Collins, 30, was left out of the original squad after he refused a call-up from the stand-by list last month. But he showed courage last Monday to call Coleman and sort out a meeting to thrash out the problem during a heated discussion.
Coleman said: "He could have easily left it. A lot of people would have looked at it and thought, 'Macedonia at home, 14 pull-outs, then Belgium away'. He could have had an excuse but he came down.
"We had a good conversation. I promise you it wasn't a laugh, a joke or a pat on the back. We both had it out and were honest. It's how you get things sorted."
The result saw Collins win his 42nd cap and Coleman saluted the central defender for guiding a patched-up back four of Neil Taylor, Chris Gunter and teenage debutant Declan John towards a valuable clean sheet.
He added: "James was absolutely brilliant. I thought we needed him to produce that type of performance.
"We needed that experienced voice to almost hold the hands of the younger ones. Not just Declan but the whole of the back four. He has a young trio around him and his organisation was superb.
"I could sense it before the game that he would stand strong and he was an absolute rock for us."
For breaking stories and all the great banter like us on Facebook: facebook.com/tribalfootball