We’re in a time of mass reorganization and layoffs at companies large and small, all over the world. In a previous post, we explored the impact of coaching skills for someone who’s been laid off and is facing an uncertain future.
Now, let’s talk about those who were spared the cuts and are left behind. They face an entirely different set of possible challenges:
- Increased workload, since there are now fewer people to do the same amount of work.
- New teammates, due to restructuring, merging, or paring down departments.
- Change in role, including what might feel like a demotion; or the opposite, being placed into a supervisory role without adequate training or preparation.
- