The last year has brought massive change and uncertainty: lives lost, familiar routines gone, loss of personal contact, new working practices. After many false dawns it looks like we might finally be near the end of the pandemic, at least in the UK. But COVID has been a trauma for the nation. Rather than just bouncing back, I suspect that we will suffer a kind of collective PTSD.
In the world of employment this trauma has been exacerbated by restructuring, role change and redundancy. All of this, combined with ‘Covexit’ will likely increase feelings of anxiety and insecurity just at a time when employees need to feel pro-active and resilient. So how can outplacement coaching help people to rebuild their confidence and self-belief as they start to grapple with the possibility of redundancy, career change or early retirement?
The Big Questions
The effects of the pandemic and several lockdowns have upended people’s lives and given them time – perhaps too much time – to take stock and ask themselves some Big Questions. Work-related questions may include:
- I’m hearing about another restructuring at work. What happens if I have to compete with colleagues for my job when I don’t feel I have much to offer?
- Supposing I get made redundant when furlough ends – how does anyone go about finding a new job nowadays? How can I make my rubbish CV look more impressive?
- Maybe it’s the effect of lockdown but I’m not sure this is the career I want. Redundancy might be the jolt I need – but how do I decide what’s really right for me?
- I don’t like working from home but I’ve reorganised the spare room and got to grips with the Teams software now. Plus it’s easier for doing the school run and keeping an eye on my elderly mother. Do I really want to go back to the office?
- I’ve found this last year exhausting. Sitting in a bedsit on my own day after day has taken its toll on my mental health and I was off for a month with COVID. How do I get my mojo back?
The trauma of the pandemic is also causing people to ask themselves more fundamental questions. For example:
- How and where do I want to live? I’m disillusioned with city life and need to be nearer to nature but is this the right time to make a move?
- Am I arguing with my partner because of the pressures of living in a goldfish bowl or have we run out of steam? Which friends will I ‘go back to’?
- This pandemic has made me realise that nothing is for ever, that life is fragile. I’d like to be doing something where I can ‘make a difference’ now. Or maybe I can live on less money, retire earlier than I thought and do some charity work?
How outplacement coaching can help
Outplacement coaching provides benefits for both employers and employees
HR and line managers may be dealing with their own challenges, yet it is important that they think about how to support staff. Outplacement coaching nearly always proves beneficial for the coachee. It also provides clear business benefits. An efficient workforce needs to have high morale, clarity of direction and strong motivation so that the organisation can achieve its goals. If staff are feeling demoralised and fearful they may spread rumours and bad news within their teams. Whereas if they feel supported and hopeful about the future they are more likely to be ‘on-side’, to share positive experiences in their next role and be more willing to return in the future, if needed. And the organisation can brand itself as one that cares for the wellbeing of its staff and helps them achieve their potential.
How does Outplacement Coaching help boost confidence?
A professional outplacement coach provides a ‘safe space’ where an employee can review their current situation, think about what they really want, explore options for moving forward and make a plan to get there.
Here are some outcomes you could expect from outplacement coaching:
Coaching as part of a Redundancy Package
- Moving from confusion and lack of self-belief to increased confidence and a problem-solving mind-set
- Identification and ‘ownership’ of transferable skills, feeling proud of successes
- A shiny, new CV with a clear and convincing profile and quantified deliverables
- Enhanced interview skills – the client is able to ‘sell’ themselves and show how they are a good fit for a new role
- Knowledge about how to carry out a job search and the confidence to create and pursue new opportunities
Career transition coaching
- An analysis of the client’s current situation – finances, transferable skills, options to retrain, psychological readiness for a big transition
- A plan for exploration and research, learning and experimentation including pros and cons of previous roles
- An awareness of the importance of networking and the ability to make connections, initiate conversations and gain information, ideas, leads and new opportunities
- Ideally, the client creates a clear picture of what they are looking for, although this can take time. As the ‘elevator pitch’ evolves, they design a career change action plan with realistic steps and timescales
- Time and space to let go of their identify as a working person and to process feelings around a change in status and lifestyle
- Exploration of new possibilities including part time work, volunteering, new friends, hobbies and interests
- An action plan for leaving the current work-place gracefully and creating a different life
Outplacement Coaching and Confidence – Summary
The pandemic has shaken our society and brought about an array of changes in our working lives. It’s likely that the trauma of COVID will be followed by a kind of collective PTSD that saps self-confidence and belief in the future. Talking certainly helps and those with supportive friends and family may gain reassurance from this. But often ‘nearest and dearest’ have their own worries or preconceived ideas about how you should live your life. A trained coach will provide objective, professional input, ask searching questions, help you build on your strengths and acknowledge your successes. And knowing that you are accountable to someone else is a great incentive to get on with things.
Outplacement coaching is a great way to support your organisation following restructuring. It will give your employees the confidence to achieve their post-pandemic career goals, whether that’s finding a new role, changing career or easing into a satisfying retirement.