I’ve been an executive coach for years and am still learning something new daily. The pandemic brought us some extraordinary opportunities that may never have come along had this situation not occurred.
Here are some of my key takeaways now that we’re 18 months into this situation.
We’re not going back to normal.
Many people are waiting for things to go back to normal. They’ll be waiting a long time, as there is no path to the past.
For example, I’ve had several coaching clients tell me they’re waiting until they can see their boss in person before asking for a raise or a promised promotion. I encourage them to move forward now and ask for what they deserve, regardless of where their office is currently located.
Other clients are waiting until their staff is back in the office to have a difficult conversation they’ve been putting off. Trust me, as I wrote in my forthcoming book, Can We Talk? The Seven Principles for Managing Difficult Conversations at Work, no good can come from waiting. Schedule the conversation now.
You don’t have to physically see people to be an effective coach.
In the past, I never really challenged the idea that for a coach to be effective, they must meet their clients in person.
Over the past 18 months, it’s been impossible to meet people at their office. Like many of you, I had to pivot. I quickly learned how to build relationships on Zoom and became very proficient at providing my clients with concise advice. I’m able to help my clients in ways I’ve never imagined.
We no longer remain in “the room” for an hour, just because I have driven all this way for our meeting. We end the session when we’re done, which frees up my clients to work on other tasks and end their day on time.
Leaders are facing unprecedented challenges, which are not disappearing anytime soon.
Before the pandemic hit, many leaders were on autopilot. They thought they had this whole management thing figured out.
Then the pandemic hit. These leaders quickly realized that maybe they didn’t know everything about management.
The leaders I work with continue to face unprecedented challenges and have told me how grateful they are to have a sounding board to help them navigate these uncharted waters. One client recently told me that he could feel his stress levels drop and his outlook rise, after one session.
I understand, as I was once in his shoes. I was an executive who was fortunate to have a coach who I could rely on. I felt a sense of relief and optimism knowing that help was only a phone call away.
Many leaders have experienced tremendous growth and have become much more empathetic to the trials and tribulations their team members face. I’ve watched these leaders blossom, and I’m proud of whom they’ve become. This level of growth may not have happened if life went on as planned.
It’s okay to coach people for less than six months.
I’m not sure how six months became the standard for a coaching engagement—it’s simply an arbitrary number. I’ve entered into coaching agreements with clients that range from six weeks to six months and anywhere in between. The most important consideration is what the client is trying to achieve due to our work together. Their goal(s) will determine the length of the coaching engagement–not some arbitrary number.
If you’ve ever thought about hiring a coach and didn’t think you could devote the time needed to move your goals forward, now might be the time to reconsider. At a minimum, it’s worth a conversation with a prospective coach to see what’s truly possible.
Got a question about coaching? Feel free to schedule a call with me.