Even in the best of times, it is useful to have an executive coach for guidance, encouragement, and focus. In difficult times, though, the importance of coaching can be critical. Tasks, which at any other time would be so simple and second nature, may now require complete reimagining. Strategic plans need to be rethought. Entire offices shifted to home workplaces and back again with entirely new and necessary safety regulations.
I have mentioned before that employees look to their leaders for guidance in times of crisis. One must lead with grace and calm, even in the face of uncertainty. This is one of the greatest services an executive coach can provide – a support system for a leader who is experiencing stress and anxiety surrounding a crisis, but expected to navigate to the other side successfully. An executive coach can be a truly invaluable asset to guide leaders through turbulent times.
An executive coach will help focus on what is most essential for an organization’s survival and eventual return to healthy, robust operations. It can be hard to face, but there is so much that is simply out of any one person’s control. Accepting that and having a coach to help determine priorities will help shed the extra weight of what is not possible to control. A coach knows the questions to ask that will result in a clearer vision of what, realistically and practically, can be done to make progress toward the mission of an organization.
The next step is to work together on how to stay focused and execute on the plan created to get through the crisis.
After the plan has been decided, it has to be communicated with the stakeholders. To do that, the leader must communicate clearly with confidence and transparency. It is reassuring for leaders to have a coach work through strategy and talking points as well as how to continue effective communication throughout the crisis.
A coach can help parse through the difficult emotions that something as stressful as a pandemic or a recession brings up for all of us. A leader is human just like anyone else on their team – and absolutely needs support and guidance. It is tempting to want to play it tough and refuse to acknowledge the impact of a crisis -- that going it alone will work out. But when the future is so unknown, it is a critical time to reach out for guidance and support. Care must be taken to ensure that we can all keep moving forward with a plan and communication strategy.
Executive coaches are an unbiased, encouraging sounding board to talk through what comes next. If you are struggling to navigate a crisis, please consider reaching out so that we can discuss the support you need to get you through to the other side.