Step 4 of your Resilience journey. Take charge and make a change.

Self-efficacy and Improvising Solutions – The final resilience factors 

If you have accompanied us on our resilience coaching journey this far then you will be keen to learn more about the last two Insights resilience factors – self-efficay and improvising solutions. 

If you missed the earlier articles, we have covered self-awareness, acceptance, meaning and purpose, connections, self-care and self-regulation. 

Step 4: What will you do differently?

In coaching, when we ask “What will you do differently?” it’s important to focus on small steps at first and not just the long-term goal.  One small step in the right direction is a success.  Often that first step is the most challenging and most important as getting started is often the biggest hurdle.  

Factor 7: Self-efficacy – the ability to make realistic plans and take steps to carry them out.  Self-efficacy requires a positive self-belief.  As in coaching, it’s important to believe that the plans are achievable. 

Factor 8: Improvising solutions (bricolage) – call it innovation, creativity or flexibility, this is the ability to change course and adapt to changing circumstances. The term bricolage works perfectly for me as it includes the concept of improvising from existing tools and equipment. 

 We are also at the final stage of the coaching journey (the all-important one): “What are you going to do differently?” (as a result of your reflection, realistic assessment and new purpose). 

Self-efficacy: Visualise your plans in action 

 Self-efficacy is core to my style as a coach.  Once a client has determined that change is needed – and also identified what that change should be – I spend some time asking them to visualise the change “in progress”.  If it’s an action, when does the client commit to doing it?  If it’s a daily activity, when in the day is going to be most effective?  If a weekly activity, when in the week; is it best done at the start of the week, or is it something to do in a lunch-break, after work, before work, etc?  

Changes in thinking are a bit harder, but often it may be related to a specific person or a particular type of event; so, again, I ask the client to be as specific as possible about what will happen next time, and how they will know if they have been successful. 


Do you plan your week effectively? 

It’s also worth taking a closer look at your own approach to planning at this point.  If we go back to the discussion on self-care, do you put important (but not urgent) events or actions into your schedule?  The golden rule is to schedule “important” events and activities before anything else – so this now includes self-care: regular exercise, lunch and rest breaks, social activity with friends and family.  Of course, you must then be disciplined to keep these important events in your diary, even when something urgent comes along.  Take control of your agenda and build in the breaks you need.  Learn to say “no” occasionally. 

LifeForward Resilience Improvising solutions

Improvising solutions

Bricolage – how adaptable are you? 

Improvising solutions is at the heart of resilience.  In addition to the meaning we are using here in the context of personal resilience, it also means “the ability of a substance to return to its usual shape after being bent, stretched, or pressed”.  It is the ability to bounce back, to return to “normal”.  When we improvise, we work with changing facts, conditions or circumstances.  We adapt our plan, our mindset or our direction; and then we carry on in one way or another.   

A plan that is too rigid may fall apart due to unforeseen circumstances.  Therefore, the ability to be nimble and to improvise as circumstances change is critical to resilience and any robust business plan. 


So what will you do differently? 

What will you, or your business, do differently this year?  What steps will you take to bring about the changes that are core to your new plan?  Which goals will you focus on this year?  How will you build your resilience to remain positive? 

Some suggestions … 

  • Make a plan! 
  • Write it down. 
  • Write down what success will look like – but be prepared to redefine it! 
  • Create some clear actions and goals … and remember to make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound). 
  • Put specific actions in your schedule and make them time-limited. 
  • Review your plan regularly: What have you done so far?  What progress are you making?  Where are you getting stuck?  Maybe you need to revise your plan. 
  • Celebrate your progress, however small!

One big advantage of writing down plans is that we then have a record of our achievement.  Is there anything more satisfying at the end of a busy day than ticking off all those items on your to-do list?

As an executive coach, I work with many clients who think they are good at planning… we spend quite a bit of time improving both their plan and their time management.

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