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.



About Jon Bartlett

I'm a coach, blogging on things that occur to me, that I want to share and any other fun stuff I find lying around in the real world.
This entry was posted in Coaching, Mental Health, Work and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Bounce-back-ability

  1. Natasha @StirTheSource says:

    Nice work JB! Good on you! Strikes me that this is a challenge that everyone, whatever their role, faces day in, day out … how does one remain present against the pressures of work and very little time. How does one rise above the noise and ask the question that really helps something fundamentally and purely shift? I suspect many will say ‘ah, that’s a classic coaching by the water-cooler moment’ yet how many of us, hand on heart, remember to make that choice in any moment with our colleagues or even with ourselves? How many of us remember in our most challenging situations to allow the space for presence to appear and for the question that truly shifts something to drop in. How many of us are open to those big questions? How do we react to those? Which do we prefer those that come from within or those that come from another? What is the intention of another, especially a colleague? Is the question unattached to outcome or attached … how do we sense the difference? What is important here …….

    Nice evocation and invitation here JB. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Meg Peppin says:

    Hey Jon, you rock.

  3. Steph says:

    Well done Sean! I never cease to be amazed at the power of short, focused support! Just by giving people the opportunity to talk and your listening skills, a difference has been made – a huge difference for the people concerned. This is why you and I love what we do!!!

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