Managing in times of crisis: push the boundaries
Flexible, short online coaching engangements for executives in crisis situations
Equip staff members with appropriate leadership styles and coordination skills. And cultivate collaborative approaches in a complex and changing work landscape. That was the aim when we started coaching at a large intergovernmental organization active in over 130 countries in conflictious regions. Participants were matched with a certified e-coach and received four hours of blended coaching. Coaching as a space for self-awareness, reflection and skills development. “Sometimes it is difficult to see something beyond our own contextual perspective”, one of the participants states. “Having contact with an external coach was useful to push my boundaries.”
Our coaching was added to an existing pilot within the context of a leadership development programme that was mostly delivered online and partly face to face. The main objectives of the coaching intervention within this learning programme were to help the participants to reflect and grow insight in their leadership styles. To help them understand the dynamics and become more confident in applying different leadership styles. Finally, to apply theoretical concepts of this learning programme into practical, concrete and on-the-job challenges. The coaching was focused specifically on three learning competencies: attitudes, skills and knowledge.
Evaluation OF Being Coached
“My coach was able to positively motivate me throughout the coaching sessions. And helped me to reflect on myself and on mt development areas that needs to be worked on. He was a great source of motivation and inspiration. I highly value his contribution. Being able to frankly speak to someone who will not judge you and will rather help you to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses was very important to me.”
Two different levels
The programme was divided into two different groups: level 1 (young executives) and level 2 (senior executives). Besides self-study modules, the learning programme also offered a workshop (for both levels, separately) to refresh and enhance the goals and objectives of the programme.
“It was a good time for self-reflection and also time to look at especially leadership communication styles.”
“I really liked the time with my coach through the video calls.”
“The coach was always available.”
Next to this, participants - enrolled to level 2 – were asked to establish a mentor/mentee relationship with their level 1 colleagues in their day-to-day coordination activities. The level 2 participants were coached/trained by their eCoachPro coaches in ‘coaching-style’ skills - to use and apply with their level 1 mentees.
Being Mentored by a level 2 participant
“As an introvert person I was lucky to have an extravert person as a mentor. The mentor was able to make me step out of my comfort zone on many occasions and it gave me more confidence.”
Blended coaching delivery
To best support the level 2 employees in their development we offered flexible, continuous and “blended by design” coaching. A continuous flow of communication, reflection and feedback to offer support. Especially in times or situations of crisis, flexibility in the delivered support is of great importance, in order to be able to react quickly to the changing circumstances. To be able to achieve this, eCoachPro integrated traditional live (video/telephone) coaching with online (written) coaching. All this in our GDPR-compliant digital coaching platform Pluform and in more than 20 different languages. This created a continuous development journey for the participants. Combining different means of communication created more contact moments between the participants and coaches. It ensured to take small, manageable steps towards the objectives.
How did you benefit from the process of being a mentor?
“Not only was I able to reflect on my past experiences, and particularly reflect on the success achieved and the reasons that contributed to those successes, but also on challenges met, and learned lessons from these experiences. It was also an opportunity while discussing with my mentee, to discover other ways of dealing with specific challenges in particular in unusual situations where security remains of concern.”
Flexibility is paramount in our coaching. Both the coach and participant could organize the 240 minutes of coaching in a flexible way. The participants could co-design with their coach how to use the available coaching hours to best respond to needs, learning preferences and work(agenda). The participant could decide to split the coaching time into, for example, short sessions of 15 minutes, longer sessions or combinations. They also could decide to only carry out live calls, or communicate in writing online, or the optimal combination of both.
How useful was the coaching for you?
“It helped me to discuss specific problems and get an outsider view on how to improve. I learned new techniques on dealing with difficult situations and got a better understanding of underlying issues; it was a good time for self-reflection and also time to look at especially leadership communication styles.”
“This coaching session was an opportunity to better know my strength and weaknesses and to keep on working on improving. This is an informal flexible way of learning which allowed me to challenge myself and get to know more on how to constantly improve my skills.”