COVID-19 is here and it’s changing our lives. Uncertainty lies ahead, yet as coaches, we know that this can be potential for something new. We also know, through coaching clients approaching us in times of personal or professional crisis, that challenges can provide opportunities for learning and growth.
As someone that is both a coach and coachee, I’d like to share three strategies from my coaching experience that are helping me cope with what we’re witnessing today:
Pay attention to your attention
Many things compete for our attention, and distraction is one of the main reasons coaching clients find it difficult to achieve their goals. The current crisis heightens these distractions (social media, news, home, and work responsibilities)—leaving us unproductive, anxious, and drained by the end of the day.
“What you attend to at this moment becomes your reality”, said Williams James (the father of modern psychology) more than 100 years ago. If we keep our attention on the negative (fearful headlines or worrisome thoughts), our reality becomes negative. The opposite is true: keeping our attention on the positive (being with family or taking time to reflect) creates a brighter reality for us.
Ask yourself: Where is your attention? If you have a hard time answering this, I recommend mind training practices like mindfulness or journaling.
Keep your values close
Values are our fundamental beliefs and guiding principles, and in the metaphor above, they are the boat we sit in and the compass in our hands—both of which are more important than ever to keep close. In the coaching journey, clients find that aligning with their core values is both an act of discipline and a reward.
For example, if kindness is your core value, then going out of your way to be kind to a distressed colleague brings fulfillment to both of you. If this core value is forgotten (as is easy to do with distractions), the outcome brings unpleasantness to both parties.
Ask yourself: What are your top 3 core values? How will you remember to apply them in your life? I encourage you to share these with people around you. Mine are openness, kindness, and joy, and keeping them front and centre has brought me openness, kindness, and joy in these tough times.
Last but not least, remember that you are not alone. Together, we can overcome this and any future crisis. As a coach, I know how helpful (even crucial) it is to get support. I’m still being coached, I keep my mental health in check by regular visits to a counsellor, and I make a point to share my worries with family and friends and to ask for help if needed (which has brought us even closer). In a time when we are expected to isolate, reaching out to others (even virtually) is essential, not only to survive but to thrive. And this is done together.
Ask yourself: What kind of support do you need? Who can you seek for support? Who can you give support to? Have courage and remember that we’re all in this together.