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14 Ways Coaches Can Offer Business Owners Support During A Crisis

Crises are always looming on the horizon. Whether it’s because of a global economic downturn or something even more disastrous, coaches need to be able to adapt how they communicate with their clients to offer these business owners support. During a crisis, especially, the need for a coach to be inventive in their engagement or discussion is crucial. For many clients, their coaches are their most significant source of support, both professionally and emotionally.

How does a coach take this massive responsibility onto their shoulders during uncertain times? To help, 14 experts from Forbes Coaches Council offer their advice on how a coach can remain inventive in how they engage and support business owners in the face of a crisis.

Forbes Coaches Council members offer tips on how coaches can provide top support during a crisis.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS.

1. Be Human And Reach Out

One thing that I began doing with current and former coaching clients was simply reaching out with a weekly email. I have been transparent about what’s been good and not so good, as well as offering some tips to stay productive and engaged. I was surprised at the response from people and how much they appreciated the reminders, laughs and honesty. – Aaronde Creighton, Full Circle Group

2. Provide Encouragement Every Day

In order to show your clients that you are there for them in these difficult times, you could post a few words of encouragement or an inspiring quote every day. A little bit of positivity goes a long way when your clients are faced with so much doom and gloom every day. – Rajeev Shroff, Cupela Consulting

3. Be A Short-Term Realist

During times of crisis, most people’s natural response is to hyper-focus on today’s problems. It’s easy to get stuck in short-term thinking, especially if our fears are in the driver’s seat. Helping your clients with short-term problem-solving, while simultaneously supporting them to strategize for the recovery is key to surfing the crisis without getting caught under the crashing wave. – Michela Quilici, MQ Consulting and Business Training, Inc.

4. Help Clients Manage Their Derailers

I’m spending time with clients looking at their derailers or stress behaviors, and helping them learn how to minimize the negative side effects. Crises often lead clients to be less visible, which reduces their ability to mobilize and energize others. Coach your clients to stay visible and avoid the tendency to withdraw, which research identifies as the worst possible derailer. – Eric Beaudan, Odgers Berndtson

5. Offer Virtual Mini Coaching Sessions

Record one- to two-minute videos of yourself coaching to the current situation and send them to your clients. This unexpected bouquet of encouragement and coaching brings a welcome surprise during these difficult times. – Laura Camacho, Mixonian Institute

6. Help Them Build Resilience

The first thing clients need during times of crisis is to regain their composure and sense of safety. When our brains are panicking, they move to a fight, flight, freeze phase. By regaining exposure, they will have access to their executive function and, thereby, clearer thinking. Each client will have specific needs, and resilience is a strong starting point. – Maureen Metcalf, Innovative Leadership Institute

7. Be A Connector

Often, clients find themselves feeling as if they are on an island. Times are changing fast and their network is not sufficient to handle these new challenges. As a coach, you likely have your hands in many different areas. Connect clients, vendors, thought partners, etc. with each other. – Wade Thomas, Aim to Win

8. Offer A Shoulder

It might sound a bit unconventional, but during times of crisis, sometimes clients need a confidante to whom to vent their frustrations. Offering to jump out of coaching mode for a session and allowing them to express what’s keeping them up at night may help them refocus and become more resilient to the challenges at hand. – Karan Rhodes,Shockingly Different Leadership

9. Give Them Validation

In crisis situations, validation of irrational emotions and thoughts is key. I make it a point to give more time for validation to happen. Like a key to a lock, once the client’s emotions are validated, they are ready to switch to the resourceful mode and look forward. – Chuen Chuen Yeo, ACESENCE

10. Focus On Coping Skills

Leadership and business are important, but in times of crisis, it is vital that clients have the right coping skills. Do they have tools to reduce panic, anxiety and stress? A coach’s compassion can do wonders, but in times of crisis, clients need to be able to give themselves self-compassion. – Dan Messinger, Cream of the Crop Leaders

11. Create A ‘No Judgment’ Zone

Everyone needs a place to be themselves, to vent, complain or describe their challenges. A coaching relationship should always offer a no judgment zone—a safe, creative place where clients can let go of the stress and worry that comes during a crisis. A coach will ask open-ended, creative questions that allow the client to reflect and verbalize their thoughts and feelings safely. – Dr. Teresa Ray, PCC, Dr. Teresa Ray

12. Send Them A ‘Wow Package’

In times of crisis, people tend to focus inward. Sending a “wow package” in the mail not only gives them something unique, but it also gives them something to open up, which stimulates an excited childlike response—”What is it?” What’s in the package is less important than sending it, but here are a few of my staples: a handwritten card, something tasty to eat and something to read that’s comforting. – Doug Holt, Doug Holt Online

13. Share Valuable Content On Social Media

In times of crisis, most people turn to either radio or TV stations first and social media second. As a coach, you can support clients by providing free tips on social media. Also, you can provide low-cost coaching options to people within a specific group on a social media platform like Facebook or LinkedIn. Meeting people where they already spend time shows care and support during a crisis. – Lori A. Manns, Quality Media Consultant Group LLC

14. Be Flexible In Your Offerings

Typically, most executive coaches offer six- or 12-month engagements that include a leadership assessment and a 360 report debrief. However, that standard approach and format may not be what many leaders need right now. Instead, offer one-hour spot coaching sessions that clients can sign up for online and access your coaching support any time they need. – Kirsten Meneghello, Illumination Coaching LLC


If you want to re-focus your business strategy, clarify your new business direction, re-imagine your business model, or develop a roadmap to confidently move forward with your marketing, sales or business development efforts with more ease, I encourage you to reach out for a complimentary call to discuss your business re-imagined plan. On our call you will:
  • Create a crystal clear vision for ultimate business success
  • Get focused on the next most powerful step toward your goals
  • Leave the session renewed, re-energized and inspired to finally grow your business faster and easier than ever before
This article was originally published on Forbes.com

About Michela Quilici

Michela QuiliciMichela Quilici is a business navigator, award-winning business growth coach and marketing strategist, speaker, International bestselling author, Forbes Coaches Council member, and creator and host of the Q Your Business Success podcast. She has a gift for navigating business owners, experts and service professionals to get noticed, get clients, and get profitable using strategy, systems, and self-leadership.

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