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Refueling Your Own Tank: Resiliency for Coaches

Posted by Marilyn Orr, CEC, PCC | February 8, 2019 | Comments (0)

Firefighters and police have to stay in good physical shape. Their job requires it. Doctors and lawyers need to stay current on research, trends, precedents. It is critical to them doing their jobs well.

As coaches, we have the best job ever! The competencies we use in every coaching meeting include listening well, being fully present, and genuinely building trust and connection. What then is critical for us to do our job?

Focusing on our own well-being in an intentional, frequent manner is critical to us being able to coach in alignment with the competencies we have all studied and practiced. I would posit that we have an ethical responsibility to take our mental and physical wellness seriously so that we can be fully present for our clients.

Life hands us many ups and downs. How do we create a safe space within ourselves that we can go to with our clients? How can we pause our own possible turmoil to truly be there for someone else while we coach them?

The risk we run when we are not aggressively refueling our own tank is that we come to a coaching session needy. Whether consciously or not, there are two risks present:

  • We may not be able to listen effectively, ask intuitive questions easily or be as creative as normal
  • We may look to our clients, subtly or not, to have our needs met

When I’m sharing this topic with coaching students, I love to ask, “Is resiliency something we are born with or something we learn to have? Is it nature or nurture?”

As you can imagine, there is a wide variety of answers. Truly, I would argue, it is both. Someone may be born with a personality that is full of tenacity. That will help them with some aspects of resiliency. From the family systems side, someone may be born into a family that encourages them to set healthy boundaries, eat healthy, have self-compassion, etc. That will give them a head start.

The great news about resiliency, though, is that it fits into the family of emotional intelligence and is therefore something we can grow. The bad news, if you like, is that even if we are born into great resiliency patterns, it is our choice based on our responses to pressures and stresses whether we keep those great habits or not.

Our self-talk can deteriorate as a result of hard experiences or unhealthy communication in close relationships. High stress levels may lead us to making some unhealthy coping choices.

What makes up the skills, habits and thinking that lead to great resiliency? It is diverse and unique to each of us, but the categories include:

  • Establishing and maintaining healthy relationships
  • Practicing self-compassion, including limiting the inner critic
  • Eating nourishing food and limiting unhealthy food
  • Sleeping well
  • Processing and detoxing emotions from difficult situations
  • Building healthy financial habits and practices
  • Practicing personal spirituality
  • Learning and enjoying growth
  • Experiencing relaxation time

The list can go on and on, of course. What fills your tank back up will be different from what will fill mine up. I’m responsible for my well-being. I’m responsible to myself and also to my clients.

You are the boss of you, and you are in charge of your well-being. What do you need to be doing more of in order to live life with a fuller tank? What should you be doing less of? What three things or resources would really help you be more resilient in the next few weeks?


Marilyn Orr, CEC, PCC

Marilyn Orr, CEC, PCC, is a Leadership & Executive Coach and Mentor Coach with Capacity Building Coaching and a training partner on EQi 2.0 and EQi 2.0 360 with MHS Assessments. She started what is now the ICF Atlantic Chapter and recently completed a two-year term as chapter president of ICF Greater Austin Charter Chapter. Marilyn is a published author of the everyday resiliency workbook How Absorbent Are Your Shocks? and is leading a workshop on developing emotional resiliency at the upcoming Fierce Self-Compassion: Unplug Your Inner Critic event this April. Connect with Marilyn on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @CoachMarilynOrr.

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts featured on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the International Coach Federation (ICF). The publication of a guest post on the ICF Blog does not equate to an ICF endorsement or guarantee of the products or services provided by the author.

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