By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing

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.

By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing

Remote working is no longer the ‘new’ normal. It is just normal now. 

Hallway conversations, informal lunches, and break sessions, pop-in status reports are on hold for an indefinite time. COVID-19 has ushered us firmly into the age of remote working, where even the most traditional organizations had to adopt this trend.  

With the rules of engagement witnessing an overhaul, HR teams, and organization leaders are grappling with the challenge of keeping these newly remote teams engaged – especially since the individuals making up these teams have their own culture and personality. 

There has been a dramatic shift in the manner in which organizations are operating today, making engagement a difficult game to win. While these unprecedented times continue to impact the workplace and the workforce, organizations have to think of creative ways to make this distanced working environment more engaging so that productivity and employee happiness are not at opposing ends. 

Coaching can become a venerable tool in the HR and leadership arsenal to keep employees engaged. Here is a look at why this is so.

Maximize talent despite the distance 

Remote working is different and demands a different way of leading. Organizations thus have to look at how to help their employees navigate this new normal by guiding them on maintaining a work-life balance while delivering maximum productivity. 

Coaching them to adopt a flexible schedule, develop a flexible mindset, and maintain self-discipline in the absence of constant monitoring are important to drive productivity. Helping them become more goal-oriented, detail-driven with elevated accountability and ownership levels also drive productivity and engagement. By coaching effective prioritization skills and helping employees develop a ‘can-do’ attitude, organizations can keep employees effectively engaged while maximizing the talent despite the distance. 

Guide for growth 

Since millennials are the primary demographic in most organizations, it is imperative to remember that growth is a key engagement driver for these employees. In this remote working environment, it is natural for employees to be concerned about their growth within the organization.

Apart from identifying and providing coaching to meet the employees’ technical skill requirements, organizations also have to identify the power skills gaps by using data from assessments such as 16 Personality factor Tests and Behavioral Skills assessments. Coaching employees on these skills will tangibly impact their professional career and help them become high-potential employees. It helps in driving employee engagement by demonstrating investment and interest in employee growth. 

Drive leadership development 

Remote working or not, organizations have to work continuously to drive leadership development in the workplace to keep employees engaged. Whether it is to identify next-generation leaders or identify high-potential employees, a focus on leadership development also helps in keeping employees engaged, especially in the world of remote work. 

Coaching can play a significant role as an enabler of engagement by helping remote employees understand how to navigate complex relationships, establish greater credibility, cultivate strategic thinking, and develop the capacity to exert influence on decision-making.

In the absence of physical interactions, leadership development coaching guides employees on building and leveraging strategic networks and drive authentic engagement needed to proceed in their careers. 

Read: Critical Leadership Skills that High-Potential Women Leaders Should Be Groomed On

Bridge the skills gap 

Despite the world of work going remote, organizations cannot put a pause on their upskilling and reskilling initiatives. However, while technical training programs help in closing the skills gaps, organizations also have to focus on bridging the power skills gap. Skills like communication, collaboration and influence, problem-solving, innovation and execution, strategic thinking, and the like are essential to driving productivity and engagement. 

Developing a growth mindset is also a prized skill that organizations are looking for to increase the employees’ mental tenacity, especially as the world of work becomes increasingly complex and competitive.

Read: What Can Organizations Do to Develop an Entrepreneurial Growth Mindset Amongst Employees?

Coaching plays a big role in navigating the hard skills and power skills conundrum. Owing to its continuous nature, coaching outcomes drive behavioral change, which helps employees understand the organization’s investment in their growth story. This then becomes a powerful driver of engagement since enablement here drives engagement. 

Empower managers to drive successful teams 

The time to walk the ‘lead by example’ talk is now. In this new world of remote working, the eyes of the employees are fixed on managers and leaders. Managers need to be coached on how to identify the individual talents of individual team members. They also have to discover how to interact with and guide less-experienced employees best through challenging work situations and help them progress along their career paths. Many managers are also leading remote teams for the first time and need coaching on how to best guide their teams for success. 

The absence of physical interactions also means that managers and leaders now have to become clearer in their communication skills and build skills to recognize effort, anticipate team reactions, assess team confidence, appreciate employees, and provide effective feedback. Along with this, managers also have to coach their teams for success and learn how to develop their emotional intelligence to keep team motivation and engagement high. 

Read: How Has the Role of Leadership Changed with COVID-19?

Managers can rely on effective coaching to help them navigate the new challenges and implement the behavioral changes to drive highly successful teams. 

The role of coaching is becoming increasingly important to keep employees happy, engaged, and productive in these challenging times. 

Running and working in remote teams requires specific skillsets and new attitudes so that productivity and engagement levels remain consistently high. It is perhaps time to look towards AI-powered technology and rich analytics to drive highly relevant and contextual coaching programs and help employees deliver their best performance and remain engaged. Consistently. 

Upcoming Webinars - Engaging and Up-Skilling Your Employees From a Distance

3rd and 17th December, 2020