Sam is one of the team members in Rishabh's team. He is self-aware enough to ask Rishabh for help.
Sam: I did not get the promotion, despite working hard. This is a professional setback. And, I am wondering how to motivate myself to even come to work from tomorrow. I need your help in dealing with this sense of failure.
Rishabh: I can understand. I tried my best to give you all good appraisals, but, in the end its the top management that decides. Why don't you have a word with our President. Maybe, she will have some explanation and you will not have this negative feeling...
Is this the right approach? Does this ensure that Sam will never ever feel the need to seek help for such developments in his life?
How do you coach your direct reports, when they face crisis?
Very often, the most resilient managers stumble or run into trouble (like Rishabh) when they have to mentor or coach a team member.
They either deliver a pep-talk with plenty of how-to, or how-would-I or even how-did-I stories. This doesn't help the person much in the long run. Such talks do not equip your team members to deal with the next adversity.
They would benefit more if you empathise and understand and adopt a collaborative and inquisitive approach. This will enable them to generate their own options and possibilities as they learn to be optimistic and trust their own judgement.
If we consider the case of Sam and Rishabh again, Rishabh could have asked specifying, visualising and collaborative questions, such as:
" Do you think that your sense of failure of arising out of not getting promoted or the fact that someone less or equally deserving got promoted?"
How did you deal with similar setbacks before? Say, in school or in college?
"If you have no choice, how do you think you can step up and make the most immediate and positive impact on this situation?"
"How do you think your efforts will have an impact on your peers?"
By asking such open ended and thought provoking questions, Rishabh has forced Sam to seek answers on his own. This will eventually boost his self confidence by making him optimistic about his own capabilities.
As a manager or a coach, when you are mentoring team members, do not provide any absolute answer or endorse a particular perspective; let them choose their own road and follow it with confidence. You be there, when they stumble, but let them continue on this road on their own. This makes a team resilient.