26th Global

Mentoring, Coaching and Supervision Conference

1-3 June 2020

26th Global

Mentoring, Coaching and Supervision Conference

1-3 June 2020


MASTERCLASS: Emotional agility coaching with Martin Bless

MASTERCLASS: Emotional agility coaching

Type: Workshop

Session on 1 June 2020 09:00 UTC - View on timetable


If you have registered to attend this MasterClass then please download this file and print it out in advance of the session

In a VUCA(Volatile, Unpredictable, Complex, Ambiguous) world a company’s ability to continually adapt to change is critical. Susan David has suggested that Emotional Agility, our aptitude to manage our thoughts and feelings in a constantly evolving world, is an essential management competence.  Nevertheless, there is an inescapable fact that to be agile you need to be engaged. In 2017 a survey conducted by Gallup confirmed that in Western Europe 71% of employees are not engaged at work and 19% are actively disengaged. In the light of this survey, as Executive Coaches, we must focus not only on our clients’ emotional agility but also on their engagement at work.

Acceptance and Commitment Coaching (ACC) is a very recent approach, derived from the empirically based Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which aims to develop psychological flexibility. ACC focuses primarily on emotional agility as well as on value driven actions, in other words engagement, while challenging the idea that painful experiences must be avoided. It promotes acceptance of one’s internal experience to be able to mindfully and effectively navigate in an ever-changing external environment. In addition ACC encourages individuals to clarify their core values and commit to act in their direction. Values are seen as the principal motivational factor propelling individuals to engage and act by giving meaning to their life and work.

Moving from the individual to the corporate context, an individual’s core values may not always be in line with those held by their organisation. This conflict of values may result in disengagement contributing to the above statistics. In order to counteract this, another source of motivation is required.  We will explore Appreciative Coaching (AC), inspired by Positive Psychology, an approach based on strength and capability that has the potential to help secure engagement if and when values diverge.  AC focuses on the alignment of resources empowering individuals to act towards a solution-based approach rather than dwelling on problems and issues.

Emotional Agility Coaching is a pragmatic, constructive and effective approach focused on helping our clients accept and embrace emotions, whilst actively engaging at work. During this MasterClass I will initially cover the theory behind the Acceptance and Commitment approach to coaching as well as the research evidence on its effectiveness in promoting emotional agility. In small groups we will be using the ACT Matrix, a powerful visual tool that brings together the key ellements of ACC. Participants will then explore the many rigid responses we tend to adopt when facing difficult emotions. Finally, they will engage in a meaningful path towards defining their core values alongside experiencing the motivational force of Appreciative Coaching aimed at unlocking their inner fire.


Martin Bless graduated from Strathclyde University Business School Glasgow with an MSC in 1980.  He spent most of his career in management, first in Marketing, then in Finance, in Supply Chain and lastly in General management. His interest in Management Agility comes from his experience working in precious metals, supply chain and refining, for the watch and banking sectors. The precious metal market is notoriously volatile and unpredictable, where fluctuation in raw material prices can seriously impact manufacturing operations. The pressures to adjust and perform in such an environment were huge. Martin successfully focused on developing his teams’ ability to accept change and adapt, by growing their psychological flexibility.

Martin was involved in introducing the agile methodology into industrialisation processes for a large Swiss watch company.  His experience as a Scrum Master reinforced his belief in the values of coaching competencies in management and leadership. In 2009, while working in the south of Switzerland, he followed a part time executive coaching course, traveling regularly back to his university in Glasgow. He subsequently gained EMCC accreditation at Practitioner level. In May 2019, he was elected President of EMCC Switzerland.

Martin has worked as a coach for over 10 years now and in 2015 became an independent. He also works as a supervisor in a Swiss coaching and management-training institute. The recent developments in Cognitive and Behavioural Coaching have been at the centre of his practice dealing not only with emotional intelligence but also emphasising the importance of psychological flexibility and emotional agility as a means of survival and growth in a profoundly changing world.