In this time of company layoffs and restructuring, I’ve been thinking about the value of coaching skills—both for those being let go and for those staying behind.
Depending on where you are in the world, and which company you work for, compensation packages and customs vary widely. In some cases, you may end up working for weeks or months after getting the news that you’ve been laid off.
If you’re in this situation, and you have access to coach training, take full advantage! With an uncertain future, you’ll want to get all the support that you can.
What’s more, through coach training, you also gain a significant skill set for your résumé, the job search and interview process, and your future roles. Because as was confirmed in my book about internal coaching, even if you’re not a designated internal coach, coaching skills are incredibly valuable for managers.
Job loss is loss
Aside from those career-related benefits, coaching can also provide an important source of emotional support for those facing layoffs. Many experts believe that we grieve job loss in similar ways that we grieve people and pets, as we pass through Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance).
There’s no set schedule for this process, nor we do necessarily pass through all stages in order or in a linear way. Feelings change from moment to moment and day to day.
Learning how to coach and be coached reinforces that we cannot fix these feelings. There’s nothing anyone can do or say, other than to just be present and listen without judgment, and maybe ask a question or two.
For those knowing they’re on the way out, it’s natural to be asking, “Why me?” Especially as they’re still actively working and engaging with the people who are staying behind (who are just as emphatically asking, “Why not me?”).
Taking time for self-care
Self-care is a fundamental part of coaching; it’s an entire module of our coach training program. Many people look for ways to practice self-care when they’re laid off, such as going on a vacation or retreat, or intentionally spending time with family and friends.
For others, it’s very difficult to take any time off. They feel like they should be pounding the pavement and getting right back to it, even when they have no idea what it is they’re going to do next.
It’s like they have a strong work ethic, often inherited from prior generations, but they don’t have a strong rest ethic. Yet as we’ve discussed many times, there is something integral about pausing to give ourselves space, especially after going through something as traumatic as job loss.
That way, when you’re ready to move on, you can fully integrate your skills, and the insights and intuition that you gained from that period of rest and self-reflection. You can show up in a good place.
Coaching skills are invaluable in job interviews, for example. Active listening, attention to body language and nonverbal communication, the ability to be fully present, and the curiosity to ask relevant and useful questions will all help you make a better impression and a deeper connection.