How Leadership Coaching Can Help Leaders Handle Crisis

How Leadership Coaching Can Help Leaders Handle Crisis

With strong, compassionate leadership, teams and businesses have the potential to thrive during a crisis. Leadership coaching helps by keeping leaders grounded in the moment, helping them work through their own anxieties, and providing them with tools and strategies for both work and life that empower them to create from everything that’s happening.

Even the best leaders can find themselves struggling when a crisis hits. The very essence of a crisis is that it knocks everything off course, upending our reality, throwing comfort zones we didn’t even know we had all out of whack.

In times of crisis, it isn’t just the stress that challenges us. We can also find ourselves more tired than usual, losing interest in hobbies and pastimes, struggling to find moments of joy or relaxation, confronted with inner gremlins we thought we’d banished, and even butting heads with the people around us more than usual.

Whether these challenges are happening in our personal or professional spheres (or both), those struggles will spill over into all over areas. This is why leadership coaching takes a holistic approach, meaning we look at the whole picture, get clarity on everything that’s going on, ask tough questions, and work to strengthen the organization by first strengthening the people within it.


How Does Leadership Coaching Guide You Through a Crisis?

Here are 7 ways leadership coaching guides you through a crisis:

1. Creating Clarity

Crises typically bring tsunamis of urgent details that, as a leader, demand your immediate attention. It can feel impossible to see the forest for the trees. But, if you aren’t keeping your focus on the big picture, you risk knocking things off course just trying to stay on top of the daily emergencies, and that’s how companies end up face-to-face with a whole new crisis after the first one has passed – the crisis of having to recover!

A leadership coach will guide you back to clarity, keep you focused on big picture outcomes and corporate values, and arm you with strategies to ensure the urgent decisions you make today are aligned with what you want to create in the future. This is how organizations emerge from crisis even stronger, and even better placed to succeed.

2. Developing Strategic Flexibility

Crises force change. To succeed, leaders must be prepared to work with that change, not against it. This can mean adapting schedules, redirecting efforts, reorganizing teams, providing smaller or different challenges, reimagining how you communicate and so on. 

A leadership coach will guide you to ask the right questions, notice everything that’s going on in the moment and, most importantly, to learn to dance with the moment.

What does it mean to dance with the moment? It means assessing the situation with calmness and clarity, being open to everything that’s possible, and making decisions that respect the moment and the people within that moment, while staying aligned with future objectives.

3. Strengthening Engagement

In times of crisis, engagement can be driven by connection and a sense of shared purpose. Especially if people are suddenly working remoting, physically distanced from the office and their teams. They need, more than ever, to feel that they are a part of something, that their contribution is valued, and that their humanity is honoured.

Creating the type of connection and purpose that truly engages people requires a whole new approach and a great deal of courage. A leadership coach will help you develop tools to better connect with people, to design new strategies, and to adjust those strategies as needed based on results so that you can build the type of engagement that doesn’t just get you through the crisis, but has your organization emerging even stronger than before.

4. Boosting Productivity by Redirecting Energy

In times of crisis, everyone can feel rattled, uncertain, nervous for the future and overwhelmed by the present. Effective leaders know to lean into that.

You can’t control how people feel anymore than you can control the circumstances around them. What you can do is get real about your own feelings and circumstances. You can speak openly about what’s going on and create a safe space for others to be open about what they’re experiencing.

When that happens, those masks of “professionalism” come down. But… don’t we want professionalism? What you want is people directing as much energy as possible into their work. Holding up a persona of professionalism takes energy on a good day. Add in a crisis and keeping that mask up becomes exhausting.

Now, you probably already know that if you just tell people they can share their feelings, they’re not going to. If you really want people to drop those masks so they can redirect their energy, you need to blaze the trail! Leadership coaching guides you through the inner work needed to build the courage and confidence to show up as your most real and vulnerable self, and the compassion to respond effectively to openness in others, so that you can all drop that massive weight.

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5. Leading Yourself First

At this point, you might be asking, “These are nice ideas, but how do I actually DO all of this?”

One of the most powerful roles of leadership coaching is guiding you to lead yourself. When you truly lead yourself – on the inside, not just the stuff other people see – that self-leadership ripples out. You are able to respond, rather than react. You meet challenges head on. You’re guided by clarity. And you show up for others in a way that empowers them to lead themselves.

A leadership coach works with you to really dig deep, asking tough questions and acting as a sounding board, helping you get clarity on your blind spots and build strong inner foundations that help you weather any storm.

6. Embracing Difficult Conversations

Whether in crisis time or any time, no one likes difficult conversations. You know the ones. The ones that make you inwardly cringe just thinking about them. But it is almost always those conversations that bust open the floodgates – in a good way – allowing everything to start moving forward.

Leadership coaching teaches you how to have these conversations effectively – by honouring the humanness of the people involved, leaning into vulnerability, establishing a sense of shared purpose, and co-creating solutions. These conversations don’t just solve issues at their core, they also help create cultures of trust and respect that empower engagement, productivity and collaboration.

Taking Control of Your Impact

7. Taking Control of Your Impact

In any situation, the only thing you ever truly control is how you show up and respond. This is your impact. It’s what you impart on others and it’s the driving force of leadership.

When you are driven by fear, anxiety and frustration, that is the impact you leave on others. They may be saying the “right” things outwardly, but inwardly they’re having a much different experience.

However, when you do the work to fully accept all emotions within you, they no longer have control over your impact. That’s when you can take full control. That’s when you can truly decide how you want to show up, what you want to create, and then put those decisions into action.

Leadership coaching guides you to connect inwardly so that you build the inner strength to take full control of your impact, empowering you to lead confidently and effectively, regardless of the circumstances around you.

With the right tools, guidance and mindset, a crisis truly can be an opportunity to strengthen and grow your organization, as well as the people within it. If you’re struggling with crisis leadership, or if you like to seize the possibilities to take yourself and your team to even greater heights, I can help. Connect with me to discuss the possibilities.