This case study is based on the work of Jenny Campbell, CEO and Lead Researcher at The Resilience Engine - and Campbell J. (2019) The Resilience Dynamic® Great Britain:  Practical Inspiration Publishing, as well as Anne Archer of Anne Archer Associates -

Mr Z is an ambitious 30-ish line manager in a high-pressured sales function of a global manufacturing organisation.

We had known each other through the leadership development workshops and programmes that I had designed and delivered in the organisation.   When we started our coaching work in June 2019, he had recently been promoted to a team leadership role that would involve influencing more senior people and peers in a range of functions. As a participant, Mr Z engaged well intellectually, he led discussions and activities and was very confident of his abilities; almost over-confident to the point of bordering on arrogance.  In his previous role, his performance rating was consistently high, and the organisation considered him to have potential and talent whilst recognising that he needed to mature a little.

What follows is a snapshot of my experience of working with him linked to the core model – The Resilience Dynamic® – from the work of Jenny Campbell and explained in detail in Chapter 5 The Resilience Dynamic® (Campbell (2019) (pp73-106))

Figure 1: Campbell (2019) (p80)

June 2019

At this first meeting Mr Z was at the start of the Whoosh defined by Jenny Campbell as:

“This isn’t one step, it’s a long line of tiny incremental improvements that together shift your resilience towards a level that is both stable and on which you can depend.” (Campbell (2019) (p79))

“Stress doesn’t really figure here in the same way.  Instead of stress, you absorb pressure…You have enough capacity for doing many more things you want to do. (Campbell (2019) (p118))

Energised by the promotion and opportunities ahead, Mr Z recognised the start of another leadership journey whilst mindful of the new learning and leadership skills he would need to develop through our coaching work. For him the recent promotion recognised his level of competence and confidence. At the first session he explored a personal long-time leadership development area of stretch; that of building trusting relationships.  With his new team leadership role and the need to influence more senior people and peers, this topic had grown in importance and urgency.  He summed this up in the following question,

“How can I create a safe and trustful environment for people to say what they want and for me to be able too?”

I reflect now on the strong level of his adaptive capacity in terms of his focus on the external goal of both the new role and his learning agenda and the links to another core model from the work of Jenny Campbell:

Figure 2

He demonstrated strong Internal Resources:
  • The ‘1’ - An acceptance of self in relationship to his leadership journey so far and that which was still to come.
  • The ‘2’ – A belief in his judgement as he evaluated what prevented him connecting easily and how he might change this.
  • The ‘7’ – Taking full responsibility for self as he uncovered unproductive judgements that he had been unaware of before the coaching session.
  • There was an informed sense of perspective about his results focus compared to relationships – and an authenticity in wanting to support himself better to maintain his energy and success.

All in all, his starting session aligned clearly to being somewhere on the Whoosh.

September 2019

What a difference three months can make.

As Mr Z. walked into the room his posture was more slouched and his walk less energetic.  When he started to position the last three months he talked of a frustrating few months, fraught with many challenges outside of his influence.  I noticed two questions that he voiced almost wearily:
  • “Is this me?
  • Why am I the only one?

I positioned my observation about what he had said and the way he had said it and introduced The Resilience Dynamic (Campbell (2019) (p80). There was a recognition of one or two examples of ‘Bounce Back’:

“Experiencing the ups of this state can feel like being on top of the world.  However, there is a cost attached to Bounce Back, which is fatigue.” (Campbell (2019) (p79)

“When you are in Bounce Back, you have already figured out that you can recover from setbacks.  You experience stress and you have learnt how to handle it pretty well.  You may persist but experience fatigue.” ((2019) (p120)

When I asked him where he was and to mark on the Resilience Dynamic® diagram (Figure 1) where he was, he very firmly positioned himself between Coping:

“Coping is where things are just manageable.  There is no surplus, but things are not broken.” (Campbell (2019) (p79))

“When you are Coping, you are just managing what you need to do, versus the capacity you have.  All your energy is spent on managing what is on your plate……It’ll be better tomorrow.” Campbell (2019) (p126)

and Break Up / Fragmentation:

“Every so often things are ok, but most often things are not ok.  In work terms this can have a strong impact on performance.  In personal life, it can put relationships under extreme pressure.” (Campbell (2019) (p129)

Mr Z had set his agenda for the session:
“To explore my level of resilience and to see how to change things.”

