This list of 10+1 important considerations when Coaching Through Crisis is presented as a mindful guide you can put in practice today.
Reset your coaching agreement. Align to the new conditions.
In the coaching relationship we have an agreement. We have an agreement in terms of what we're going to talk about. We have a formal agreements for payment. There's also a subtle coaching agreement, which simply says "what are we working on together? What's the focus of our conversation? What are the outcomes? How are we going to measure our success? Now is a really good time to realign those those coaching agreements by having a conversation with each one of your clients to align to a new set of conditions and continue to align as conditions change.
Shift their fear to facts – Ask: What do you know for sure?
It's real easy to focus on the fear because it's available - the shift we need is to move from fear to facts. A powerful question to ask is "What do we know for sure?" We know we have this fear somebody might get ill. What are we know for sure is they are not sick today. We know for sure if they're taking precautions today. We know for sure is that they're isolating and they're following the instructions that's what we know for sure. A grounding in reality of what you know. What's the truth of today? What's the what's the truth in the moment.
For example, on a virtual walk with a client, who was at about 10,000 feet in terms of stress and frustration and overwhelm and work -- for the forty minutes all the focus on that one question. "What do we know for sure?" The client started out unsure but you keep circling back to that question. By the time we were done with our virtual walk, they felt they knew where I'm going. They had very good clarity. Fear facts replace fear very very substantially.
Fully listen for the context. Listen for what is missing.
One of the core skills of any coach any manager and hopefully any parent is the ability to listen. In coaching we call it listening for context. The adage that only 7% of what we say in words is what's communicated and the rest, the other 93%, is nonverbal and tone. It's really important to listen to the context of the conversations that are happening, particularly in this kind of crisis situation. You listen for what is missing. If they normally talk about their work, kids, or goals and aspirations and today they're not. That is a powerful observation that you can make and bring to their attention. Really fully listening to the context of what's happening of their mood.
Avoid being hooked by drama – look underneath the drama.
The best gift you can give somebody is to accept their drama for what it is and look around look beyond and underneath it. It's real easy as a coach or anyone supporting anyone else to get sucked into stories. A technique is to avoid the story and look at the bigger picture. What else is happening in addition to the story. You help the client look past and beyond their own drama. We know drama is fun. It pays the bills. We love getting into the messy. The client loves getting into the messy. They love to getting into their own story but then they get stuck in their story. Our job as coaches is to get them out of the story and into the next story.
Shift to shorter term goals.
There's a fear for the future. Oftentimes, in coaching, we we tend to work in longer-term goals. Where do you want to be when they grow up what's the job look like. Now it's time to bring it back to shorter term goals. As coaches, we have to proactively consciously decide to shift our clients from the longer-term expectation. There's too much mystery meat in the long-term. What do you need right now? What do you need by the end of the day? What do you need by next week? What's the right thing for you? what's the right in your family, right now? We have to work hard to get out of the pattern that we have set for ourselves of always working towards strategic goals. Now is the time to throttle back from long-term goals.
Build real milestones that can be celebrated.
One of our jobs as coaches is to give clients different perspectives. Give them ideas for for possible outcomes. We can't dictate ideas but we can help create the outcomes. Part of creating outcomes or goals is is setting some milestones. Come up with milestones that can be celebrated. During times of crisis times there are not many clients that want to celebrate. We still need to find those kinds of milestones. Those kinds of things that will give clients joy.
For example, a client is in an unfortunate situation with a lot of family stress. As a coach you could say, we'll celebrate when the problem goes away. But that's too far off. That's a long term goal. The milestone created with the client was to give them a job throughout the day. When the kids are frustrated, the spouse is upset., and everyone is upset; whenever someone in the family smiles, acknowledge and celebrate it. It's a milestone that can be worked on today.
This also works for leaders. Help your employees celebrate a milestone of success, rather than "It's difficult to get a hold of that company because everybody's away" or "I can't finish this project because nobody responds to me". Those are all things that make us unhappy, so why not celebrate when you get an email back from that person that's avoided you? Why not celebrate when the day is over and your to-do list is done. As coaches, we can find ways to set creative milestones.
Increase the connection frequency.
To increase the frequency of connection with clients, we have to be creative. You can offer virtual coffees to people or leave a voicemail that's a check-in. One of our facilitators decided to reach out to several of her class individuals to say, "How's it going? What's your life like? She received spontaneous very positive reactions coming from people. They are thankful for being acknowledged. Another example is a person who is normally in a fairly active busy trading environment. They are used to constant contact so this person is making contact with everyone on their client list every day. That's a tall commitment. Checking in with clients every one to two weeks should be an achievable goal.
Reduce the small talk about the crisis, keep focused on the immediate needs.
Small talk kills time. It's a conscious part coaching agreements to create rapport and coaching presence. Those are all skills we teach in our courses. Don't whittle them away and water them down into small talk because that's when the drama comes in. "How are you surviving through the crisis?" "What's your family doing?" It's interesting information. The only reason a coach asks a question is to get to the reason. The coachee of the client gets an awareness. That's really all that happens in the beginning. As coaches, you have to get past that and move to what's the most important to talk about today. This is the client's time. They are an important person. What do they want to tell you, to share with you today.
Start asking: “What does good need to look like?”
What does good need to look like? It might not be what we knew last week. There will be a new business as usual. We can spend all sorts of time guessing what it might be. We could spend all sorts of energy and fuel into how to set goals for when we return to 'normal'. The truth is we don't know when we're going to return. We don't know what our business use will be. Let's not get stuck in that rut. Instead, move your goals to an intention. What's your intention for the next few weeks?
Rest and meditate? What's your intention around your meditation? What do you want it to give you? Do you need to get away from the kids? Do you want to have a moment just to yourself? What's your real intention? Set that intention. What's your intention as a coach for your clients? Describe intention in the immediate terms as opposed to in the future.
Do your self-care, be the best in every moment.
When you stop developing yourself, your practice suffers. When you start developing yourself, practicing self-care, work towards more education, your practice comes back to life. You get more enthusiastic as you develop more techniques. The energy you're absorbing because you're learning is being welcomed. It's attractive to new and existing clients. Take care of yourself first so that you can actually be in your very best moment every moment that you're with your client, your family, your staff, or whatever the context within which you operate. You must be healthy mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally in order to really provide a service to any other human being. Check yourself first and then move to your client.
Value your service, ask for fair payment.
As empathetic and sympathetic as coaches are, please recognize the value that you can bring to the people you support. We are not saying go charge them five hundred dollars an hour just because you're a rock star. You have the opportunity with your skills to make a difference in people's lives. In order to continue to do that, there needs to be some level of payment for service. It accomplishes two things. As we discuss in coach training, it's a bit of a two-way obligation. If you give things for free that's the value. This means a client is probably not going to show up for meetings or sessions. If you place some sort of payment into it; then, you're more likely to have your work taken seriously. It's just the way humans work.
Whenever you shop and you see an item that normally costs $100 and someone is selling it for $25, you know that's not the value that you want. Payment can be physical dollars, a coffee set, it could be a gift certificate. Or thinking further out, it could be a testimonial for your website. However you decide to take payment, stop giving it away for free because you are much more valuable than that!
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