Covid 19 special – Transitioning out of lockdown
As more countries start to ease the current stay home restrictions and people take their first tentative steps towards life after lockdown, we look at what professional coaches can do to support people through the transition.
In the last blog, we looked at the different stages of change, where we normally move from the current state to a future state. However, our experience of covid 19 so far, has been an imposed change where we had to quickly adapt to social distancing and the stay home restrictions. But we now have the opportunity to take control of the transition out of lockdown and use this information to support friends and family, or clients during this difficult time.
We also hope this transition phase will be a lot easier to manage, as it’s something most of us want and now feel ready for. However, some do still need to follow specific advice and social distance due to their age or health.
For everybody else, it’s important to understand how they currently feel and explore what they are comfortable doing as the changes to lockdown are announced. A good coach can help with this process and explore the range of future options by talking about different scenarios now and how they make the individual feel. This can be going out to the shops, travelling on public transport, going into work, visiting family and friends or going on holiday. By talking through these different types of activities, they will hopefully feel better prepared and in control when those options are available.
As this may be the first time some of the people you talk to are discussing how they feel about covid 19, it’s important to create an environment where you:
- Encourage – to get them out of their comfort zone and explore new behavior
- Empower – to enable them to find their own solution
- Stimulate – their personal and professional development
In our coaching manual we suggest using a two stage approach to this type of conversation:
Stage One – The initial questions
Ask open questions about covid 19 and their experiences so far, as it helps you quickly understand how they are currently feeling. Make a note of any recurring themes or topics they return to, as you may want to explore these in more detail.
Step two – Getting to the detail
Review your notes and play back what you heard to check you captured everything. Now ask some follow up questions to explore the detail behind the answers they initially gave and get them to make a list of any positive experiences they can think of. Some examples may include:
- Extra time with family
- Trying new things or starting new hobbies
- New ways of working and using technology to stay connected
- Listening to bird song and seeing more wildlife
- Improvements to air quality
Then ask them to make a list of any negative thoughts, so you can explore where these feelings are coming from and what the triggers are. The aim is to try to remove negative associations and focus on the things that make them feel happy or positive.
And remember, everybody will react differently, so it’s important to explore the topics and themes when you talk to them again and see if they are feeling more in control of their transition out of lockdown or less worried about the current global pandemic.
Many of us will also be finding the current situation difficult to understand or navigate, so try not to let your own experiences interfere with what you are hearing during your coaching sessions. However some level of empathy will normally help you connect with what is being said.
We really hope you find this series of special blogs helpful and will use these ideas, together with your own skills and knowledge to support each other and your clients. But as we don’t know what the future holds, or how our family or businesses will cope, we plan to use this time to focus on staying positive and share that energy with the people around us.
And where possible, we try to follow our own advice for managing stressful situations like this and live a healthy life, so we always have the energy we need. So we want to encourage you to do the same and get out to exercise, use meditation and mindfulness, get plenty of sleep, stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet, so you can build resilience and take the transition out of lockdown one day at a time.
We are constantly adding content to the site, so please check our on-line shop or read some of the other blog posts written by our team of international coaches.
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