You may have been leading a virtual team prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Or not. In either situation, coaching your team has never been more important. While there are many potential coaching angles to explore for supporting your team’s performance and engagement, take these three actions now to coach your team:
Appreciate and understand – Let team members know, individually, what you appreciate about them. Team members need more than “good job” and “keep up the good work”. Be specific – mentoring a fellow team member, picking up tasks from someone challenged by current circumstances, being vulnerable with the team. You get the picture. And in each conversation, inquire about their situation, ask how they are feeling, and listen for support they could use. At this time, various team members could be fearful, stressed, apathetic, withdrawn, or unsure about themselves. Coaching conversations will take different paths depending on their mindset.
Leverage strengths – When we are using our strengths, we are generally operating and feeling at our best. In uncertain times, using strengths can help us find some sense of balance when so many things seem out of balance. Consider with your team members how they think they are using their strengths right now. Explore ways with each member how they can further leverage their individual strengths for personal satisfaction as wells as individual and team goal achievement.
Frequent, individual check-ins – With everything dynamic, it is important to check-in with each team member with regular frequency. While priorities are changing in your business, they are likely changing for your team members as well. Team meetings are important for sharing updates on priorities and expectations, but these meetings should be in addition to individual discussions with each team member. How can you work to flex expectations to align with changing priorities? Discuss achievability of the goals for each team member. This may not be the time for stretch goals. On the other hand, it may certainly be the case for other team members who have the mindset and opportunity to push their development. When a team member commits to a goal, empower them to achieve it. Get clear on what accountability looks like and coach to it.