Resilience leader, Jacqui Frost, shares her story

I believe that our resilience is rooted in many things, our mind mindset, the ability to “reframe” the rubbish that life serves us up sometimes, an acceptance of what we cannot control and a determination to control the things we can, our life experiences and how we choose to response to that.  I also know that resilience is about recognising in your self when you need help and asking for it.

Throughout most of my adult life I have been a leader in varying guises: a teacher, a head of year, a deputy, a consultant, an OFSTED inspector, a headteacher and a mum!

As a school leader I often felt like a rogue wave at sea — frequently out of my depth and rolling around in a vast ocean. In 1997, when personal tragedy hit my three-year-old son and I, overwhelming feelings of devastation struck. However, I vowed to lead him and I out of the trauma and for neither of us to be defined by the awful experience.

It was not easy, and at times I wanted to give up. Professionals tried to “fix me” on numerous occasions, but somewhere deep inside, I had a drive; a desire and necessity to overcome the dreadful event and for us to thrive. To live.

When I entered a low point on the wave and my resilience was depleted, I found I couldn’t find the clarity I sorely required. I couldn’t think clearly or would simply feel overpowered and unsure of what to do or say. I never reflected on how I had reached that point (I hadn’t the time!), or indeed, what I had learnt about myself and others during those moments. I never viewed mistakes and failures as learning opportunities, just something to ignore and move on from, as quickly as possible.

I would explain to myself that I was not particularly good at ‘that sort of thing’. I had no tangible strategies to work from, or knowledge of how to effectively examine a problem. I certainly never saw those periods as an opportunity for personal growth.

Over time I attended a myriad of leadership training courses, looking for answers. Colleagues often told me I was a good leader, but I didn’t really understand what they meant. I was just doing and saying what felt right for me; sometimes to the detriment of my health and sanity.

Yet, I learnt to ride the peaked waves of stress, crisis and chaos well. I was good in an emergency: handling the death of staff, of a child, a child losing a finger in a doorway, discovering a 6-foot python (called Bernard) in the playground and even OFSTED.

After years of enabling aspiring leaders in my role as a headteacher, in January 2017 I made the fantastic decision to step away from headship and start a leadership coaching business — Jacqui Frost, The Leaders’ Coach. As time has progressed, I have discovered my passion lies in guiding, supporting and challenging leaders from all walks of life and from a variety of organisations; strengthening resilience in a conscious and proactive way. I am now part of an exciting and forward thinking partnership,  Leadership43.  I love working as a part of a team and this had been missing from my working life for the past five years, so I did something about it!

My previous working experience in a variety of senior-level positions, combined with my inspirational and motivational coaching-style, ensures all clients are held in safe hands throughout their coaching journey.

For further information visit: www.jacquifrost.co.uk

My Resilience Story- how did I get to this place?

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