The modern world is constantly subjected to change, requiring a certain level of adaptability in our day-to-day lives. However, this had recently been exacerbated in light of the pandemic, resulting in big changes that strongly impact how individuals conduct their personal and professional activities. These new changes make adaptability a crucial skill for individuals to develop, particularly as it “facilitates positive outcomes” (Zhou & Lin, 2016).
According to a study, individuals need to “exhibit adaptability both in cognition and behavior” in order to manage changing circumstances (Zhou & Lin, 2016). In this way, adaptability becomes a necessary skill that allows individuals to move forward and accomplish their goals. This blog post aims to provide an overview of adaptability and its importance in these changing times for those interested in becoming a life coach.
An Exploration of Adaptability’s Role in Life Satisfaction
Adaptability plays an important role in helping people accept new changes, allowing them to overcome adversity. It can be defined as “appropriate cognitive, behavioural, and/or affective adjustment in the face of uncertainty and novelty” (Martin et al., 2013). Adaptability has always been a valuable skill, even before the pandemic, enabling individuals to cope with difficulties in a way that promotes their success.
Although being confronted with changing circumstances can be daunting, developing adaptability skills comes with many benefits (Zhou & Lin, 2016). For example, adaptability has been attributed to positive academic outcomes, such as school enjoyment and positive academic intentions, along with positive non-academic outcomes—including self-esteem, life satisfaction, and sense of meaning and purpose (Martin et al., 2013). Another study also reveals positive outcomes linked to adaptability, where an “increase in career adaptability over time predicted increase in sense of power and experience of life satisfaction” (Hirschi, 2009). These findings further establish the importance of adaptability in achieving life satisfaction, making it an important concept for students in life coach training to understand and work on with their clients in the future.
A Brief Guide on Developing Adaptability Skills for Those in Life Coach Training
Studies view adaptability as a “self-regulation resource, which is perceived to be a kind of strength that allows control over self, and is important in helping individuals adjust to a new environment” (Akkermans et al., 2018). In order to foster adaptability, life coaches will need to build up their client’s resilience while promoting an open outlook. Here, the concept of “sense making” becomes relevant. Adaptability can occur more easily when extraordinary or emotionally-demanding events are deconstructed—“no longer [becoming] the focal in people’s thoughts and no longer trigger[ing] intense reactions” (Wilson et al., 2005).
Additionally, developing a social support system has been proven to be incredibly influential in facilitating adaptability. As Zhou and Lin describes, “social support will enable [individuals] to adapt to the environment better, and a combination of adaptability and social support will have a more positive impact on life satisfaction” (2016). The presence of social support systems has also been shown to improve performance in addition to coping adaptability (Overdale & Gardner, 2012). These findings illustrate the significance of external resources in cultivating adaptability and better coping mechanisms.
Those taking life coach courses can learn to work with clients in order to improve their adaptability skills. By setting clear and reachable short and long-term goals, life coaches can promote personal growth and achievement. This will enable clients to persevere and adapt to the changing circumstances of our world today.
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Zhou, M., & Lin, W. (2016). Adaptability and Life Satisfaction: The Moderating Role of Social Support. Frontiers in psychology, 7, 1134. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01134
Martin, Andrew & Nejad, Harry & Colmar, Susan & Liem, Gregory Arief. (2013). Adaptability: How Students’ Responses to Uncertainty and Novelty Predict Their Academic and Non-Academic Outcomes. Journal of Educational Psychology. 105. 728. 10.1037/a0032794.
Hirschi, Andreas. (2009). Career adaptability development in adolescence: Multiple predictors and effect on sense of power and life satisfaction. Journal of Vocational Behavior. 74. 145-155. 10.1016/j.jvb.2009.01.002.
Akkermans, J., Paradniké, K., Van der Heijden, B., & De Vos, A. (2018). The Best of Both Worlds: The Role of Career Adaptability and Career Competencies in Students’ Well-Being and Performance. Frontiers in psychology, 9, 1678. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01678
Overdale, S., & Gardner, D. (2012). Social support and coping adaptability in initial military training. Military Psychology, 24(3), 312–330. https://doi.org/10.1080/08995605.2012.678243
Wilson, T. D., Centerbar, D. B., Kermer, D. A., & Gilbert, D. T. (2005). The pleasures of uncertainty: prolonging positive moods in ways people do not anticipate. Journal of personality and social psychology, 88(1), 5–21. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3522.214.171.124