With all of the change and disruption in today’s world, leaders are being asked to lead their teams through new situations never navigated in modern history. It can be overwhelming when everyone is looking to you for the answers. Leaders can take a cue from the coaching world on serving people and meeting them exactly where they are. Here are five things that can help you coach in a challenging time.
- Remember, the person you are coaching is resourceful and innovative. They don’t need to be fixed, but they may need a nudge to mentally reframe their current situation. I recently coached a colleague who was dealing with all the requisite WFH challenges. She had all the tools and resources she needed, but couldn’t see them through the haze of “newness.” She came up with a structure and a plan. Now she’s on track to be highly effective and is feeling much more in control.
- You don’t have to have all the answers. Yep, this is Coaching 101—and worth remembering. This week, a client came to her coaching session upset over, well, everything. She couldn’t get in to see her dad, who is in assisted living. Her 19-year-old son was insisting on going on spring break out of the country, her husband was now sharing her office, her grocery store was out of toilet paper, and her company was suffering the first round of layoffs in memory. Through coaching, she was able to reframe and reprioritize. She’s now focusing on the positive actions she can take and finding ways to let go of the things she can’t control. For a great book on reframing, check out Judd Hoekstra’s Crunch Time.
- You need to take care of yourself. Psychological resilience is the ability to mentally or emotionally cope with a crisis or to return to pre-crisis status quickly. Taking care of yourself may look like finding new ways to exercise, talking to a therapist, sticking to good habits, or just giving yourself a break to have a mini meltdown and then get over it. Make sure you are checking in with yourself and giving yourself the same loving care you give to your team members. One of my colleagues practices meditation. She says it keeps her calm, focused, and yes—resilient. Find the ways that work best for you, and keep at it.
- You have adapted, and can adapt, to change. Yes things will change. Yes there will be loss and there will be opportunity. “New normal” might look very different in four or six weeks and beyond. The truth is that ALL change, whether rapid or not, will eventually settle. We humans are pretty darned good at adapting. Trust yourself that you will be, too. My 91-year-old dad saw more change in his lifetime than I had ever realized. Before he passed on (a change in itself) he summarized for his kids some of the changes he lived through: The war to end all wars, the invention of television, common use of the telephone (and the mobile phone), desktop computers, hemlines, women in the workplace, hairstyles (although he stuck to his wonderful brush cut), the beginning of equal rights, the Berlin wall coming down, families with more than one car in the driveway, putting a man on the moon, the Great Depression and the world recovery that followed, fast food, the five-dollar cup of coffee, and a whole host of other things. He said the only thing that hadn’t changed was that old guys like him still wore suspenders. My dad didn’t like change, but he could sure adapt!
- It’s all going to be okay. Whether you call it faith, self-determinism, hope, or belief in humankind, the label doesn’t matter as much as what does: we are all going to be okay. Find this belief in yourself. Share it. Spread it. Contribute to it. Take a deep breath, then six more. Keep breathing. We ARE all in this together. And together we will move into a post-Covid-19 world.
About the Author
Patricia Overland is a Coaching Solutions Partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Coaching Services team. Since 2000, Blanchard’s 150 coaches have worked with over 14,500 individuals in more than 250 companies throughout the world. Learn more at Blanchard Coaching Services.