Edited by Anuj Vyas.
Coaching in COVID times has been a revelation. Being an optimist, Poonam Pandit feels that the pandemic has acted as a catalyst and an accelerator to move everyone towards using digital communication means which have existed for the longest time, but never adopted as widely as they could have been, before now. Read on to find out how it has not only converted our esteemed panelist, but also made her a staunch advocate.
This blog piece is based on excerpts from Poonam's keynote in Learn Tomorrow’s webinar on Coaching New Mindsets in Leadership and Negotiation, held on the 15st of September, 2020. Find out more about our upcoming Webinars from here.
From prior experience, Executives have been old-school, unconvinced about online tools and wanting you to come to their space of choosing. It has therefore been a big surprise how quickly online methods have been adopted in these circumstances, under COVID. It has become easier to establish trust and rapport with virtual methods, because people are more relaxed and forthcoming when they are beaming from their living rooms and kitchens, and can see other people in their comfortable habitats. The time required to build a relationship has shortened, so a lot more work can be done.
“I mainly focus on coaching leadership and working with executives, because its lonely at the top and they don’t always reach out to ask for help.”
In a broader context, decision-makers are more perceptive towards people practices and development now. Executives have started investing in learning, increased engagement, which has resulted in business growth, despite the economic recession. HR has come even closer to corporate, and now have the ears of the powers that be.
It has been a good opportunity to experiment with new methods in L&D, since there is an openness to new approaches that improve engagement. Communication has improved between coaches and their clients, since both sides stand to gain from agreeing on a common vision.
“Take time to understand the different digital platforms which are out there, like Zoom, Google Meet and Webex; ask your clients what platform they would prefer to use or have at their organisation already. This goes a long way in putting them at ease.”
Digital coaching has really been able to flex its wings, since one does not need to go anywhere for it and you can participate from the comfort of your own home. More and more coaches are starting to offer coaching online on a pro-bono basis to help people who have been impacted negatively.
All this is not to say that Face-to-Face interaction doesn’t have its place. This will never change; feedback, assessment and transformational projects need multiple meetings and on-location visits to understand local cultures, geographical AND corporate. These cues cannot be picked up virtually.
“If there is one thing the COVID situation has taught us, it is that if you focus on the people and invest in them, they will evolve with situations and new business strategies, deliver targets, and come up with innovation... this pandemic has been a huge opportunity in this regard.”
To conclude, we summarise with handy tips that any coach would benefit from –
- Don’t be afraid to tell clients what they don’t want to hear.
- Recognise exactly what they are looking for from you. Know the clients’ business goals and align yourself with them.
- If they are not making progress or going round in circles, tell them honestly.
- Adopt a ‘Why not?’ mindset.
- Listen, understand and be agile; Take time to listen.
- Balance your approach with equal parts method and instinct.
Above all, take out time to look after your own well-being. To be there for your clients, whether it is coaching or consulting that you do, you need to look after yourself and understand what is vital for you to bring your A-game to every project.
We find that the book, Time To Think by Nancy Kline, offers great insights into how to manage one's time in ways that address all aspects of your career and personal life.
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Poonam Pandit is an Organisational Psycologist and Human Capital Leader with close to 15 years worth of international experience in consulting leadership, leading cultural transformation and human capital development. She has worked with several industries ranging from startups to MNCs across UK, the rest of Europe and the Middle East, in wide-ranging sectors like Government, Automotive, Banking and FMGC. She is the founder and Managing Director at Think Act Consulting.
Anuj Vyas is a member of Learn Tomorrow. cBook.AI aims to create a new learning experience providing a personal Learning Feed, which smartly selects learning content on the basis of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Artificial Intelligence.
Learn Tomorrow is an eLearning technology provider. cBook is an integrated Learning Experience Platform (LXP) aiming to create digital learning experiences with impact. Tailored to the needs of businesses, academies & trainers.