Recently I’ve been delivering a series of workshops on resilience. Sometimes these are a joint venture with Ian Pettigrew (@KingfisherCoach) and other times it is me solo. Ian and I were compelled to construct these workshops after seeing what the modern workplace / society seems to be doing to people.
Last week I was delivering on my own. The client had requested 30 minute taster sessions during a wellbeing event rather than taking the whole workshop. In order to fill the gaps between each taster I told the client I would offer “walk in” coaching of 5-10 minutes if there were any takers. Picture my face when I was presented with my running order for the day – walk in coaching filling every available space between tasters. Literally, 1030, 1035, 1040, 1045 etc. with no gap before starting delivery again at 11, and the whole day was like this.
After a few deep breaths (and a reminder from my slides about how a lack of role clarity can really undermine someone at work) I decided to throw myself in to it. I used the structure of the taster sessions to carry me onward, the debate and dialogue was energising leaving me ready and focussed for the coaching.
Almost without exception as we sat down people would say “I’m not sure what we can do in such a short space of time”. My response? “Take all the time you need in the next 5 minutes”.
Now maybe it was because most of the coachees had attended the taster session just prior, or maybe it was because people took their chance but some of those conversations were extraordinary. I was told of recent bereavements, challenges with IVF, bullying, mental health conditions and debt struggles. They spoke of fear and shame and yet also of hope and joy. There were tears and smiles. All in 5 minutes.
So why am I telling you this? Well part of the course that Ian and I deliver is about how to bounce back during tough times. One of the best tools is to create a support network – maybe friends, family or a colleague, perhaps even your boss. It might be a coach or mentor, it could be your GP but talking to someone really does help.
One of the things that did stand out during the day was that people were reluctant to tell their boss and that managers don’t always feel equipped to start these conversations so please check out the great resources from my friends over at the mental health charity Mind.
So what about those people I coached? As I said, there were a few tears but all of them went away with a next step, something they were going to do differently. As for me, I finished the day exhausted but happy. Will I organise a day like that again? Certainly not with those timings! However, would I change anything about that day? Not a thing.