Naturally, the well-being and safety of your clients is first and foremost in your mind when you think about working during this ongoing pandemic crisis. So this is nothing new or transformative. In fact, it’s inspiring to consider the thousands of coaches around the world who have supported their clients – many of whom are CEOs and leaders equally as committed to supporting their employees.
But as the world continues to grapple with the effects of COVID-19, it’s clear we’re in it for the long haul.
So, executive and business coaches, what are you to do?
According to Harvard Business Review, two important ideas need to be considered by corporate leaders.
The first is to ensure that all needs are met – not just physical safety (masks, other personal protective equipment, encouraging teams to physically distance), but other needs too, like stability, authenticity, transparency and continued growth, even in the face of so much that remains uncertain.
The second is to consider leadership in three phases: the shelter-in-place phase, followed by the re-opening phase, and then the post-pandemic phase.
And before you think this article comes too late, think about Melbourne’s recent plight. The country was just starting to emerge from restrictions and lockdowns in May, but in July, Melbourne was ushered back to a stage three lockdown event. On August 2, Melbourne was handed down further restrictions, entering stage four lockdown for six weeks.
The combination of both concepts can help your clients lead more effectively; this dynamic and engaged adjustment will help them take care of their subordinates and staff.
So how can you coach your clients to help them put these ideas in place?
Shelter-in-place: what do your employees need?
Ask them how they’re ensuring physical safety. Ask them to consider how much security they’re providing: does the company have a relief fund in place? Are senior executives choosing to take pay cuts or eliminating bonuses to keep lower level employees from being laid off or furloughed? Does the company have a mental health program?
Re-opening: can you safely re-open?
Ask your clients how they can ensure a safe re-opening. Have they considered how many people can return to work? If they’re customer-facing, will they be open to the public? Can they keep their customers as safe as their employees?
Just as open communication is imperative between you and your client, so too is the communication between your client and their teams.
Remember that it’s not just about everything that could go wrong at this time. Always consider all the things that are going right.
After the pandemic: now what?
It’s a dream for all of us that this pandemic that has plagued the world come to an end. Guide your client to remember their sense of passion and purpose. Ask them to reassess their skills and mobilize their business into a new future. Walk with them through their plans and stay focused on growing despite a decline in sales or expansion – all things are temporary, after all, including setbacks.