Kathryn Jackson

Keynote Paper (pre-recorded): Big Little Choices – Lessons from coaching in adversity

Kathryn Jackson


More than ten years ago, my leadership coaching practice was thrown into a very unexpected direction. Christchurch, New Zealand (where I currently live) experienced a series of devastating earthquakes which resulted in the loss of 185 precious souls and damage to over 80% of the city’s infrastructure.

Within this unbelievably challenging environment, I was invited to work alongside researchers who wanted to understand how to thrive and remain strong despite living and working in this extra stressful situation. We knew that unless there was an intentional focus on understanding wellbeing (and the resilience that it creates), the incredible teams rebuilding the city would be at enormous risk of burnout…or worse, given the intensity of their work, and the environment within which they were operating.
Our lessons learned were put to the test once more in 2016 when another hugely destructive earthquake in North Canterbury damaged the road and rail networks in a way that had never been experienced with close to a million cubic metres of rock and materials devastating the community. Repeatedly, we have continued to be tested by extra stressful events; the Christchurch Mosque shootings in 2019, the global pandemic from 2020, ongoing droughts and then flooding in the region.
The sad reality is that these sorts of events aren’t just limited to New Zealand and are experienced all around the world, every day.
As coaches working in this stressful and ever changing world, I believe that it’s our duty to better understand the science of resilience so that we can assure both the wellbeing of ourselves and our clients as we navigate whatever lies ahead. The fallout from the global pandemic is in such early days that it’s hard to know what to prepare for, however we can consider what our coaching practices might need by learning from significant events like mine.
Sharing the many lessons we learned in New Zealand about navigating stress more positively has become one of the key focusses of my coaching practice, because one of the critical things we that discovered was that strength can be intentionally grown as a result of our choices; whether the stress you’re facing is every day or extraordinary.
How might this knowledge influence your own coaching practice? Please choose to join my talk, where Liz Hall and I will explore and unpack the lessons we’ve learned to consider this very question.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Understand how wellbeing builds resilience
  2. Consider the (new) reality of your coaching world
  3. Reflect on your own resilience story
  4. Plan your own Big Little Choices
  5. Design your support strategy

Kathryn Jackson is a leadership coach, facilitator and author who enjoys exploring and influencing change in a positive way. With a background in behavioural science, fellowship of the CIPD (UK), qualifications from the OCM (UK) and over 15years of full time coaching experience, she is hugely committed to creating a global legacy about how to thrive in a stressful world.

Kathryn has the personal experience of having to walk her talk, after losing not only her home but also her office and job security as a direct result of the Christchurch earthquakes (NZ). She understands only too well how knowledge and choice can create confidence and strength, even when the world seems unimaginable.

Over the years, Kathryn has designed a toolbox of globally available resources to build stronger lives and workplaces including:

• Resilience at Work: Practical Tools for Career Success, an essential book for anybody wanting to better navigate stressors at work. This was a finalist for Best International Business Book at the Business Book Awards (London) and Australian Career Book Awards in 2019.
• Let’s Talk Resilience at Work inspired by the book, this six-part workshop series (and leaders programme) combines the key messages of Resilience at Work with a coaching approach to enable a culture of rich wellbeing themed discussion within organisations. It can be facilitated globally via Zoom or at your workplace, and there is even an option to train in-house company facilitators. A contribution is made to the New Zealand Red Cross every time this programme is run.
• Essential Questions to GROW Your Team is a workbook of Conversation Guides which is used by businesses around the world to support leaders who are learning to coach. It simply and effectively guides users to enable them to build better and more meaningful relationships with their team. It is supported by a Leadership Development Programme in New Zealand.
• The Crafted Career Programme – this self-directed online learning programme combines the science of wellbeing with practical, easy to use resources that help users find hope, strength, and a more positive career. Carefully written to help you take more notice of the skills, connections and moments that make your work meaningful and life brighter.

For more information please visit www.careerbalance.co.nz or connect with me on LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/kathrynjacksonnz