Looking at resilience – My ‘Backchat’ article for ARC Magazine

This time I’m sharing with you an interview article about me and my work round resilience, published following a workshop entitled ‘Building Resilience in a Complex World’ which I presented in July 2019 for the North West branch of the Archives & Records Association (ARA) here in the UK.

Cultivating resilience is a key skill for all of us in these increasingly complex times, particularly those who, like archives and records professionals, often work in relative isolation. My workshop focused on looking at what resilience is, how we can gain insight into our ‘inner self’ and how it influences the way we react to our world, and practical tools that can help us build resilience, supporting us towards reacting skilfully in the moment when we are feeling stressed.

Following the workshop, I was asked to contribute to the ARA’s ‘Backchat…’ article in order that aspects of my approach could be disseminated more widely amongst those who had been unable to attend. The article first appeared in the September 2019 issue of the ARC Magazine, published by the ARA. You can see the original publication here (see pp9-10), and the copyright is mine.


Dr Alison Newby – historian and coach – talks to ARC Editor Matti Watton about how she came to be involved professionally in ‘personal resilience’ and some tips on how to recognise and begin to manage stress in the workplace. (© Dr Alison Newby)

Hi Alison. Could you tell us a little about yourself and where you work?

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The importance of non-judgementalism in coaching, and 2 good reasons to build awareness

Do you remember when we looked at the 5 basic coaching skills we really need to become effective coaches? We started with contracting, followed by use of some kind of structuring mechanism (with the GROW Model as an example). Listening, questioning.and non-directiveness brought up the rear…

Figure leaning on question markThere’s no doubt that mastering these 5 skills will go a long way to ensuring that our coaching delivers what our coachees need and expect. But is there something else we should be adding to the mix? I would say there is, and it’s non-judgementalism.

So in this post we’ll be looking at non-judgementalism and exploring 2 good reasons to build awareness of when we are or are not being non-judgemental.

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Encouraging coach self-care through an “I’m OK, You’re OK” stance

This time I’m sharing a guest post I wrote not long ago concerning how coach self-care can be encouraged through a novel application of the “I’m OK, You’re OK” stance familiar from Transactional Analysis. We usually try to apply such a stance when dealing with our coachees, endeavouring to bring a non-judgemental compassion to our relationships. Yet many of us are rarely so non-judgemental or compassionate with ourselves.

Here I suggest that we can take care of ourselves better as coaches if we learn to approach ourselves as if we were someone we were coaching. By tapping into the best of what we bring to our coaching relationships, we begin to be able to non-judgmentally acknowledge and accept our own frailties, treating ourselves kindly for having tried our best.

Self care umbrella

The guest post first appeared in Coaching World in August 2018, published by the International Coach Federation (ICF). You can see the original publication here, and I’d like to point out that copyright is held by the ICF (meaning it should not be reproduced or reblogged without gaining permission from the ICF first).

Encouraging Coach Self-care through an “I’m OK, You’re OK” Stance

As coaches, our aim is to maintain a compassionate “I’m OK, You’re OK” stance with our clients. We respect their “wisdom” as well as their ability to dig deep (with our help) to find the appropriate solutions for their particular needs. We bring a non-judgmental attention to those with whom we’re working. Yet, do we bring the same compassionate stance and non-judgmental attention to ourselves?

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3 things we can do to stop feeling guilty when we can’t coach

We all know there are times when we really aren’t in the right place to give a coaching session. Perhaps we’re ill, or in the middle of a personal crisis. Or maybe we’re genuinely inundated with other things that we can’t put off or delegate to anyone else. But what if despite knowing this we’re the kind of individual that still feels guilty? What if we just can’t let go of that feeling we really ought to go ahead or we’ll be letting our coachees down?

Crying easter eggIt’s bread and butter for us to help our coachees recognise when it’s time to call a halt to something they’re fixated on needing to do. We use our coaching skills to call them out and to raise their awareness of the psychological blocks and filters which can lead to such fixations in the first place. But we may find it difficult to recognise when our own psychological blocks and filters are kicking in.

This time I’ll take a look at why we may feel guilty when we’re not in the right place to give our coaching sessions, and suggest three ways we can help ourselves to deal with this situation.

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What if… your coachee feels like committing suicide?

We’re sitting with a coachee, either in a first exploratory meeting or further along in the coaching relationship, and it dawns on us that the individual in front of us is contemplating suicide. Maybe it’s been stated openly, or maybe we’re getting the feeling that the coachee is moving in that direction. What should we do?

round shaped brickThis may be an extreme situation, but as coaches we cannot know if and when such a dilemma will confront us. We can, however, be prepared if and when it does. Suicidal coachees or individuals dealing with other kinds of crises which affect their mental capacity deserve that we’ve thought through how to handle such situations, and it’s our ethical duty to make sure we’ve done our homework.

That’s why this time I’ll be highlighting two recent documents produced by the International Coach Federation (ICF). They were prepared with the express intention of ensuring we have guidance at our fingertips to clarify the most helpful options, as well as proven pathways to follow which we can be assured will help our coachees optimally. I’d recommend we read both of these documents carefully as soon as we can, and have the reference sheet with us at all times:

A blog post can’t possibly do justice to all the valuable material presented, so here I’m focusing on 4 important topics:

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