In almost a decade of coaching, some of the most powerful and relevant sessions have been during this time of self-isolation. Whether working from home or as an essential service in the field, clients have come to their sessions either concerned, fearful, excited, optimistic or pessimistic, but in all cases they are curious. Usually, we meet with our clients face to face, but since the state of emergency we have used Zoom, Skype, or the telephone. The format has not diminished the intensity of engagement. Right now, our business is far more active than ever. It is in times of change that coaching becomes a “need”. In an ICF session my business partner Joanne and I recently attended, ten reasons for coaching were shared with participants. In this post, I will give you the full top ten*, and in the coming weeks we will break down each reason. 1. Many tools and techniques of professional coaching are scientifically proven to reduce stress. When we are stressed, it is much more difficult to have empathy, think creatively, control impulses, and make effective plans. When stress is reduced through coaching, people have more access to creativity, empathy, and resilience, all of which are critical right now. 2. Coaching helps people process what is going on. This is an unprecedented time—the very fact that we have little to compare it to makes it exceptionally difficult to process. When we don’t process during an experience, there is a high probability of either crashing when it is over, or sublimating our worry, fear and stress into health issues, low energy, and other negative impacts. 3. Coaching helps people find their resilience and capacity, even when we can’t change the external landscape. When people are what we might call, “returned to themselves” through coaching, they see more possibility and find more internal resilience. This restores some sense of control in what feels like an uncontrollable world. 4. The small amount invested in coaching during a crisis will pay off in terms of larger gains. The companies and individuals that will get through this time are those that maintain a fair amount of calm center, limit the toxic impact of stress, are flexible and agile, and truly “think outside the box.” 5. Giving managers and leaders coaching provides a noticeable ripple effect. Research shows that leaders have a potent impact on the “weather” of their organization. When they are calm, emotionally regulated, thoughtful, and patient, those around them feel more able to respond more thoughtfully as well. (Same is true for parents and children.) 6. The post pandemic world will most likely lead to permanent changes for individuals and organizations. We know coaching is one of the most effective ways to help people navigate change. Coaching helps us know and express our own needs, desires and boundaries as things change so we can be active “co-creators” in what is to come. 7. It is more critical than ever to retain and develop top talent. We’re going to need extraordinary thinking and performance to help any enterprise—whether it is a business, a school, or even a family—get through this. As things are pointing to different structures in how we do business, all enterprises are going to need to rely more on multiple layers of leadership. 8. Coaches help people get unstuck and move out of fixed patterns or mindsets. Surviving and thriving in this time requires an adaptable brain that can respond with flexibility and creativity, while still being thoughtful and applying logic. Coaching helps people identify limiting beliefs and move into more open and responsive mindsets. 9. People are thinking about purpose and meaning as a result of this crisis. Without support in terms of surfacing and focusing on questions of meaning, life purpose, and important values, all too often the things we learn in crisis are lost. Coaching can help us powerfully reflect on what we are learning about ourselves. 10. People will be using this opportunity to make major life and work changes and will need a coach to help navigate this change. Our old patterns and habits are well-wired into our brains. Making real change is disruptive to the system, and we need support to make major changes. Coaching is all about the reflection-action-reflection cycle of learning. A coach helps us identify what we want, try some things to put it into action, reflect on what we learned, and then continue this positive cycle as we move into new ways of being and therefore new results in our lives. * Ann Betz consults on the science of coaching for the ICF education department. She is the author of This Is Your Brain on Coaching, the science of the ICF competencies, and has been a professional coach since 2001. * William Arruda is an entrepreneur, motivational speaker and he’s the bestselling author of the definitive books on the topic: Career Distinction and Ditch. Dare. Do!
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