It's been nearly 1½ years since the first reported outbreak of Covid-19 in Wuhan, China. Some are calling 2020 "The Lost Year." Who knew we would become so familiar with words and phrases like quarantine, pandemic, flattening the curve, and isolation. That Instacart, Grubhub, Zoom would become as much necessity as they are privileges. Or that our newest and greatest fashion accessory would be a mask. I had a friend say to me,
"When I watched post-apocalyptic movies and everyone was wearing masks, I thought the pollution will be really bad in the future. Never did I think pandemic!"
Whatever Covid-19 was for you, we can at least empathize with others who suffered greatly and lost loved ones. And to those who made it out alive and well, can count ourselves lucky.
That being said, unprecedented times can't remain that way forever, at some point we adapt, vaccinate, and go back out into the world.
Unless your quarantine involved hiding in a bunker with no contact to the outside world, you are aware the world is rapidly transitioning back to "normalcy," or the "newest normal," as people have been lining up for their COVID-19 Vaccination Shots, whether it be one shot or 2 (the second one is a little rough but worth the freedom), Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J, America is becoming inoculated and herd immunity is in our sights.
As it stands today, almost 50% of citizens in the U.S. have received at least one vaccine dose!
-Mathieu, E., Ritchie, H., Ortiz-Ospina, E. et al. A global database of COVID-19 vaccinations. Nat Hum Behav (2021)
And just as it would seem we have adjusted to the New Normal we are now talking about reintegration
Are you ready?
This week's CLCI Live tackles the anxieties and concerns around re-socializing after a lockdown. We talk with Lisa Finck (A.C.C.), Brooke Adair Walters (M.C.P.C.), Jerome LeDuff Jr (M.C.L.C.), and, yours truly, Anthony Lopez (M.C.L.C) about what it means for us as people and coaches to become in-person again and how we can smoothly transition back into the world post-pandemic.
Eek, I've Never Coached In Person Before!
Since going virtual, CLCI has had hundreds of graduates who have only ever coached virtually.
That's what they know, what would be unprecedented would be coaching in person or marketing in a non-digital realm.
Sure, there are lots of things we got comfortable with during the pandemic. Having the perfect excuse to avoid family reunions, not having to commute, not counting our steps, or having meetings dressed for bed from the waist down.
But now that we are moving from live on Zoom to in the flesh, some coaches may want to move out of the comfort of their virtual background of an office and into the unknown of an actual office.
Here are some benefits that in-person coaching can offer.
Dedicated Space & Boundaries
Whether you have an office, are out in public, or at home, the place where you coach becomes the coaching zone. Both you and your client can easily distinguish "out there" vs "in here" and can lead to a more focused, less distracted session.
Virtual coaching demands that extra care be taken to establish boundaries and not let distractions at home take the forefront.
Old School Cool
Sometimes technology can be a pain in the butt. Internet is slow, Zoom calls drop, hard drives explode (rarely). Sitting down with pen & pad can be refreshingly simple and can help you as a coach be more focused on the client and get to the bare bones of what coaching is, conversation.
The Local Market
One of the greatest affordances of coaching virtually is the access to pretty much any client anywhere in the world.
But perhaps you've found your niche is coaching those locally.
You could be a...
Teacher coach for your local school district
Coach for local government and professional development
Parenting coach who has access to a large network of local parents
Business coach who is part of the local chamber of commerce
The list goes on. And your local clients may want to become virtual clients in the future, but by flexing into coaching in person you open yourself to new possibilities that you maybe weren't aware of during the pandemic.
Oh No! My Client Is Panicking!
Regardless if you coach virtually or in person, your clients may struggle with the transition to back the "norm." Whatever that may look like.
Clients may feel awkward talking to people face to face, they may feel like they have forgotten how to interact without looking like a weirdo, they maybe excited to see people and have concern they might talk too much, they may have anxiety about gathering in groups of more than 10 people, eating inside etc. There is a wealth of possible concerns your client's may have around getting out after being locked in.
As a coach you can assist your clients in creating a plan for reintegration that works for them.
How can we do this?
Allow the client to own their feelings.
Assisting them with creating a realistic and comfortable plan of action
Explore other angles or perspectives with your client? Cartesian Logic & SWOT are excellent tools for these moments.
Partner with your client in removing blocks and limiting beliefs that may be keeping them from getting out amongst the living
Encourage a healthy support system. The coach is only one small part of a person's support system. Having the client identify and allow for other people to be a part of the process will help to see tremendous results.
Validate them and remind them that being a little nervous is normal.
As an empathy building exercise in regards to the end of the pandemic, ask yourself:
What are you looking forward to?
What are you dreading?
What new things did you learn?
What did you take for granted?
What was outside/inside your control?
How can I challenge my perspective on the pandemic?
Also remember not socializing can be just as detrimental to our mental and physical health as a pandemic. Check out this article from the CDC on how social isolation is linked to serious health conditions, or this article from Medical News Today about the benefits of socialization.
We hope you all have a smooth transition back into the world post-quarantine and we expect to see you out there coaching, whether it be virtually or in person
Lisa Finck, Brooke Adair Walters, Jerome LeDuff Jr., and Anthony Lopez
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