When more is being asked of individuals in the workplace and, given the current economic climate, resilience is a key topic. Not only is it important to the individual but also to organizations as, now more than ever, organizations require a resilient workforce. There is a growing body of research as to why resilience protects against conditions such as anxiety and depression. If you think that the latest figures produced by the Mental Health Foundation suggest that 1 in 4 people in work are suffering from Depression or Anxiety, then the impact on employee health and organizational productivity are important considerations.
I would suggest, if you have not done so already, you read Michael Neenan’s book: Developing Resilience: A Cognitive-Behavioural Approach, (Routledge, 2009) as this will give you an excellent understanding of resilience and how to develop and maintain it in relation to coaching individual clients.
The first stage of the process is to research the topic as without a firm grasp and understanding of the topic in question you cannot influence others as to why it is important. You say you have read a lot about the topic so from the point of view of coaching individual clients you are probably already well on your way to developing the background skills you need.
Resilience like any other offering requires you to research the subject, understand its origins and the various (and often) different views on the topic. Once you have done this it will give you a better understanding of the issues involved to help you begin considering how to develop a specialist offering. Now you can turn your attention to how you can make the topic relevant not just for your client(s) but for the organization too.
The next stage is to consider the needs of your organization. If the statistics are correct, there will be a number of individuals already experiencing issues such as Depression, Anxiety and Stress within your organization. It is therefore in the organization’s interests to start to address these. Resilience (which brings together physical, psychological, emotional and behavioural factors) can be addressed in a number of ways. It is probably worth speaking to your Human Resource and Occupational Health Departments to find out what offerings may already exist and how your organization is dealing with such matters.
If your organization has an Employee Assistance Programme, maybe you could talk to the provider to gain an understanding of the types of issues (as they will maintain individual client confidentiality) that employees are experiencing within your organization. Although this is a dedicated counselling offering and you are a coach, it will provide you with information that could assist you decide how you could practically put a specialist coaching offering in place that might act as a preventative measure. After all, if you can coach people to become more resilient individuals, they may not need counselling in the longer term.
In addition, it may be worth putting out a call to other Executive Coaches via your network to find out what they and the organizations they work for are doing in this area. You may discover that someone else has already put a programme together that could be useful and they may be willing to share their knowledge with you.
Your organization may already offer workshops on stress management or stress awareness so again you could probably gain useful information and insight by tapping into these. There may be existing policies in place and if this is the case you might find it useful to prepare a skills gap analysis. A skills gap analysis allows you to identify the gap between your current situation and what you are trying to achieve and the tasks that you need to do to close the gap.
By discussing what you are trying to achieve with all the relevant stakeholders it will provide you with an all round knowledge of what is on offer, where and by whom. Such knowledge will help you to identify how you can add value. You may also find that other parts of your organization will want to link with you and what you are doing so that the organization provides the best possible all round care.
Last but certainly not least once you have reached this stage you will be clear about your own resilience coaching offering as well as whether what you are offering as a coach can be linked to other programmes within the organization. It will also be possible to put together an evaluation programme to see how resilience coaching is making a difference.