One word to describe the last year and a half is change. Employees and employers managed transition on a broad scale after the pandemic changed how they work and connect with colleagues across the company landscape. Employees struggled to stay connected through Zoom calls and other technology, leading to a record increase in stress and anxiety. According to Psychiatric Times, “COVID-19 has already led to diverse mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and other trauma- and stress-related disorders.” Despite these challenges, employees showed resilience and adopted new patterns to adjust.
Now acclimated to working from home, spending more time with family, and less time commuting, they must prepare for the next normal. The next normal provides hope and a level of uncertainty. This level of uncertainty has employees wondering how to show up for employers and balance personal commitments, not wanting to forfeit the benefits they came to adopt during the pandemic. In fact, according to the NYTimes, “Many are happier, more efficient and want to hang onto the benefits when the pandemic ends.”
As employees navigate the waters of the unknown, the role of HR professionals is even more complex. Now more than ever, coaches have the opportunity to fill the gap and help employers provide guidance and support for their employees. Group coaching and individual coaching provide a far-reaching impact, allowing for a win-win situation for both the employee and employer. With companies committing to support employees on their journey, coaching opens the window for candid and ethical discussions going far beyond the reach of bite-sized learning, computer-based training, and large town hall meetings.
Coaching empowers employees to do the work in a way that aligns with their core values, exploring viewpoints and challenging thought processes, and limiting beliefs holding them back from showing up as the best version of themselves. Coaching brings accountability and support in areas such as:
- Managing Change – as employees transition back to work in the office, coaches can help employees see the opportunities available and better manage their reactions to the change happening in their internal and external environment.
- Managing Stress – coaches encourage employees to understand triggers and emotions tied to work tasks and team dynamics. And identify ways to cope and manage stress. The outcome is often improved self-awareness, better prioritization of self and goals leading to work-life harmony, and enhanced resilience.
- Employee Engagement – coaches encourage employees to explore their value and contribution and then consider how their talent can serve other areas of the organization. The outcome is employees becoming more engaged with company offerings, employee resource groups, and a sense of belonging and community.
- Professional Development – employers want to succeed, and employees have the same goal. Working with a coach motivates employees to consider how they show up and where they want to be in the future. Coaches encourage employees to consider areas for short and long-term growth.
As employees face more professional and personal demands, employers can meet them where they are by incorporating coaching. Coaching offers another doorway to receive support from employers. Along with Employee Assistance Program (EAP) resources and in partnership with HR, embracing a coaching culture can lead to lasting transformation.
If you need support on your organisation’s and leader’s coaching journey, do contact us at ICF and our team of volunteers in the UK will be happy to help.