This quote by Pema Chödrön, a Tibetan buddhist,  caught my attention. To me it beautifully depicts the very nature of a human being. And the turmoil around us, making it sometimes very hard to separate where the weather ends and the sky begins.

The Weather

The current work life might seem like a storm if I listen to the busy business executives dealing with organizational change programs and ambitious goals and at the same time balancing their personal lifes with family demands, friends and personal well-being. Having two priorities such as a prominent career and being a loving family member might become overwhelming. It is easy to loose oneself in these sometimes contradicting values and demands. When you loose yourself, the clouds start gathering in the sky.

The Shelter

I was researching articles on the subject of goal attainment, resilience and work-place well-being and came across an interesting study in a large-scale public health agency.  It had been undergoing a period of significant change and organizational restructuring. To no surprise, the agency was also under intense scrutinity and pressure both internally and externally. Financial mismanagement, ethical conflicts, clinical errors, budget cuts, understaffing and increased demand for services set the scene.

A leadership program was set up with a 360-degree feedback process, a half day of training and four individual executive coaching sessions over an 8-10 week period. As this was a randomized, controlled study on the impact of coaching, it was possible to compare the results of the leadership training program with and without the coaching impact. The results were as clear as the blue sky. The participants, who received coaching reached their ambitious goals, enhanced their resilience, which is the ability to survive and thrive despite adversities, the participants experienced improvement in their levels of self-confidence and levels of workplace well-being increased significantly. The group which did not first get to receive coaching did not achieve these results.

Coaching became the much needed shelter for the participants. Coach helps the client to achieve a mutually defined set of goals with the aim of improving personal performance and well-being and the effectiveness of the organization (adapted from Kilburg, 1996). Coaching is effective through at least the following three mechanisms. Firstly, having a supportive relationship has been shown to relieve stress and anxiety (Myers, 1996). Secondly, the process of setting personally valued goals and then purposefully working towards achieving them, can enhance well-being and build self-efficacy (Sheldon and Houser-Marko, 2001). Thirdly, by engaging in a systematic manner in such processes and being supported in dealing with setbacks build resilience and enhance self-regulation (Baumeister, Gailliot, DeWall & Oaten, 2006). As a result, the sky is getting clearer; a boost in self-confidence, job satisfaction and well-being gives capabilities to deal with change and workplace stress factors.

The Sky

Combining coaching and development of personal resilience helps to visualize the sky and separate the sky from the weather. If you are interested in resilience, please check our other blog posts about the topic, too. Bravemotion is happy to provide you with tools for 360-degree and resilience assessments as well as with professional coaching for individuals and teams. Let’s find your blue sky.