In the community of coaching, we mostly live in a warm and fuzzy world where people are using the coach approach in their communications and are focusing on the positive when working with clients.

But there are times when we face resistance which can come in many forms.

1.     Negative feedback after a presentation

2.     Being fired by a client

3.     Not being hired after an interview or proposal

4.     Hearing that colleagues are speaking negatively about you or your work

5.     Facing the feeling that we are failures in our work – the imposter syndrome, or that we really aren’t meeting our own standards.

Coaches may not like to talk about these, what appear to be negatives, because we are trained to be looking for opportunities. But there’s a difference between dwelling on difficult feelings or feedback and taking them in as a learning opportunity.

We recently did a webinar on Mentor Coaching and received feedback from the participants.  While we did receive some positive feedback, we also received constructive feedback that was quite specific and not particularly positive about our performance and presentation skills.  At first we both experienced the typical reactions and feelings that would be normal for anyone to feel.  We felt exposed and thought maybe we shouldn’t be doing presentations.  We even wondered if other presenters received similar feedback.

Then we employed some simple strategies to help us turn the experience into one of resilience-building and we wanted to share these with you – our coaching community.

Ways to build resilience:

1.  Ask for feedback and make it clear that you want ALL the feedback not just the positives.

We did this – and we got our share of “not just positives.”  Inviting the feedback was our first step to creating resilience.

2.  Know that ultimately you know the truth about your performance or skill level.  When people share, they are sharing their perspective and their opinion and their entire life experience and world view – and they are one person.  So take in what someone says in order to check in with yourself and take whatever learning is available, but also know that you don’t have to internalize everything.  So after taking in the feedback, trust yourself to take what is useful and leave the rest.

Once we took in the feedback, we sat with it a bit and broke it down and were able to pull out some key ideas that were worthwhile to take into consideration going forward.

3.  Notice self talk that happens when you receive feedback and see if you want to reframe any of it – for example “I’m the only one getting this kind of feedback”, “People are talking negatively about me”, “I’m a fraud”, “I shouldn’t have put myself out there.”

We noticed our self talk and used some of Byron Katie’s work; asking “is it true?”  Is it true that I am a fraud?  Or, is it true that I shouldn’t have put myself out there?

4.  Share the feedback or self talk that may be negative and request perspective from someone who you know is in full support of you. Do this with a trusted colleague.

Happily, we are partners and so we were able to share the process with each other – supporting one another to take in the feedback in a way that was useful and not depleting.

5.  Create actions that can help you to hone areas where your skill level isn’t where you want it to be.

We made a few changes to our presentation based on the feedback that address some of the issues and will support us to have a better result next time.

In addition, writing this blog is one strategy that we’ve employed to help us to build our resilience!

Maybe you have an experience that was not that comfortable in terms of receiving feedback?  What did you do to help yourself through that?  Can you see any other ways to support yourself and your close colleagues when this happens?

We would love to hear from you!  How do you build resilience?