In my last article, I shared insights from a group of leaders about how to position ourselves and our nonprofits for coronavirus and “disaster-proof” our lives moving forward. This post follows along the same theme and highlights the insights of some powerful coaches.
As Smith sees it, COVID has confronted us with our core values. We have been forced to “check in” with ourselves and reassess our past behaviors as we consider life moving forward. What is it that is most important to us and should be performed and engaged with more in the future? And what have we been doing that hasn’t served us and should be scaled back as we begin to emerge from quarantine?
In particular, Smith sees COVID as just what so many of us needed to become more intentional with our communication. “Disaster,” she says, “confronts us with all of our needs at once.” The awareness of those needs allows us to communicate them more clearly to others, which will reduce internal stressors and create stronger, more transparent relationships. By regularly asking ourselves, “how could communication help at this moment?” we become more in tune with how to use it as a tool for everything from interactions to processes.
When things are going well, take note and reflect on it to ensure that you get more of it in the future. And pay attention to the unique elements within your communication that resonates with each individual so you can use more of the same in the future and get better results.
For Keren, the COVID glass is half full. She is excited about the impact that the pandemic has had on accelerating the curve for freelancers and the self-employed, who are trending towards an even larger percentage of the workforce because of the upheaval.
Keren says that to be disaster-proof, we need to be doing “the right things all along.” It’s critical to be in the right job and industry, so that we can confidently do our very best work. If we’re not convinced in the correctness of our career choice, it will come through and make us more expendable in times like this. It will also make it much harder to interview successfully. She adds that people should assess their careers yearly to make sure that they’re still in the right job. Just because a job served you one year does not mean that it will moving forward.
Of course, being in the right career is not enough. Work to get to and stay at the top of your job. If you’re not growing and making yourself more valuable – as measured by promotions and raises – then you’re likely to be the first to go.
From Goldstein’s view, COVID has helped leaders appreciate the importance of soft skills development in ways that they hadn’t before. Soft skills (also known as human, interpersonal, or transferable skills) are not only what help people get promoted (as opposed to technical know-how or skills that we might possess), but they are what have been getting us through this pandemic.
Goldstein speaks of her own challenge as a professional and a mother with children at home. She tells herself to do the same inner work that she does with her clients, using the “4 D’s” to determine what to do and what not to do.
Historically, her clients with strong interpersonal skills have been able to pivot more easily between careers. She observes that they have succeeded at keeping their jobs and handling work challenges more than those who lack in these areas.
Everything, Goldstein says, “starts with awareness,” as in awareness of what is needed to move forward and be ready for whatever change (and challenge) may be on the horizon.
Henderson starts by articulating what many of us have been thinking: COVID has created a tremendous fear of the unknown. So many people have become redundant at work and do not know what their future career might look like. To address this fear, she maintains that we need to digitalize our knowledge.
She sees our situation as a tremendous opportunity for anyone who has something meaningful to share and teach to profitably leverage their learning and experiences. Start with these questions: What problems can I solve? Who can I serve? The answers may move us into the consultative space (which, Henderson maintains, would represent a huge shift in mindset for those who have only known a career of gainful employment). They may also direct us back into the workplace. But this time, we will be thinking about how we can leverage what we know so we become more valuable to our coworkers and broader professional network.
There is no question our world is becoming increasingly digital. Now is the time for each of us to build social currency (how many people are following and liking you) in a digital environment so we become the go-to for the things we are uniquely positioned to do.
Naphtali Hoff, PsyD, is an executive coach who helps busy leaders be more productive so that they can scale profits with less stress and get home at a decent hour. For a free, no obligation consultation, please call 212.470.6139 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Buy his leadership book, “Becoming the New Boss,” on Amazon. Download his free productivity blueprint at ImpactfulCoaching.com/ Productivity-Blueprint.