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Leadership Coaching for the COVID Era

By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing
The-evolved-role-of-leadership-amidst-COVID-19

In an upside-down world characterized by seclusion, social distancing, and sanitizers, organizations are battling many challenges. 

Whether it is accepting that the new normal is now just normal or coming up with creative strategies to foster growth and keep employees motivated is topping the priority list of most organizations. As fear and uncertainty become a pervasive feeling, organizations need to recalibrate their leadership coaching strategies to help their leaders navigate these tumultuous times and help their teams do the same. 

Read: Want to Create A Pipeline of Leaders? Train Managers to Become Better Coaches

Organizations might have become more virtual than ever before, but they need real and authentic leadership, and for that, here are a few things to consider:

Remote work is here to stay

Enabling remote work and virtual teams during the initial days of the pandemic might have seemed like a one-time incident. The mass experiment of working from home has resulted in niche demands for leaders to provide the right guidance and motivation for their teams. There has been a profound impact on the nature of work. We now stand at a turning-point of people management.

The move to this remote and virtual work model quite naturally demands a change in the modus-operandi. It needs a step-change change in behaviors and mindsets of leaders so that they can lead their people, and consequently the organization, to success.

Read: Keeping Your (Newly Remote) Team Engaged with Coaching

This can only be achieved by coaching leaders to become more authentic, intelligent, observant, caring, trusting, accountable, and empathetic in their leadership styles. 

In other words, leadership coaching and leading has to finally get hyper-focused on things that really matter.

Designing new ecosystems for communication and collaboration

Leadership styles need a makeover, especially as virtual collaborations have almost replaced face-to-face work environments. Leadership coaching in the post-COVID era has to become more focused on building communication and collaboration capabilities.

As leadership becomes more virtual than ever before, organizations have to coach their leaders to communicate values, strategic intent, meaning, and vision of projects with their team members. It becomes essential to build identity using storytelling, display emotional responses the right way to motivate and convey commitment and passion, and develop a sense of unity.

Read: A Manager’s Guide to Coaching Their Teams

Since chance meetings in hallways are now replaced with digital media, communication has to happen with greater intent and more discipline, even when there is no urgent problem to solve. Leadership coaching has to now focus on helping leaders understand and internalize that even if there are no problems to solve, it doesn’t mean that there is nothing to discuss.

The spotlight is on emotional intelligence

In the post-COVID world, leadership coaching needs to focus on developing leaders who can foster trust and respect by demonstrating reliability, integrity, and confidentiality. Along with this, they have to work towards developing their emotional intelligence to create strong, motivated, and committed teams.

Read: The 3 Most In-Demand Power Skills for Managers Today

In an atmosphere characterized by fear and uncertainty, leaders have to be the positive agents of change and know the right strategies to keep the workforce motivated and engaged. 

Leaders have to develop their intuitiveness and communicate more clearly, honestly, truthfully, and empathetically. This is even more important for leading those who are first-timers in the world of virtual work. By developing emotional intelligence, leaders can help alleviate feelings of isolation and help employees navigate their work and their career paths with enthusiasm.

Thus, leadership coaching has to focus on building leaders who are more self-aware, can self-manage, and have a high degree of empathy to navigate and guide relationships at work with greater clarity. Doing this will help organizations foster leaders who can inspire others, manage conflicts, and encourage teamwork and other important competencies and move people in the direction they desire.

The art of letting go

In this new era of work, leadership coaching has to focus on helping leaders develop their skill of letting go. By no means does this mean looking the other way and absolving oneself of responsibilities. It means relinquishing control and micromanaging to gain greater and more positive influence.

The focus then moves towards building authentic leadership that inspires teams to become more accountable towards their work and take greater ownership of their actions. This can only happen when leaders show greater trust in their people, enable the growth mindset, and learn to personalize and individualize interactions. By doing this, leaders allow a sense of autonomy to prevail, which, in turn, builds accountability in teams.  

Things that matter

The remote work and virtualization experience will need a paradigm shift in leadership styles. Therefore, it will need new leadership skills and models. As this new work environment evolves, leaders have to be coached to play crucial mobilizing and facilitating roles and will be judged more on their capacities to mobilize their environments to expedite new competencies.

Elements like increasing their digital literacy to navigate the digital workplace, improving their agility to drive project momentum, accelerating strategic and creative thinking capabilities, or becoming more intentional and authentic in engaging with employees will have defining effects on organizational outcomes. Additionally, leadership coaching in the post-COVD world has to lean heavily towards building the emotional intelligence of the leaders to help them build team resilience and drive organizational evolution.

While the pandemic has introduced a difficult time, it also presents an opportunity. It is time to build authentic leadership models that drive a sense of belonging and shared values across the organizational value chain. 

Our AI-powered coaching platform helps organizations move along this journey and helps them develop their leaders to shine in this new and confusing world of work. 

Connect with us to assess how you can create a robust leadership pipeline that is ready to take this new world head-on.

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