The irony is not lost on me that as I sit down to pen this post, we are in quasi lockdown again in the UK.
The latest government guidelines are suggesting that we enable our employees to work from home if they can for the foreseeable future.
Let’s be honest; the whole COVID situation is a mess, a mess that neither you nor your team wants to face in the workplace. The challenge for many employers is how can they support their team to maintain their mental health whilst also delivering in their current role.
Not the easiest of tasks for those of you whose teams are working remotely out of necessity, and not choice!
Though there are many avenues to help with our mental wellbeing, like this blog from Mentalheath.org and one from our MD on the documented benefits of Nature Therapy, there are additional untold benefits when you create a coaching culture in our remote-first organisation.
The Many Benefits of Coaching
Look at any research data on growth industries during challenging times, and you will discover that both coaching and consulting are off the scale.
Not surprising when you consider the many benefits that particularly coaching delivers. In the classic coaching book, Coaching for Performance, the late John Whitmore described numerous benefits of coaching.
Coaching is all about helping another person reach higher levels of effectiveness by creating a dialogue that leads to awareness and action.
For example, when an employee has the skills and ability to complete the task at hand, but for some reason is struggling with the confidence, focus, motivation, drive, or bandwidth to be at their best, coaching can help.
Here we have mentioned the areas most impacted by the current COVID pandemic, which is a warning that coaching needs to be on your agenda, especially at present, when your employees could be struggling.
Though the daily commute may have disappeared, many other challenges will have risen their head, especially overworking or even burnout.
Employee burnout – the physical or mental collapse caused by stress from your job is usually associated with employees in stressful roles.
However, since the enforced ‘lockdown’, employee burnout has been on the rise. Employees who had previously been managing in their roles comfortably and competently have struggled, due to the COVID-19 situation.
A recent report in TechRepublic found that 73% of professionals reported being ‘burned out’ in April 2020, a significant rise from the start of the year, with tech employees reporting the highest level of burnout of those polled.
Has this increase in burnout come from an increased workload, a difficulty in separating work and home life, or a general lack of support and coaching from their manager?
Maybe a combination of everything.
Considering this, how can you create a coaching culture in your organisation?
Creating a Coaching Culture
A coaching culture means supporting your employees so that they learn new skills, or in a post–pandemic scenario, maintain what they have. This enables them to increase their contribution to their role. As a result, everyone then becomes an even more significant asset to the company.
An organisational culture that emphasises coaching, giving regular feedback, training and opportunities for growth creates an even more engaged and motivated workforce.
So, where do you start when it comes to building your culture?
Firstly, have a strategy and a plan:
- Why coaching now?
- How will we coach our remote employees?
- What is our current capability; do we need to upskill or develop our team?
Remember that everyone needs coaching, not just your team members. If an organisation is to build a coaching culture through leaders, it’s logical that leaders also have a coach; they are coping with the challenges of working from home too.
If you choose not to take this approach, the risk is that leaders are sending the message, “you need help, but I am ok”. Instead, you want to be saying “I’ve gained real benefits from this, and now I want each member of my team to experience it too”.
Remember The Power of Coaching Questions
One of the skills we develop in our participants on the various leadership and management learning journeys that we deliver here at Excel is to both learn and utilise the power of questions.
Powerful questioning is especially relevant in the remote landscape in which we now operate. Asking the right coaching questions means the difference between interrogation and moving forward for the coachee.
Good coaching questions gives the individual you are coaching the space to step back and understand what is going on for them; perspective is a wonderful thing.
The right questions can uncover hidden information that we cannot always see for ourselves, especially if we are struggling in a remote world and do not want anyone to know.
Managers and leaders have a challenge when it comes to asking questions. Your direct reports will often be asking themselves whether they want you to see their vulnerabilities, weaknesses (real or perceived), and hear their personal opinions about professional colleagues and situations—this takes real trust.
But trust is also what can make managers the most invaluable coaches. Once you build that relationship over time, you have a much deeper ability to ask just the right question and unlock something in your coachee.
Ready to get going with your coaching culture? Get in contact if you would like some help.
For more information on post-Covid leadership topics, head to our blog. Additionally, click here to view our range of free leadership resources to help you become a better leader, starting today.
P.S. If you would like to attend one of our complimentary taster workshops on working with remote teams, call us on +44(0) 1628488 854.
About Excel Communications
LEARN, GROW, SUCCEED
Excel Communications is a learning and development consultancy based near London in the U.K. For more than 30 years, we have been collaborating with clients across the globe.
Partnering with Excel empowers you to evolve your people and business by fuelling a love for learning.
We work with you to create unforgettable, customised learning experiences to achieve your vision of success and growth, with tangible results. View our case studies here.
We have a team of expert trainers delivering programmes across five continents in multiple languages. Call us now on +44 (0) 1628 488 854.