Old and new employees undergoing resilience training

Do Training Programs Aimed At Developing Resilience In The Workplace Really Work?

October 25, 2023

Posted by BOLDLY

In the ever-evolving landscape of the modern workplace, resilience has become a buzzword that carries profound significance. As organisations strive to adapt to rapid changes, unexpected challenges, and the ever-increasing demands on their workforce, the need for resilient employees has never been more critical. But, can resilience truly be developed through training programs? Do these programs deliver on their promises of enhancing an individual's ability to bounce back from adversity and thrive amidst uncertainty? In this blog, we will explore the effectiveness of resilience training programs in the workplace, drawing upon academic evidence to uncover the real impact they have on employees and organisations. Join us on this journey to understand if resilience training is a game-changer or merely another workplace fad.

Understanding the Concept

Resilience, in the context of psychology and organisational behaviour, refers to an individual's or organisation's capacity to adapt, bounce back, and thrive in the face of adversity, challenges, or significant stressors. It involves the ability to maintain or regain mental and emotional well-being, perform effectively, and continue pursuing goals even when confronted with difficult circumstances. Resilience is a multifaceted concept that has been extensively studied in various academic disciplines, including psychology, sociology, and management, making it crucial for all levels of management. It is one of the best bases when considering coaching for supervisors, rank-and-file employees, and executive leaders. 

Resilience is the dynamic process through which individuals or organisations demonstrate the capacity to withstand, recover from, and adapt positively to adversity, while maintaining or enhancing their well-being and functioning.

Related Literature on the Effectiveness of Resilience Programs

Training programs aimed at developing resilience in the workplace can be effective, but their success may vary depending on various factors, including the design of the program, the participants, and the organisational context. Here are some academic findings related to the effectiveness of resilience training programs in the workplace:

  • Meta-Analyses: Meta-analyses of various resilience training programs have found positive effects on employee well-being, stress reduction, and job satisfaction. For example, a meta-analysis by Tugade and Fredrickson (2004) in the "Psychological Bulletin" found that positive emotion-based resilience training can improve overall psychological well-being.
  • Job Performance: Resilience training centres can help improve job performance. In a study published in the "Journal of Organizational Behavior" (Luthans et al., 2006), it was found that employees who participated in a resilience intervention demonstrated better job performance compared to a control group.
  • Reduction in Stress: Resilience training in the workplace often [p-=0pto reduce workplace stress. Research published in the "Journal of Occupational Health Psychology" (Robertson et al., 2015) found that resilience training can lead to a reduction in stress and increased psychological well-being among employees.
  • Long-Term Effects: Some studies have shown that the effects of resilience training can be sustained over the long term. For example, a study published in the "Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine" (Hogan et al., 2018) found that employees who participated in a resilience program continued to show reduced stress levels a year after the intervention.
  • Context Matters: The effectiveness of resilience training programs may depend on the specific context of the organisation. Factors such as leadership support, the organisation's culture, and the nature of the work may influence the success of these programs.

It's important to note that while these studies provide evidence of the potential benefits of resilience training programs, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and the effectiveness of such programs can vary.

Man in wheelchair demonstrating resilience at work

Executive Coaching in Lieu of Resilience Training

By comparison, executive coaching can be a highly effective method for developing resilience in the workplace, often proving to be superior to traditional training courses in several key ways:

  1. Personalisation: Executive coaching is tailored specifically to the individual's needs, challenges, and goals. Unlike standardised training courses that offer a one-size-fits-all approach, coaching recognises that resilience development is a highly personalised journey. Coaches work closely with clients to identify their unique stressors, weaknesses, and strengths, creating a customised plan for resilience development.
  2. Continuous Feedback and Support: Coaching provides ongoing feedback and support, offering employees the opportunity to reflect on their progress, setbacks, and successes in real time. This dynamic feedback loop allows for adjustments and fine-tuning of resilience strategies as needed, fostering sustainable growth.
  3. Accountability: A coach holds the individual accountable for their resilience development. This accountability can be a powerful motivator, ensuring that employees remain committed to building their resilience even when faced with challenges or distractions.
  4. Addressing Root Causes: Coaches delve deeper into the underlying causes of workplace stress and low resilience. They help individuals explore the root sources of their challenges and guide them in developing strategies to address these issues effectively. This can lead to more sustainable improvements in resilience by tackling issues at their core.
  5. Skill Transfer: Executive coaching focuses on skill transfer rather than theoretical knowledge. While training courses may provide theoretical insights into resilience, coaching actively helps individuals apply these concepts to real-life situations. This practical approach makes it easier for employees to integrate resilience into their daily work routines.
  6. Flexibility: Coaching sessions can be adjusted and adapted based on evolving needs and circumstances. In contrast, training courses often have fixed schedules and content, which may not align with the changing demands of the workplace.
  7. Building Confidence: Coaching not only teaches resilience but also helps individuals build self-confidence in their ability to handle adversity. This confidence can have a profound impact on an employee's overall well-being and performance.
  8. Long-Term Impact: While training courses can offer short-term gains, executive coaching is often associated with long-term, sustainable improvements in resilience. The ongoing support and guidance provided by a coach can help individuals navigate various challenges over time.
  9. Leadership Development: Executive coaching often targets leaders and executives within organisations. When leaders develop resilience, it can have a cascading effect throughout the organisation, fostering a culture of resilience and adaptability.
  10. Holistic Approach: Coaches take a holistic approach to resilience development, considering not only the workplace but also personal factors that may affect an individual's resilience. This comprehensive perspective can lead to more meaningful and enduring changes.
New employees gathered for resilience training

While training courses can still be valuable in providing foundational knowledge and awareness about resilience, executive coaching offers a more individualised, dynamic, and sustainable approach to developing resilience in the workplace. Ultimately, the choice between coaching and training courses may depend on an organisation's specific needs and resources, but the personalised nature and ongoing support of coaching make it a compelling option for fostering resilience in today's complex work environments.

When considering implementing a resilience training program in the workplace, it's crucial to tailor it to the specific needs and challenges of the organisation and its employees, monitor its effectiveness, and adapt it as necessary to ensure positive outcomes.

Committing to resilience as an integral part of your organisational framework is not just beneficial but essential. It’s about taking proactive, strategic steps towards a more adaptable professional environment. For those ready to embark on this transformative journey, reaching out to a dedicated partner like BOLDLY can set the stage for sustained success. We invite you to initiate this pivotal conversation with us at connect@boldly.app. Together, we’ll navigate the complexities, ensuring your resilience strategy is not only robust but also deeply aligned with your organisational ethos.


  • ● Masten, A. S. (2001). Ordinary magic: Resilience processes in development. American Psychologist, 56(3), 227-238.
  • ● Luthans, F., & Youssef-Morgan, C. M. (2017). Psychological capital: An evidence-based positive approach. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 4, 339-366.
  • ● Fletcher, D., & Sarkar, M. (2013). Psychological resilience: A review and critique of definitions, concepts, and theory. European Psychologist, 18(1), 12-23.
  • ● Rutter, M. (1985). Resilience in the face of adversity: Protective factors and resistance to psychiatric disorder. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 147(6), 598-611.
  • ● Hart, P. M., Wearing, A. J., & Headey, B. (1995). Coping, health, and organizations. In R. S. Bhagat & R. M. Steers (Eds.), Handbook of Culture, Organizations, and Work (pp. 81-100).