The Fund Executives Association (FEAL), in conjunction with T Rowe Price, has launched a resilience partnership with strategic leadership development firm, Rezilium, to enable super fund executives and their teams to access resilience coaching.

Joanna Davison, chief executive of FEAL, said the partnership was recognition that executives often struggle to cope with the conflicting imposts on their time.

FEAL has traditionally focused on professional development, but this latest partnership is more about personal development.

“For us resilience means better funds and that means improved dignity for members in retirement,” she said.

Murray Brewer, managing director of T Rowe Price, has been working with Kamal Sarma chief executive of Rezilium for the past eight years for executive and team coaching.

He credited Sarma with helping him improve his resilience and with ways to cope with the wide range of challenges managers faced that were often beyond their control.

“For me, Kamal has shown me how to be more genuine with the team, and to say ‘this is how I’m feeling, and that’s ok’, and then here are some ways to deal with it,” he said.

The FEAL partnership will see Sarma speak at FEAL events, including the HR executive forum in October, as well as workshops throughout the year.

The T Rowe Price-sponsored initiative will also see one fund receive a scholarship for team resilience coaching by Rezilium.

Speaking at last week’s FEAL annual conference, Sarma said that to sustain a high performance organisation, everyone needs to be an inspired leader, and that outstanding results occur when individuals are inspired by who they become in achieving their goals and not just by targets or outcomes.

“When you are in step as a team, ordinary individuals can achieve extraordinary things,” he said.

He also spoke on stress, describing it as the asbestos of this century.

“People are not designed to deal with stress, and so you need to increase your resilience.”

One of the more challenging aspects of Sarma methods is asking people to “unlearn things”.

“What might have worked in your relationship when it first started 20 years ago, doesn’t work now,” he said. “People have trouble disconnecting with the past. You have to be willing to try on new things. Your job is not to listen, but to have others feel like they’ve been heard.”

Sarma started his career in management consulting but has a long history in the financial services industry. He was previously head of strategy wealth management at St George Bank, and head of strategic projects at AMP Capital Investors.

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