Should companies invest in coaching post Covid-19?

The coronavirus pandemic is causing immense pain and suffering. But it will force us to reconsider who we are and what we value, and, in the long run, it could help us rediscover the better version of ourselves.

Politico

Historically, when faced with the uncertainty of economic slowdown and recession, organisations have had to scale down costs, putting initiatives such as coaching and learning and development into the area of ‘non-essential’ spend.  ‘Executive coaching’ in its traditional sense used to be expensive and reserved only for the most senior employers.  However, not only has the world of coaching now become accessible and affordable to many, we also believe that the current situation has propelled the need for coaching to be central to organisations’ survival – in particular to boost core leadership skills and personal effectiveness.

This week is International Coaching Week, a global annual celebration of the power and impact of coaching.  We’ve been busy attending the thought-provoking daily webinars put on by the International Coaching Federation and this blog has been inspired by the thinking generated by the creative and talented global pool of coaches.

Inspired in particular by one of the webinars this week, presented by Fraser Murray of GP Strategies, we at P&P Coaching started thinking about how coaching can support leaders to make tough decisions and hold difficult conversations, which will be essential over the coming months.

To kick-start your thinking, it will be helpful to consider this question:

To what extent would you say your managers are exemplary in the following people and leadership categories?

  • Leading remote teams
  • Dealing with personal and team isolation, as well as social disconnect and social anxiety
  • Leading through ambiguity
  • Dealing with trauma and mental health
  • Creating a new reality
  • Delivering tough feedback and messages whilst maintaining motivation
  • Decision-making under immense time pressure

Most of us would agree that many of these will be new challenges, especially for the less-experienced managers, or those who are technically very good but lack natural people skills.

Put simply, coaching will help support your managers during this crucial point in their leadership journeys.  Having a safe, confidential space where your leaders can express themselves without fear of judgement or failure will help them look inwardly first to work through their personal concerns.  They will then feel more prepared to return to their teams and support them through rapid change and uncertainty.

Coaching sessions may support leaders to talk through how they communicate with each member of their team, as they recognise how everyone’s reactions to the current situation are so different.  Another coaching session may help a manager re-establish the vision for their department; some sessions may focus on challenging thinking – whereby a manager can’t get past a current problem or challenge.  Most coaching sessions inspire clarity and action.

Fraser Murray summarised this recognition of the importance of organisations investing in their employees’ people skills through coaching:

‘leaders have finally discovered the truth about soft skills:  ie they’re b****y hard but essential!’

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