I introduced the STEM framework (Sleep, Think, Eat, Move, Connect - Anne Archer of Anne Archer Associates - as a way for Mr Z to identify what symptoms he was experiencing that led to his positioning on the diagram.  He easily reeled off a list:
  • Lost weight (others noticing)
  • Continuous headaches
  • Skipping breakfast
  • Last-minute meetings
  • Interrupted sleep
  • Rushed lunch
  • No exercise for c.6 months
  • No coffee or beer with colleagues and friends
  • Work-Life balance seriously not there
  • Finding his children irritating and spending less time with them (Wife noticing)
  • That he was normally in a state where the opposite of these points was true

The list of points set me thinking of handouts that I had designed during my training as a tool to work with, and we explored a little more (See Appendix A and B) and an opening statement in The Resilience Dynamic (Campbell (2019) (p xv):

“Real resilience encompasses wellbeing and high performance.”

Asking him where he wanted to prioritise his energy, based on his positioning he still had capacity to do this, he immediately said “Sleep” as this, in his view, was the input to the other four – Thirst, Eat, Move, Connect - that he saw as outputs.  I noticed a palpable shift in his energy to a more upright posture, stronger tone of voice and the reappearance of some Internal Resource from the earlier Resilience Engine® model on page 2:
  • The ‘7’ – Taking full responsibility for self
  • Element 2 of Adaptive Capacity – Support oneself

However, the lack of sureness and belief remained though:
  • “Unfortunately, I need time to download at the end of the day.”
When gently pushed:
  • “What makes this bad rather than a good leadership reflection routine?”

Mr Z’s response:
  •  “Doing the right thing in the wrong way realisation – in front of TV, losing track of the time, so late to bed.”

The follow-up:
  • “What will more resilient look like then?”

Mr Z’s response:
  • “Doing the right thing in the right way – re-establishing a routine that I used to have to clear down the day.”

He had moved along the Whoosh a little further towards Break Through. It is useful to reflect here that few people achieve Break Through consistently and it remains to be seen if this is a stable positioning or more of a Bounce Back.  He is likely to spend some time in Bounce Back – although not necessarily too much because of his previous Whoosh journey to Break Through - compared to those that have never experienced the Whoosh before who are likely to find it a much longer journey of self-awareness and discovery to self-management.

“Break Through is where you have the highest resilience; you embrace change.  It’s where you are resourceful, adaptable and energised no matter what is going on.” (Campbell (2019) (p79)

“Stress isn’t really felt negatively at all here; instead you have an enormous capacity for what you do.” (Campbell (2019) (p79))

and in doing so worked to reinstate a new set of habits to turn into his ‘resilience practice’. (Campbell 2019 (p241))

Mr Z developed the following list/schedule:
  • 7-8pm Children and dinner
  • 9-10pm get to bed early, think things through, drop to sleep early
  • 5–6am get up, exercise routine
  • 6-7am breakfast routine
  • 7.30-8am children and school routine
  • 7:30–8am work and plan/organise the day better

The session was at an end.  He stated his action to re-establish the routine and I pushed for timings to really ground.

What a glorious session; I love my job!

Appendix A - Symptoms of Overload

When you are suffering from undue pressure or what is typically called stress, your body reacts with early warning signs. Knowing your early warning signs enables you to take action earlier. Investment in your wellbeing, and in particular having a steady energy level will stop you progressing to a lower level of resilience, and therefore protect your health more. Warning signs are personal to you. They will come from our seven bodily systems, as per the table below.  Which ones refer to you?


Appendix B - Tweeted by Dr Victoria Galbraith, 4th May 2017


Her website: has a short interview on the power of silence too.

Mark on the blank outline what you notice in you.