12 Tips for Coaching a Remote Workforce During This Black Swan Event: PART TWO

woman working from home



By Stephanie Monge-Sherman

While your leadership team may be in crisis mode and navigating the best decisions for your people and the business, management is pivoting their teams and adapting leadership styles to a remote workforce. As noted in Part One of this blog series, effective communication is crucial to coaching employees--but remote coaching strategies do not end there. A truly successful approach to remotely coaching a workforce also involves bolstering the mental vitality of your team for better productivity and overall happiness.
6 More Tips for Impactful Coaching Communication With Your Remote Workforce
See Part One

With this aim in mind, here are six additional suggestions for effectively coaching your workforce remotely:

7. Highlight what’s going well. It sometimes feels easier for us to focus on what is NOT going well; to dwell on things not getting accomplished as people adapt to a new workspace, processes, and technology. As a coach, it is imperative to recognize what IS going well, focus on sharing achievements and strive to provide kind and helpful feedback to your team members. This is an opportunity for you to motivate your team by offering frequent praise and encouragement. Tip: The more specific and detailed the feedback is, the more helpful it will be.

8. Be genuine. Share how you are being impacted by changes and COVID-19. Voice your concerns and allow yourself to be vulnerable--but still professional--with your team. This situation is unsettling and disruptive to be sure, but it is also an opportunity for you to be open and deepen the connection/rapport with your team.

9. Encourage self-development. This time may be slow in regards to workload with many barriers to work demands. Coach your team by encouraging them to further their professional development by reading, watch educational resources, taking self-development courses online and focusing on improving or building a new skill. There are a plethora of online resources that are now being offered at no cost. (E.g. Libby, Lynda.com, and TEDx programs.)

10. Be supportive. If your team is experiencing firsthand effects of this pandemic (family members being sick or losing their jobs) make sure to check in with them, letting them know you are there for them. We have all experienced someone reaching out to us with concern or doing something thoughtful during a difficult time. Remember how that made you feel. Showing compassion and caring for your team will help them feel secure and cared for. These nurturing, supportive feelings may even have a positive impact on their performance as a result.

11. Establish trust while being flexible. Working remotely provides work-life balance and flexibility but it can be a struggle for managing your team as leaders have less insight into their teams’ day-to-day tasks and workload. It’s easy to feel a loss of oversight while people work remotely. To help make this transition as seamless as possible, set expectations (as a team) about the cadence of communication, work hours, deadlines, and response times. However, be flexible to make exceptions and adjustments as needed. You need to trust your employees as professionals to get their work done.

12. Establish goals and deadlines. It is easy for your team to be distracted and to lose focus due to everything going on outside of work. To help keep your team remain focussed, hold them accountable. As mentioned above, it is important to establish goals. The goals should be set by employees where possible (increase their accountability), and should also follow S.M.A.R.T protocol: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based. At the very least, the goals should be specific and deadline aware.

While the COVID-19 pandemic is temporary, that doesn’t mean that the solutions you put in place to manage your remote workforce should be undeveloped. A solid plan built on proven strategies is your best course of action to maintain a happy and productive team and a healthy business.