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Are you Coaching Fragile Clients?

Embracing Chaos: How Coaching Unleashes the Antifragile Potential Within Our Clients

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Unleashing the Antifragile Hero in your Client

In the dynamic world of coaching, clients often present goals that may seem fragile, easily shaken or broken by unexpected challenges. Others demonstrate resilience, able to bounce back from setbacks and maintain their progress. But what if there was a coaching approach that could empower clients to not only withstand adversity but actually thrive and grow stronger from it?

Enter the concept of antifragile coaching – a transformative method that enables clients to harness chaos, disruptions, and stressors, ultimately turning them into opportunities for personal growth and success.

Join us on CLCI live as Jerome LeDuff Jr (MCLC), Anthony Lopez (MCPC), Brooke Adair Walters (ACC) and Lisa Finck (PCC) dive into the compelling realm of antifragility and unlock the ultimate potential of coaching with antifragile goals.

Disruptions and their Potential

Chaos, disorder, and disruption are basically inevitable in life and will always affect the goals our clients pursue no matter how well planned they are. To see how we as coaches can better prepare our clients for this turmoil, we have to look at the most common types of goals our clients come up with in the course of the coaching relationship: fragile and resilient goals.

Fragile goals tend to go off the rails at the slightest upset and must be strictly followed, with room for deviation. Clients who create fragile goals want to create the “perfect” scenario and the most optimized plans that they end up neglecting the blocks that will eventually arise and disrupt their best laid plans. What eventually happens is that the client spends more time addressing what they didn't do vs. what they actually have accomplished.

Alternatively, resilient goals tend to be neutral to changes in circumstance but may ultimately lack in motivation to adapt and grow. A client with merely resilient goals may tend to just be happy with the status quo and avoid getting out of their comfort zone. While chaos and upsets probably won't phase your client, they tend to not capitalize on the new opportunities that disruption presents.

This is where antifragile goals comes into play.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of the book Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder, offers us the concept of antifragility. Taleb explains,

Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.

Or, as psychologist Dana Klisanin puts it, “In a nutshell, antifragility means to get stronger in the face of stressors.”

Now consider the client with the antifragile goal

A pair of boxing gloves
Antifragile goals can take a punch

An antifragile goal embraces the unpredictable nature of life and not only withstands disruptions but also uses them as opportunities for growth and improvement. Clients who set antifragile goals are aware that obstacles will arise and are prepared to adapt and learn from them, ultimately becoming stronger and more capable in the process.

For example, suppose a client's goal is to lose 20 pounds, BUT, within a flexible time frame while focusing on overall health and well-being. They incorporate a balanced diet, regular exercise, and mindfulness practices into their routine. When faced with unexpected challenges, such as an illness, injury, or a change in schedule, they view these disruptions as opportunities to reassess their approach, develop new strategies, and explore alternative methods for achieving their goal.

As a result, the client not only continues to make progress towards their weight loss goal but also gains valuable skills, such as adaptability, resilience, and resourcefulness, which will serve them well in other areas of their life. This is the essence of an antifragile goal – one that thrives in the face of chaos and uncertainty, transforming setbacks into catalysts for personal growth and success.

Antifragility in Coaching

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Are you coaching towards or away from fragility?

So how can the life coach help our clients make their goals antifragile?

  1. By encouraging a growth mindset: Ask questions on what they have learned from challenges and setbacks. This is an opportunity for client growth and enables them to view disruptions positively and use them to their advantage.

  2. By developing contingency plans: Ask what happens when life gets in the way. This will cause the client to think and create alternative plans for when disruptions occur. Having a backup plan in place will enable them to pivot and adapt more easily, increasing the antifragility of their goals.

  3. By encouraging experimentation: Ask clients to explore and consider different approaches and methods for achieving their goals. Many clients will come into a room with a black and white mentality, thinking there is only one way to get what they want. This is an opportunity to challenge the client and have them consider alternate paths towards what they desire.

Finally, consider that the coach is a disruptor themselves, someone who introduces a bit of controlled chaos, challenges the client's status quo, and encourages them to step outside their comfort zone. By asking thought-provoking questions, providing new perspectives, and offering constructive observations, the coach plays a crucial role in introducing the necessary disruptions that facilitate the client's transformation.

In this sense, coaching inherently promotes antifragility, as the coach-client relationship fosters a dynamic environment where the client can grow, adapt, and thrive in the face of change. Through this collaborative journey, the client not only achieves their goals but also emerges as a more resilient, adaptable, and antifragile individual, ready to conquer the inevitable challenges that life presents.


Thank you,

Jerome LeDuff Jr (MCLC), Anthony Lopez (MCPC), Brooke Adair Walters (ACC) and Lisa Finck (PCC)!

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1 comentário

Billi Jean
Billi Jean
22 de mai. de 2023

Thanks for advice!

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