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Building Resilience Through the 7 Pillars of Resilience: A Guide to Using

Building Resilience Through the 7 Pillars of Resilience: A Guide to Using "Building Resilience" Cards in Coaching

Key Points


  • The 7 Pillars of Resilience: a structured approach to bouncing back from adversity
  • Improve client engagement with the "Building Resilience" card set
  • Boost Resilience Coaching with supplementary card sets

What is Resilience?


Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversities and the power to grow and adapt to a stressful or difficult situation. It requires a skill set that allows a person to face and grow from a challenge. It is important to know that resilience is not a fixed trait; it is not constant. A person builds resilience as they encounter different kinds of stressors. (Hurley, 2022)

The American Psychological Association further states that resilience is “the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences.” To be resilient, one should use available resources and skills, as challenges require mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility.

The 7 Pillars of Resilience

German psychotherapist Micheline Rampe developed the “7 Pillars of Resilience” in 2010. The framework emphasizes the importance of cultivating optimism, accepting the reality of situations, focusing on actionable solutions, taking charge of one's life, stepping out of the victim mentality, establishing a strong support system, and crafting adaptable strategies for future challenges.

  1. Acceptance: Acknowledging that life can be difficult and unexpected and letting go of things you cannot control.
  2. Taking Responsibility: Getting out of your comfort zone and moving from a “victim” perspective towards an accountable perspective.
  3. Self-reflection: Knowing yourself more; your limits, capabilities, and needs. 
  4. Solution focus: Finding opportunities and formulating solutions.
  5. Optimism: Looking at the bright side of the situation.
  6. Support network: Connecting with other people (e.g. friends, colleagues, family).
  7. Future planning: Envisioning yourself in the future.

These pillars shall serve as your guide in facing a challenge and in tackling ways to address it. Use each of these for identifying resources and planning the next steps.

How to Use the "Building Resilience" Card Set in Coaching

Icebreakers and storytelling (groups)

The card set "Building Resilience" can be used as an icebreaker for a group discussion or conversation. It can also serve as a tool for storytelling.

  1. Begin by spreading the cards, allowing clients to view the images. Ask your client prompt questions like: How do you feel about your current situation? How was the week for you? 
  2. Let them pick a card that resonates with them most. Guide them by asking follow-up questions: What made you pick that card? How does it connect with your situation?
  3. Ask your client to flip the card and read the question/prompt written. Let your client read it to you and give them time to think about the question. Let them share their interpretation of the question, which can lead to them sharing their struggles. Together, explore ways to take a step forward.

Identifying and utilizing resources (1-on-1 coaching)

The card set can be used for guiding a client by focusing on one pillar of resilience, depending on their needs.

  1.  Start by segregating the cards according to each Pillar. This methodical approach allows you to zoom in on areas that might be particularly relevant for a client.
  2. Analyze your client's needs and choose a pillar that is important at this point.
  3. Spread the cards from the pillar categories you prioritized with the images upfront, and inform the client that a question accompanies each image.
  4. Guide the client to choose one image from that specific pillar by asking, e.g. which resonates with you most?  
  5. Turn the card around, and ask them the question at the back.  
  6. Follow up with the prompt for a more straightforward interpretation and deeper reflection.

Amplify Engagement with Supplementary Card Sets

A wide range of factors contribute to how an individual rises from a challenge. Each person has a unique coping strategy and therefore employs different responses to adversities. Knowing your strengths and values will help you formulate solutions in line with your capabilities and principles.


Strengths Coaching Cards "Stronger You": Get to know your clients strengths more with the "Stronger You" card set. Know your clients’ capabilities and use these as a guide to formulate ways to overcome a difficult situation. Help them gain more confidence using this card set.


Values Coaching Cards "What Really Matters!": Discover what is important to your clients, or what they value with the "What Really Matters!" card set. Use these to create value-oriented goals and actions.

Resilience is not a stagnant trait but evolves through experiences. It is the skill to navigate and overcome challenging situations. Micheline Rampe's "7 Pillars of Resilience" provides a strategic framework to equip individuals to tackle adversities effectively, highlighting optimism, acceptance, responsibility, and more.

The "Building Resilience" card set breathes life into this framework, serving as both introspective tools and gateways to understanding clients' perspectives. Whether used for initiating conversations or narrowing down on specific resilience resources, these cards act as catalysts, spurring individuals to introspect, communicate, and ultimately chart their path forward. As one navigates the maze of life, resilience remains the compass, guiding one to survive and thrive.



Ackerman, C. (2017). How to Measure Resilience With These 8 Scales. Retrieved from


American Psychological Association. (2020). Resilience. Retrieved from

Hurley, K. (2022). What Is Resilience? Your Guide to Facing Life’s Challenges, Adversities, and Crises. Retrieved from