Resilience, Catherine Sansom


As a coach, and also a counsellor, I frequently help build resilience in parents and their children. But what is resilience? How do you know you have it and whether it will withstand the tests that life throws at it?


We all have ‘coping strategies’ to some degree. Some are healthy, some are not; some are successful, and some are at best, disappointing or, at worst, self-sabotage.


Building resiliency through coaching (and counselling) enables a person of any age to work out what strategies have worked for them in the past, and also to consider the range of ‘coping strategies’ upon which they might draw for adverse times ahead.


Sometimes, they have had one main strategy that served them well previously. A typical main strength I see often is simply to ‘work harder’ in adverse times. It might work well for a while, but to call upon that strategy time and time again leads to exhaustion. We all need more strategies at our disposal.


With my clients, we have widened and deepened their resilience options. For one client, it was to reconnect with family and friends so that she could remind herself that she had a deep, reliable support network. With another client, her resilience was widened by adding a new skillset that meant her job options increased. She had an increased inner confidence that more strategies were added to her ‘tool bag’. With a third client we used role play to envisage the scenarios that might play out with her boss and prepared her for many different options.


Some clients have been going through their testing times at the point we worked together. In such cases, we were able to examine how the strategies felt while being used and were able to iterate and ‘tweak’ the strategy to exactly fit its owner. I shall call it ‘tailored resilience’!


It's never too early in life, nor too late, to start to build resilience. If you would like to speak more on gaining that for yourself and/ or your family, please send me a message and I will be happy to help. Please watch out too for my upcoming ‘Parenting Coaching’ classes to launch in September.


Catherine Sansom

Certified Coach, BACP Registered Counsellor, Lecturer in Child Development