Anxiety and uncertainty are swarming. And as emotions swing on what seems to be a random and recklessly constructed pendulum, our frayed nerves seek solace in the familiar, in old ways of thinking and being. Yet what we had understood as normal no longer exists. It is up to us to re-design and co-create systems and practices that best serve ourselves, our communities, and the planet at large.
Before we can possibly harness our creativity and find the resilience and agility to rise up to new challenges facing us, we must first acknowledge what was lost. We must acknowledge and bear witness to our grief.
Grief? This is a public-health crisis! A massive recession! Yes, grief.
We are grieving old ways of life, old means of communication and connection points. Old norms and opportunities once within our grasp are locked away now-in our memories of birthday parties and concerts, captured in photos of weddings and family dinners, a raucous night out with friends-though still very much alive in our hearts and in our minds. Many of us have lost or will lose those near and dear to us, our beloved essential workers, and our colleagues to this deadly virus. Many more of us have lost our jobs and our careers, and, with it, a sense of purpose, connection and belonging. We no longer feel safe or secure, our doubts are churning-doubts about the financial markets or our ability to make rent or the wellbeing of our communities, and inevitably about ourselves.
Some of us never had those things in the first place. The pandemic merely exposed the fragility of our systems.
We are longing for someone to hold us and hold space for us to grieve, someone to look us in the eyes and say, You got this…and I got you.
This is where coaching shines its bright light of tough love.
Why coaching, and why now?
Coaching teaches us how to think independently. Coaches don’t advise, as they’re often not experts in clients’ fields. Their expertise lies in empathy, feedback, clarity, and accountability. They listen to what has heart and meaning, help us define our vision and our goals-be it work, love, play, or health-and support us on our respective journeys with tools we can carry forward into all aspects of our lives. A great coach helps us identify our weaknesses and our strengths, and allows us to see ourselves and others more clearly, so that we can chart our best paths forward while becoming our best selves.
In times of transition, and this is a transition that feels larger than most before it, a coach helps us craft clarity, develop confidence and agility, and find harmony, fulfillment, and even joy. Coaching can be a powerful catalyst for change: letting go of people and things that no longer serve us, exploring new roles and opportunities, adapting new behaviors and attitudes that align with our values and goals.
In my own practice, I meet my clients where they’re at, often a confused and sometimes fearful place. Some need to be heard and seen before they can focus on goals or action steps. Others feel ready to blaze ahead but need support with their leadership presence, cultivating better self-care, or redesigning their business. I hold space for my coachees, providing a container for their spiraling thoughts and emotions, and help them name whatever is alive for them. If they are mired in grief, then I bear witness as they move through it. Only then can they take stock, articulate their vision, think creatively about what’s next, then forge ahead, one step at a time.
We already know that coaching makes for better leaders, innovators, effective communicators, and teams. Studies have shown coaching to have a return on investment (ROI) of 6–8 times its cost. Coachees are more confident, more productive, and more satisfied with their work and personal lives. The ripple effects of coaching have also been demonstrated widely.
If you’re more of a visual learner, check out this quick video by Wellcoaches, arguably the most charming, accurate, and succinct explanation of coaching. Most coaches offer a free introductory call to see if it’s a good fit; and if not, you might ask if they’d consider doing so.
Not everyone is ready for coaching. It requires a financial investment of $100 to over $500 hourly. It also requires an open mind and a willingness to grow and change. Which takes radical responsibility in terms of honoring our impact and stepping into our potential. And that takes work. The hard work that is looking inward, and continuing to look inward as we begin to look outward. That work will pay dividends: for our personal wellbeing; for our success, however we choose to define it; for our ability to show up as our authentic selves, adapt as conditions around us change, and achieve our flow.
When you’re ready for change-and taking radical responsibility-that has the power to move you through this crisis (i.e. opportunity) and prepare you for others inevitably to come: find a coach. I know I’ll be here with open arms, alongside a cadre of exceptional coaching colleagues.
Go ahead. You’re worth it.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.