Are coaches relevant in the post COVID-19 era?
We are living through tough times. Job losses are rampant. Economies are asking for ventilators. A critical support structure like the healthcare system is praying for a miracle.
As grim as the reality sounds, the truth is that coaches are now more relevant than ever.
COVID-19 is not a new disease. Yet it has united humankind like no other recent event. Everywhere you look, the disease has claimed lives and crippled livelihoods. The world today lives in fear, uncertainty but also … dare I call it … hope.
Everyone is looking forward to a new world order. Yes, there is fear and uncertainty. But I see this joint ambition to restore normalcy as the biggest unifying factor.
The world will wake up to new opportunities on the other side of this COVID-19 pandemic.
A new normal.
Better or not, only time will tell.
Coaching 101: Rise of Robots
A key example is the automation industry. Last year, Oxford Economics forecasted that robots would take 20 million manufacturing jobs by 2030. A global pandemic has taught us that widespread use of robots and drones is the need of the hour. It is no longer a distant possibility. The fear of infections through human contact is greater than the fear of losing jobs to automation. A small state of India, called Kerala, which had the best recovery rate in the country, showed how robots help.
The IT sector was another industry that was impacted. Keeping over 7 billion people connected, especially when everyone is screaming social distancing, has made us all realize the power of 3G, 4G and 5G. It is also now clear what the sector needs to work on. IT companies asked staff to up skill themselves to meet foreseeable challenges. Economic Times listed unexpected number of openings by top companies.
All industries will focus on aspects where the future ensures contactless transactions. For example, the banking sector will definitely see a rise in digital payment modes or higher bitcoin trading.
Healthcare, pharmaceuticals, grocery and warehouses need more workers with new skill-sets. The surge for trained IT support personnel in these sectors is clear. The Financial Express listed the sectors that need more employees or an upgrade in skills.
The New Normal in Coaching
Offices are being revamped to accommodate social distancing policies. Work from home is being woven into contracts and online meetings are becoming the new norm. A functional support system will soon pervade homes and offices. Communication will need to replace competition, at least for now.
The onus of ensuring employee productivity is on the managers/owners. This is where they need help.
Yes, there is a need for training to deal with the new office policies. But more importantly, there is a need to provide motivation for employees. How will managers/owners deal with this?
Coaching 101: Mind Influences Matter
Why does motivation matter?
According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace, only 15% employees are engaged in the workplace. Another research by Harvard Business Review found that working from home was less motivating for employees.
This recent article claims that:
- Only 10% employees feel engaged at work in Western Europe, slipping to 8% in the U.K.
- Disengaged employees cost U.S. organizationsup to$550 billion each year
- Gallup’s meta-analysis indicated 21% higher profitability levels for businesses with the highest employee engagement scores. They also had scored 17% higher productivity levels
- 91% surveyed employees said their leaders lack communication skills
- 1 in 3 employees not trust their employers
These data are available here.
All these related statistics show a larger problem with company cultures. But the $2.9 million daily cost for U.S. employers looking for replacement workers can be saved. The hardest hit are the small and medium businesses who account for a large part of employers in many countries.
The industries that witness the highest turnover rates in the U.S. are:
- Finance and insurance
- Healthcare and social help
- Government jobs
These are critical support structures in the wake of the pandemic. So companies must prevent trained employees from leaving a company. This is crucial for companies and economies to get back on track.
Coaching for Mental Wellness
There is an added worry for businesses that had ignored mental health and wellness of employees. Depression, substance abuse and violence are on the rise. This is due to social isolation, existing health issues and job fears. This has a direct impact on personal and professional spheres.
A recent KFF poll revealed that 45% of adults in the U.S. reported that the pandemic has affected their mental health. In India, a recent survey by the Indian Psychiatry Society shows a 20% rise in mental illness issues.
The need for an immediate boost to incentivize employees and deal with their concerns is obvious. The onus for this rests on smart and agile employers/managers. They are the ones who see the era post COVID-19 as an opportunity for charting out a new work culture. It is tempting to look at immediate gains and try to minimize losses. But leaders with tunnel vision approaches never get far.
Is the Coaching Sector Future Ready?
Call me a wizard but I do have a solution!
It’s a simple one.
Hire external trained coaches to focus on building team spirit, facilitate retention and boost innovation and morale within the company.
Building a positive work environment will help employees feel more committed to investing their time within the company. While everything is in a state of flux, communication is more important than ever to help better relations between employer and employee. Yet, we do know from experience that not all managers deem communication to be their core strength.
Coaches work hard to create an environment where employees feel motivated and engaged. Ongoing employee development even at a time like this ensures that the employee feels looked after for the long haul. This is bound to allay fears of job loss and drive efficiency and commitment towards employers.
What would be the cost to company at this stage?
At the current annual cost of $98,208or £30,476 for hiring executive coaches, this may well be a lifeboat for businesses to cope with the current crisis. Business coaches would cost approximately $73805.
Would these prices drop further given we are in the middle of a global recession?
My advice would be to look for trained coaches who are flexible, online and committed to their clients. Quality over price is the way to go, since coaching is still an unregulated industry.
Coaching: Return on Investment
Do coaches have a significant impact on company baselines?
Coaches come equipped to help with crises in business set-ups or in personal lives. They are trained to help clients by assessing strengths and potential weaknesses. The current situation is no different. Motivation and commitment towards the employer impacts productivity. These are in fact more effective than a fear of job loss or redundancy. And this is where coaches can help.
This news report from the 2017 ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study, which was also conducted by PwC Research, shows that coaches create happier customers too! The research stated:
- 89% people in India are aware of life coaching
- 59% have partnered with a life coach at some time
- 97% expressed satisfaction with the experience
In a post COVID-19 era, it is more important than ever to galvanize leaders into action. Irrespective of whether leaders and employers had an emergency plan ready, they will now be forced to face a reality nobody had anticipated.
Crises and wars are not new in the history of human evolution but preparations for the same have evolved. The warrior’s protective armour has been replaced by secure IT systems. Long arduous treks to enemy territory are no longer relevant as the enemy is at home or in the vicinity. But there is one thing that has not changed. It is people’s perception of a strong, well-equipped leader who will win the war. And live to tell the story.
To find out how I can help you with your coaching career, check out my blog, where I have provided several tips on questions to ask your client, coaching trends and ways to market your coaching practice in the digital era.