Leadership, Coaching, and the New Normal

The “New Normal.” This title is bandied about as if this is the first time in history the world has been rocked by change. Anyone who has been alive in the last 100 years knows differently.

Think of World War Two, September 11th, global terrorist attacks in cities, school shootings, the list goes on. All of these events individually or together changed the way we live and work, how secure we feel about our lives and the safety of our families, but never with any of them did we start talking about “the new normal”. It just is, or was, and life went on.

So what is so different about this covid event? Why has it so dramatically impacted and changed the way we live and work on a daily basis, our freedom of movement, our security, even how we view and interact with each other in a way nothing has before?

It has changed many things, but has it changed the way we lead?

Leadership is a constant, and ideas about it come and go. But one thing that does not change is the fact that if you are the leader, it is your responsibility to look out for your peoples welfare and to guide them in a positive direction. Leadership is not one sided, however.

It is a two way street. Those who are looking to a leader for guidance also have a responsibility to lead, to lead themselves and perhaps their team, to show up and do what they say, to walk their talk and not just tell others what to do, then fail to do it themselves. So what then is the greatest challenge to a leader in the “new normal”?

I believe it is the biggest change to hit the workplace since women joined men in the office, and that is the ‘Work at Home” initiatives adopted by the majority of workplaces in Malaysia, as well as around the world. The problem with this initiative is however, the fact that those two words often do not go together very well. Work-Home.

How many of those working at home are truly working? As a leader, how do you inspire your people to be at home and not be so distracted by the family needs and temptations of their safe home environment that work becomes secondary? You could try like some of the bigger companies and keep your people in online meeting after online meeting so that they have no time to get caught up in their home affair, but then when does the work get done?

This “keep them meeting” strategy is led by fear and mistrust, and is not a very sustainable form of leadership. How exhausting as a leader or manager when the majority of your day is spent in essence “babysitting” your team.

This is where the idea of coaching comes into play. A good leader will work with their people one on one, in coaching conversations, and get to the heart of any issues, build trust and respect, and wind up knowing that their people will do what they say they will, without needing to be micromanaged and watched over like children all day long.

The greatest skill in 2020 that any manager and leader can have is the ability to be a coach to their team. That is the difference between good and great, between winning teams and teams that never even make it to the business playoffs…effective coaching.

Here’s hoping that you win the world series of business in 2021, but if you are spending all day on zoom meetings just so your manager can feel they have you under their thumb, then it is more likely I will see you selling hot dogs in the stands rather than winning employee of the year.

Learning to coach your team effectively can be all the difference between “batter up! “ and “would you like fries with that.” So how does a manger learn to be an effective coach? Where can one go to learn the skills? The answer to that is wide and varied, as there are many coaching certification programs available that will give you the coaching skills that you need, but the problem with these is that they are designed to certify you as fully fledged coach with the assumption that is a new career move for you.

Most managers neither need nor want that much of an in-depth dive into coaching skills. So what to do?

I provides a simple two day online program that will give you the basics of being a coach, the basic coaching skills you need to coach your team effectively, without all the extras you don’t need.

So if coaching skills are what you need, but a 6 month or year long program is not, we have what you need. Batter up!

This article was written by Vincent J. Kellsey, Leadership Development Trainer and Coach

Vincent is a published author, accomplished speaker and trainer, executive leadership coach, and master firewalk instructor.

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