resilience

These sessions initially are monthly and as staff boost their resilience and self-mastery, they are bi-monthly. This programme is very flexible to meet individual needs.

  1. In House – Resilience Coaching Through Clinical Supervision – a 6 day programme plus learning sets

As the demand for resilience coaching through supervision  increases, an in house  programme will build internal capacity to meet this need and foster a stronger culture of resilience, well being and staff support across the organisation.

In the first two days we focus in on the individual, their self-talk, their emotions, their values and beliefs. Powerful coaching relationships begin to form with colleagues in the group that can help boost individual resilience and well being and build effective support. It’s underpinned by the principle that in order to be an effective supervisor and coach, you need to be resilient first. You can’t take anyone to a place you don’t operate from in yourself. Effective supervisors model personal resilience.

In the second two days, the focus is on what supervision is, the roles and responsibilities and how to navigate and balance these at your best.

In the final two days individuals fine tune existing skills and refine language and questioning skills to influence change and manage supervision and resilience coaching conversations effectively. The content will be adapted to the needs of the participants.

Beyond the course itself, individuals continue to get great support from colleagues and are able to refine practice skills in learning sets facilitated by the course leader.

Content Overview

  • The science behind why we get in our own way.
  • The power of self-talk- the conversations you have in your head can be a gift or a curse.
  • The positive purpose of negative emotions.
  • Values in action- how to harness your values as strengths and use them as a guide to managing tricky situations more effectively. 
  • Boundaries – what do yours look and feel like and how to maintain yourself when having difficult conversations.
  • Limiting beliefs- we’ve all got them and when the going gets tough, they can really catch us out. Uncover yours and how to use them more effectively.
  • Defining supervision – roles and responsibilities.
  • Fine tuning rapport and relationship skills.
  • The importance of Clean Language.
  • Effective language patterns to influence change.
  • What makes conversations difficult and how to manage them more effectively.
  • Using perspective taking productively.
  • Practice, more practice and even more practice

This programme would be run over a 12 month period initially with an initial 6 days of classroom learning to build and maintain personal resilience and resilience coaching skills. This would be followed by ongoing action learning sets, supervision and follow up workshops to maintain and manage the effectiveness of the resilience coaches in practice.

Depending on what model an organisation wants, these programmes can be adapted to managers as supervisors or other staff working across the organisation.

6. Consultancy – increasingly the organisations I work in come to realise that boosting resilience and well being requires a strategic approach across the organisation, not just specific projects to deal with specific needs. These are some of the areas I can support you with as an organisation to develop and integrated model.

Some of the challenges you may be facing and where I can add most value are:

  • How you develop a culture where instead of the need to be ‘bullet proof’, the vulnerability that comes with actively working on resilience and well being is seen as a strength.
  • How you move resilience and well being from an additional, optional skill to an essential component of effective practice.
  • How you develop pathways based on a wide range of needs from prevention to recovery.
  • How you support staff using existing or additional support so engaging with the model is meaningful and makes a difference in practice
  • How you integrate best practice in resilience and well being at all levels in the organisation rather than it being seen as a front-line issue.

Having originally trained as a Probation Officer and worked as a Regional Learning and Development Manager, I have over 20 years experience of working with individuals and teams to improve performance. I have been self employed since 2010 and I have run successful workshops for the public and the private sector. I am currently working with staff  in Criminal Justice Local Authority Housing and Family Support programmes. I also have a flourishing private practice as a trauma coach.

For more information, please get in touch.