It is hard to know where to begin a message in the midst of this unprecedented crisis — one that is touching us all and will leave us forever changed. That said — it is also a time for getting “comfortable” with uncertainty, and paradox. One paradox, which comes immediately to mind as I write this: now is a time to hunker down, stay safe, follow health experts precautions and simultaneously, not isolate.
I have been privileged to connect virtually in the past week with a number of our Fellows from around the world — and we have been brainstorming ways to navigate the disruption, stay resilient — and even create opportunities — for our businesses.
Many of us have clients who feel overwhelmed (especially in the health care sector), who have cancelled in-person group programs, and may likely cut back on expenditures for what may be considered “non-essentials” like coaching.
On the other hand, some of us have been successful at increasing our connections with current clients — and new ones — by learning the ins and outs of video connectivity and convincing clients of the value of staying connected, getting support, and maintaining virtual team engagement, all online.
With this in mind, I want to share what one of our new Fellows brought up, with humility and vulnerability (signs that he is likely an amazing coach!), that we are all dealing with one way or another: fear.
Fear touches us all at times like this — and as my colleague Susan David writes in her book Emotional Agility, it does not serve us to deny or try to push it away with stimulants, distractions or acting out. On the contrary, what works — and is restorative — is to simply embrace, recognize and accept fear as a natural human emotion, not good or bad but a normal, usually temporary, response to a lack of control.
Of course, the deeper truth is that “control” is an illusion even in the best of times — so as we brainstormed ways to support this new Fellow, I was reminded of the three C’s that I fall back on — and share with anxious clients — in times when waves of fear crash in:
Courage — as Susan reminds us is not blindly taking risks but “fear walking” — recognizing that anxiety is normal and may “feel” debilitating in times of disruption — but is almost always fleeting. When we stop, breathe, accept our emotions “as they are,” and re-focus on what is right in front of us—a flower, a song, a pet, a loved one—they often miraculously shift. Our internal narrative or story (what I sometimes call the “monkey mind”) of worst case scenarios gives way to what’s possible — and in its place the next “C” on my list arises: compassion.
Compassion starts at home — with self. Now is a time for being gentle with ourselves, for re-upping our commitment to self-care: meditation, exercise, sleep, healthy nutrition and so on (a walk in the woods, a bubble bath, a good book). These help to ground and fortify us in ways that enable us to model and demonstrate compassion for others. Once we make that powerful shift – away from self-concern towards helping others—the negative spiral of fear turns positive. Compassion, grounded in self-care, becomes a contagion of positivity and a pillar of support stronger than any virus.
Community, as the last of my core C’s is a natural outgrowth of compassion. There are many ways that we as coaches — trained to serve clients in the midst of change — can reach out to provide emotional support, virtual connection, volunteer time and where possible, financial support, to communities in need.
Here at the IOC, in this spirit of community, we are creating multiple ways for us to stay connected — to “see” each other, to share stories of grief and loss but also of humor and strength, and to engage in learning and personal growth.
Having dedicated our organization to educating and building the profession of coaching with best-in-class scientific underpinnings, over the next two months we will double our offerings of webinars, offer multiple research “doses” on topics related to resilience, wellness, positive psychology, neuroscience, even business building, and make ourselves available to our Fellows, Sponsors and affiliates in as many ways as we can think of.
We hope you will take this period of home time, not to isolate but to “ground,” to grow yourself and your practice by partaking in these offerings. Check out the many practical and evidence-based webinar offerings noted here, the research “doses” — especially those that educate us on the complex nuances of resilience (for example: research shows that resilience is as much about context, community and culture as it is about the individual) and the proven efficacy of coaching support in the midst of adversity—which may come in handy if a client believes coaching is “dispensable”.
Also below is a quick review of the books we suggested in our newsletters over the past year – as now may be a perfect time to turn off the TV and catch up on your reading!
In closing, I want to share with you one positive shift that this pandemic may bring, on a global scale: an awareness that our planet is small. The very idea of separate “countries” is artificial, and no culture, gender, race, political or physical “wall” can truly separate us: we are all human, all one family.
Let’s take care of each other.
Jeff Hull, PhD
Director of Education and Business Development, Institute of Coaching
Navigating a sudden, deep and widespread crisis, like a global pandemic, requires a level of calm fortitude and resilience that is not called forth every day, rarely in most lifetimes....
While investment in psychological capital is not necessarily a direct coaching focus, the coaching process by its nature invests in psychological capital. The rich return on the investment arrives in the form of new resources to support a coachee’s present and future agenda for change.
IOC’s co-founder Margaret Moore explores the process of establishing the coach as a health care professional in the US, including national standards, evidence base, economics, policy, reimbursement, and implementation. Margaret is co-leading these processes on behalf of the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching, in partnership with the National Board of Medical Examiners which established US standards for physician licensing examinations 100 years ago.
Slides to accompany Joanna Molyn's webinar: Research You Need to Know: What Common Factors Contribute to Coaching Effectiveness
More is known about the factors that predict mental disorder than about the factors and processes that promote positive development among individuals exposed to atypically high levels of stress or adversity....
The now recognized core construct of psychological capital, or simply PsyCap, draws from positive psychology in general and positive organizational behavior (POB) in particular. The first-order positive psychological resources that make up PsyCap include hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism, or the HERO within....
Description from the publishers: In this book, Dr Sunny Stout-Rostron examines real-world experience and the contemporary literature on group and team coaching. She analyses how team coaching can guide coaches to help leaders and teams flourish in complex, culturally diverse organisations....
Coaching is the hottest trend in leadership today, a billion-dollar industry worldwide, and there are hundreds of coaching books on the market to prove it. But Internal Coaching: Stories of Success in Organizations was created to fill specific gaps in the market, and it differs from other coaching books in significant ways....
Effect better outcomes with a robust coaching program
Creating a Coaching Culture will help coaches and coaching companies to be more effective in the market place, by using an approach that works to create a coaching culture and integrates coaching well into organisations....
John Baldoni’s new book on the power of GRACE is a must read for all of us and particularly for anyone seeking to serve in a leadership role. In a world where good manners and courtesy sometimes seem to have gone out of style, this book is a practical guide for bettering relationships in all types of human connections....
You're trying to help--but is it working? Helping others is a good thing. Often, as a leader, manager, doctor, teacher, or coach, it's central to your job....
The mental well-being of children and adults is shockingly poor. Marc Brackett, author of Permission to Feel, knows why. And he knows what we can do.
"We have a crisis on our hands, and its victims are our children."...
A new theory of how the brain constructs emotions that could revolutionize psychology, health care, the legal system, and our understanding of the human mind...
From one of the world’s preeminent leadership coaches, an insightful, indispensable guide to effective leadership....
Book Overview: The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About The Good
For companies that want to maximize their employee engagement, increase retention, and foster performance through a culture of transformational learning, AceUp delivers personalized executive coaching to empower professionals to maximize their impact. AceUp’s coaching is enabled by technology and backed by data.
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