Executive and leadership coaches might not be on the front lines of this crisis like healthcare workers, manufacturers of critical supplies, and the people working to get us food and other necessities. However, based on discussions with coaching colleagues and members of the Center for Executive Coaching, it’s apparent that coaches are bringing value by serving as leaders supporting leaders.
Following are the top 9 types of coaching challenges that coaching colleagues and I are working on right now:
- “I’m overwhelmed.” While some leaders are so overwhelmed that they won’t make time for coaching, many appreciate having an objective outsider to discuss their stress, feelings, and challenges. You can help leaders identify what’s in their control, cope with what isn’t, and make more considered choices. See our previous article about coaching leaders who are overwhelmed in a crisis for more about this.
- “I’m ready to take action and want a sounding board and source of support.” Some leaders have accepted the current situation, made decisions about how to move forward, and now want a sounding board and source of support to work through issues that come up along the way.
- “My team is afraid and I need to lead them through it.” Leaders not only have to handle their own fears and stress during this time, they also have to reassure their teams and employees. Some leaders have to make difficult choices about furloughs and layoffs. Others have to find ways to keep employees safe. Meanwhile, employees are scared about their futures. You can coach these leaders to plan out their communications, rehearse/role play high-stakes conversations, be open and honest when communicating, choose the best style for each situation and person, and optimize their impact.
- “I have a lot of time on my hands and want to make the best use of it.” More than a few coaches are working with leaders and professionals that have been furloughed, had their hours reduced, or that find they have more time now that they are working from home. They want to identify ways to make the best use of that time while they have it.
- “We have to plan for different scenarios.” As someone who loves strategy, I especially enjoy coaching clients that want to work through different scenarios and prepare their organizations for them. What if we see the light at the end of the tunnel in a few months? What if it lasts 18 months, two years, or more? What if reality is somewhere in between? Leaders need to think through these scenarios carefully, with a coach like you or me who has no agenda other than for the leader’s success.
- “We have to strengthen our work as a team while working remotely.” Team coaching continues to be in demand. It’s not that difficult for you to coach teams with the straightforward methods you learn from the Center for Executive Coaching. These methods apply equally well in an in-person and remote setting. To give one tip: Teams don’t want to sit around analyzing themselves as if they were doing family therapy. They also don’t want to spend too much time on Kumbaya-style team building exercises. With our methodology, you help teams work through critical challenges and improve results, while learning to improve communication and team effectiveness is baked in.
- “It is a great time to rethink my career.” Whether by choice or not, many leaders and managers are rethinking their careers. A crisis grounds us in what matters most. You can coach leaders, managers, and professionals to weigh their options, make choices, and take action to maximize their upside.
- “I can cope, but I’m worried about my kids/spouse/parents…” It’s common for executive and leadership coaching to blend with the personal realms. After all, we are coaching the whole person, and work and life intersect. More than a few of my clients are worried about children graduating from college and having job offers rescinded, spouses that are not coping well, and elderly parents that are at risk. They don’t have anyone else to talk with about these issues so that they feel heard, can share their concerns openly, and come up with insights to move forward. You can be an enormous help with professionals facing these issues.
- And finally, the usual topics…. Some clients haven’t skipped a beat. For instance, a physician (not involved in Covid-19 patient care) continues coaching to stop being a condescending bully. An up-and-coming manager continues to work on developing relationships with leadership and showing executive presence. These issues don’t go away, either!
In my opinion, this is a golden age for executive and leadership coaches. If you want to get set up to help leaders today, as the crisis unfolds, and in the aftermath, there is no better time to jump in, learn best practices, and get certified.
Our distance learning program is a great place to start. We’ve been offering it remotely long before remote learning was the thing to do, and so you get instant access to an extensive library of practical and results-focused tools, methods, processes, templates, and hours of recordings. That’s before our weekly live, highly interactive webinars with an amazing group of successful professionals, and ongoing one-on-one support as needed.
As always, contact me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org or 941-539-9623 if you have questions before you join us.