Service: Human resources 

Topic: Coronavirus Mental wellbeing 

Coaching: How to help your teams adjust to life after lockdown

By Howard Woolf

14 May 2021

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”- Maya Angelou.

How is your team feeling right now? 

The pandemic and lockdown have posed significant challenges for many of us over the last year and planning a return to normal routines bring further worries for some of us. 

Business and team leaders should consider how their teams are feeling and how members can be best supported. From a business perspective, the positive outcomes may include enhanced team motivation and commitment, reduced staff turnover and improved performance.

To help in gauging your team’s thoughts and feelings on life and work after lockdown, why not consider setting up an internal coaching scheme?

What is coaching?

Coaching is one of the characteristics shared by outstanding teams and should be a key tool for bringing out the best in those around you - whether you are looking to develop, empower and retain your top talent or to bring on new starters.

Coaching is a process to unlock the full potential of a person and maximize their performance. Put more simply, it can be defined as helping the coachee to learn, rather than teaching them. The focus should be on their continued learning, growth and improvement.

The coaching mindset

To be an effective coach, it is crucial that you adopt the coaching mindset. This is the belief that the person before you has the positive potential to improve and grow without becoming dependent upon your coaching and guidance. 

The coaching relationship

The bedrock of an effective coaching relationship is trust. 

To develop a trusting relationship, a coach must exhibit reliability and credibility, whilst organically progressing conversations from routine small-talk to deeper discussions of values, beliefs, aspirations and feelings. 

There are several other ways of developing relationships based on trust with your team, such as by listening first, making a point of keeping your word, by being a straight-talker and by demonstrating loyalty, honesty and transparency. 

Maintaining regular contact is vital – a coach should catch up and engage with their coachee at least once every two weeks, or the relationship is likely to deteriorate. 

GROW model of coaching

A simple framework for one-to-one coaching is the GROW model. The coach can use this model to frame their next question and as a cycle for further development.

  • Goal – what do you hope to achieve?
  • Reality – what is the current situation?
  • Options – what courses of action are available?
  • Will – what next steps will you commit to?

Effective questions

Coaching conversations involve asking effective questions and listening to the coachee (in terms of what they say, their tone, body language and even what they leave unsaid). From this, a coach can shape the next question, support the goal-setting process and provide feedback.

Consider what kind of question would be best employed to help the coachee. For example, asking too many closed questions or ‘why?’ questions may feel like an interrogation, whereas open and ‘how?’ questions can raise awareness and explore options for progression. 

Staying connected 

It’s not easy for everyone to talk about how they are feeling, but by engaging with your team, you can create a working environment characterized by positivity, collaboration and support. 

This concludes our mini-series of articles covering decision-making, building a great team and the importance of coaching. Although there are dozens of frameworks and models, many of which we have barely touched on, we hope that this mini-series of articles has proved useful and thought-provoking. 

How NatWest Mentor can support you

The Employment Law & HR Consultants within our partners, NatWest Mentor, can support you if you want to become a better coach.

Mentor’s Management Development Programme (MDP) is a 16-week course with 1-1 support, designed to develop the knowledge, skills, and authenticity to be a credible manager and coach.

It is an opportunity to practice and develop strategies to work with staff and help the individual become a better leader, building upon your own style and personal brand.

Mentor can also support you with activities such as:

  • A staff engagement survey – perhaps the starting point to decide any future learning and development plan.
  • Wellbeing courses – these are delivered either in person or via a suite of eLearning.
  • Loneliness training – designed to help managers manage staff who are working from home.
  • Director development – a bespoke programme as an enhancement of the MDP

To learn more about NatWest Mentor and how they can help you, see our HR consultancy services page here.

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