What is the impact of leadership coaching on executive performance during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic?
Leaders, Managers, Directors, Vice Presidents, or C-level executives invest to hire an executive coach to boost their performance, clarify their vision, goals and ambitions, as well as develop their skills in different areas. Leadership coaching helps leaders to maximise their potential and become more resilient and competent in responding to change. It also helps to gain new perspectives, create changing mindsets (look at The New Mindset of Leadership) for approaching unpredictable situations, and build new and more productive habits.
Coaching provides an excellent opportunity for the executive to pause, overcome their limiting beliefs, and process their biases and old habits. It also creates strategies and approaches to lead in the manner required for organizational success. Coaching helps them consider what to bring into the new world and lay the groundwork to get their organisation in a better position for the future.
During the pandemic most of the leaders were overloaded as they processed large amounts of information and emotions. Many were asked to respond quickly and develop a different perspective on how to view and respond to challenging situationsin areas such as digital adoption, change management and developing remote teams.Most of the leaders confirmed that clear and effective messaging of key objectives was a critical part of managing the crisis during the pandemic. For some leaders, it was more efficient to seek out help from external coaches to address these challenges. There were a number of skills gaps that have been identified and exposed by the corona virus pandemic, which leaders with the help of an executive coach were able to work on and be better equipped to utilize new behaviours.
So what were the most challenging skills and abilities the leaders wanted to develop through the coaching sessions during thecoronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic?
- Navigating uncertainty
Understanding how to have an empathetic discussionabout fear and concerns with staff in an open and supportive manner was the most valuable skill the leaders wanted to develop during the coaching sessions.It is because the uncertainly about their own health, the safety of families, and the security of the jobs has contributed to enormous stress for every employee. That’s why leaders confirmed that it was of great benefit to learn how to become a more effective while mindfully navigating team relationships during the stressful period of the pandemic.
- Demonstrating agility
What leaders need during a crisis is not a predefined response plan, but behaviours and mindset that will help them to look ahead and adapt. Fostering open channels of communication and developing the ability to adapt to the changing market and employee needs create a challenge in order to succeed in a post COVID-19 world.
- Employing clarity and compassion
Distance and less face-to-face interaction mean the need for better and stronger communication between the leader, the team and the clients. More employees are spending time alone, which can have a negative impact on performance and morale. That’s why leaders and managers must be provided with the right coaching so they can support remote team members in the areas that will help create engagement and motivation: personal development, understanding expectations and aligning their goals with those of the organisation. Rebuilding the company team, bringing people together and creating a new way of working can help the leaders achieve better results.
- Managing time during stress
Additional stress from a loss of routine, uncertainly in future work conditions or a complete shift in priorities can create a lot of time management chaos. Learning how to adapt a good daily routine can bring the right mindset to work. Creating space, a productive work environment and a clear line between work life and home life is another skill to master. Many leaders can confirm that having the ability to be calm allows them for clear thinking and less stress.
- Finding inner clarity
Business Coaching can help leaders peer through the fog of uncertainty and review what’s likely to have changed temporarily, permanently and fundamentally. By improving focus the leaders can manage the chaos better and make better strategic decisions to move forward.
It is a process to learn how to develop a different perspective on how to view and respond to challenging situations and the people involved in them. Especially to pay attention to the actions and emotions of the team and adjust an appropriate leadership style to their needs in order to gain competitive advantage in the future.
The pandemic has left many leaders redefining their work lives. With a rearranged schedule and endless disruptions, keeping on top of even the most basic tasks was hard. For many leaders, the last few months created a chance to learn and develop new skills. Those who asked for help from external coaches could overcome some of the problems faster.
An experienced executive coach can help leaders reshape the focus on what matters most, creating various scenarios and preparing them for what comes next with better outcomes, or even becoming more resilient, and competent in responding to change.