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October 29, 2020

Emerge Strong from COVID: Why Coaching is Your Competitive Edge

Categories:  Leadership
"Business leaders with long-term leadership coaches say tough feedback has prepared them for the challenges of the pandemic.” ~Joann S. Lublin (Wall Street Journal article)

Let’s start with a full disclosure, Lori and I are certified executive coaches, and we offer executive coaching services nationwide, utilizing the services of a talented pool of executive coaches. I start here because as coaches we ascribe to a code of ethics that calls us to identify anything that may be considered a conflict of interest.

We are writing today about the need for leaders to have executive coaching, and for leaders to be trained in the necessary coaching skills to effectively work with their teams. We wanted to make sure you, the reader, know that we truly believe that coaching is helpful and needed especially in difficult time such as a pandemic and that we offer executive coaching as a service.

A pre COVID-19 study conducted by Bersin & Associates found that equipping managers with coaching skills can yield a 130% increase in business performance. Imagine a 130% increase in business performance during COVID.

COVID-10 creates additional stress for executives who were already stressed before the pandemic. What is different inside of the pandemic, besides the stressors that operating businesses bring, is that we have lost our commute times that offered time to decompress. Today the short walk from our (makeshift) home office does not provide that relief.

How can coaching help?

Many tools and techniques of professional coaching are scientifically proven to reduce stress. Working with a coach can help you develop new habits to reduce stress which you can then share with your team. (International Coach Federation)

A coach helps the coachee process what is going on. Everyone needs that right now. As coaches we do not necessarily know what is going on, we rely on the coachee to tell us. Then we ask questions to guide their processing and we LISTEN as they process what they just told us.

We do not question to learn more so we can solve or understand for ourselves or lead them to an answer/solution; we ask questions to give them something to consider and or help them navigate their thought processes. We allow them the space to “Be” (vs. “doing” first), and we treat them as naturally creative, resourceful and whole (whole human beings).

It is not about finding the right answer

What this means for you as the leader coaching one of your employees or team members is that you do not have to have any answers, in fact it works so much better when you don’t have or give any answers. You are there to listen, ask questions and allow them to “Be” in the process. They have the answer as you do for yourself.

Another place coaching presents as an excellent tool in daily work life, is Spot or “Just in time” Coaching. In this case, an employee may be stalled or not performing well in the moment or even needing extra support. A manager or leader can step in with a simple coaching approach that supports just-in-time development when it is needed most.

The approach can provide supportive feedback, assisting in the setting of a goal, help in building a short plan and then following up to provide support and track impact. Of course, the leader/manager as coach does this by asking questions and giving examples rather than telling and solving the problem for the person. For executives, it may be having an executive coach as sounding board for challenging situations, where the coach and the executive work on specific challenges as they occur.

A benefit that you should see arising from coaching are people finding their own resilience and capacity. As the coachee moves through the coaching process they are finding their strengths through the outside feedback and through their internal reflections, even when they cannot change the external landscape.

Good coaching engagements have the coachee move from reflection to insight into experimentation to experience and forward into reflection (Kolb Learning Cycle), repeatedly expanding their capacity and increasing their resilience.

Leaders are rethinking purpose and meaning as a result of this crisis, as are your employees. Bringing in a coach internal or external or giving your Leaders coaching skills and strategies will support the growth of your business. People will be using this opportunity to make major life and work changes, giving them the tools needed will improve your chances to keep them growing your business. A coach can help them navigate this change.

Organizations with strong coaching cultures have 25% more highly engaged employees.

(Hudson Institute of Coaching)

What you can do for your leadership team and employees:

Have you learned coaching skills? Do you use those skills at work? Have you supported your leaders with coaching or coach skills training? Have you supported your employees by getting your leaders coaching or coach skills training?

Can you think of a sports team or an athlete who made it to the Olympics without a coach? Even little leagues teams have coaches. If you are in business, you are in the big leagues on the world stage, your teams and team players deserve coaches and coaching skills.

Call or email us if you would like to learn more about our virtual and in-person coaching services for executives, groups, teams, emerging leaders, or spot/just-in-time coaching.


Lori and James

Supporting business leaders and HR/OD Leaders to transform cultures and transition through the pandemic and beyond.

Lori Heffelfinger, MSOD, PCC & James Jackman, MSOD

310-543-7632 office


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