It seems like workers everywhere are worried about their future, being asked to do more with less, and generally stressed out. How can HR and managers respond? How should you coach your staff or clients?
6 reminders for coaches
- Tell the truth and share whatever you can.
Treat worry with honesty and transparency. Employees want the business or organization to succeed. Show your respect for them by being honest. If you don’t have an answer about the future, promise to reply by a certain date. Reply even if you still don’t have any concrete answers. Provide industry or local economic information to help provide a larger context for your discussions.
- Acknowledge concerns and insecurity.
Address rumors directly. Give your employees a little time to express their specific worries. Address the worries you can.
- Coach with a focus on the future.
There will be a future even if the employee’s future won’t be with your organization. Learning new skills, building upon strengths, setting goals and learning optimism will always be important and increase one’s confidence.
- Identify what is positive now.
Even if you’re coaching someone needing to improve his or her performance, focus on a positive future, even while presenting a challenge. Helping your employees or clients identify what is under their control moves them to a more positive space. Even though things might be stressful right now, stress can be lowered thought exercise of meditation or efforts in anyone’s control.
- Help them discover their talents and resources.
You can offer time management, delegation, creative thinking, organization navigation classes or support, but that’s not coaching. Remember that you’re helping those you coach to learn more than you’re instructing them directly. You’re helping them explore options. You’re listening, giving feedback, providing structure, and letting the coachee arrive at their own solutions.
- Revisit the initial goals of your coaching relationship.
Coaching isn’t showing someone the ropes. It’s a relationship based upon a purpose and structure. It’s a commitment. You’re working on real issues and towards a goal. Remind your employees or clients of their goals. Review how well they are doing. Consider coaches in sports and find a way to measure success you can both agree upon.
What if you’re coaching someone you suspect won’t be around in six months either because of a decision made by the employer or the employee? Investment in a person is never a waste. Employees leave and sometimes they return. Or they refer a great new hire. Or you’ll need a reference.
What have you learned while coaching during a down economy?