Communication skills coaching will be even more important in a post-coronavirus business world; especially for leaders.
The global business landscape has already seen significant change. When we emerge from the grip of the coronavirus pandemic, many of the changes we have begun to adapt to will be permanent.
The ability to communicate effectively has always been the foundation for success in business and leadership.
If you were ever in any doubt as to the far-reaching effects of communication skills you only have to reflect on the last 6 months.
It’s not just politicians who have come under immense scrutiny over the pandemic, finding themselves lauded or chastised; business leaders have also been at the fore.
Each of us has faced our own personal and professional challenges as a result of the pandemic. Think about how you have managed to cope through such a precarious time. If you consider the anxiety many of us have faced, it’s likely that the extent to which you were able to cope revolved around communication in:
– The way your organisation and boss communicated with you. If you’re the boss then how have you communicated with the rest of your organisation?
– The guidance, reassurance and support you heard from the Government.
– The conversations you have with your own family and friends over the crisis.
– The conversations you have had with yourself; that inner voice we call self-talk.
Many of the principles of Mindful Presenting will prepare you for the post-coronavirus world as the landscape of leadership continues to change. Here are 4 transformational principles that will serve you remarkably well as we progress rapidly through the ‘new normal’.
Principle 1 – Self-awareness
In an article written in Harvard Business Review, author Tasha Eurich states that:
‘Research suggests that when we see ourselves clearly, we are more confident and more creative. We make sounder decisions, build stronger relationships, and communicate more effectively. We are better workers who get more promotions. And we’re more-effective leaders with more-satisfied employees and more-profitable companies.’
Seeing ourselves clearly isn’t easy without help, especially when it comes to the way we communicate. Communication skills coaching provides the ideal platform to develop that awareness. A great communication skills coach will help you to identify and understand:
– The distinction (if any) between how you see yourself as a communicator and how others see you.
– How you get your message across; clarity, relevance, impact.
– How you look, sound and connect with others emotionally.
– How you communicate with your inner voice.
Principle 2 – Emotional intelligence
In HR Magazine, author Jo Gallacher writes:
‘Hiring managers will need to start promoting and recruiting workers for their emotional intelligence, not just technical ability, as we move towards a post-coronavirus culture.’
A major component of emotional intelligence is self-awareness, although equally important is empathy. It requires us to have a heightened awareness of who we are speaking to. Imagine you are you audience; how would they feel? Perhaps, you’ve been asking that of the Prime Minister or your own boss over the last few months.
A high level of emotional intelligence in leadership has always been important. In the post- coronavirus culture, it is paramount; especially when we are communicating.
A really good communication skills coach will help you to identify and understand:
– How you see your audience and how you think they see you.
– How to craft and deliver a message that meets their needs, not just yours.
– What your audience want from you.
– How what you say and the way you say it makes your audience feel.
Principle 3 – Holism
I was recently coaching the marketing director of a very successful and influential brand; a very busy man.
The first question he asked me before we began the coaching session was:
‘What’s the one thing I need to know to be a world class presenter?’
My response was, ‘The one thing you need to know to be able to become a world class presenter is that there is a great deal more than one thing that you need to know’.
Like so many busy professionals, he was looking for the ‘hack’, the one tool, technique or gimmick that would be a game changer.
Most of us have spent much of our pre-Covid-19 lives looking for those across many different areas; that’s unlikely to change.
An excellent communication skills coach will guide you through the holistic approach to connecting with your audience. They will show you:
– The inseparable relationship of mind, body, voice and spirit.
– How to approach a presentation holistically aligning; each audience member, the organisation, culture, data, feelings and vision.
– How to present in a way that is strategic, focused and targeted.
– How to take your audience on a memorable journey.
Principle 4 – Humility
Each time we speak we have an impact on another human being. Everything we say and the way we say it always has an effect.
Having the necessary self-awareness and emotional intelligence to be able to appreciate the impact is vital but it requires humility too.
One of the major communications challenges the business world has faced for decades is the presenter’s ego. Highly intelligent, talented and responsible business professionals presenting with an intention of showing their audience:
– How much they know
– How hard they work
– How clever they are
Leaders aren’t exempt from this and whilst it’s human nature, things have changed. The truth is that they started to change long before Coronavirus knocked on our doors. The pandemic has accentuated so many areas of our lives that many of us took for granted.
A mindful communication skills coach will show you:
– How to be present to avoid making damaging assumptions and judgments.
– How to always put your audience first; in other words, leaving your ego at your desk.
– How to look for ways to be of service and make a difference.
– How to speak authentically.
These principles aren’t new, they have always been important. In the post coronavirus world, their prominence has been elevated considerably.
The coronavirus has severely jolted every aspect of the way we live and work. The ‘new normal’ seems to be the buzzword of the day.
When it comes to communication in the workplace, did the ‘old normal’ work?
Of course, to some degree.
Was there scope for improvement before the Coronavirus arrived on our shores?
Of course, everything can be improved.
We are living in times of change and one of my favourite quotes about change is from the late American author and philosopher, Eric Hoffer:
“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”
More than ever we need our leaders to be learners to equip us for this time of change.
Leaders will be relieving the anxiety of uncertainty by guiding and supporting teams into the new reality.
Doing so in the belief that you already have all of the communication skills to lead our teams effectively into the new reality is fine.
However, if there is any doubt, then you may be ‘beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.’
I wrote about the need for communication skills coaching some time ago in my article, ‘20 Reasons everyone needs presentation skills training’; although it wasn’t focused exclusively on leadership at the time. That was 4 years ago; today, leading in a post-coronavirus world, I believe it’s worth revisiting.
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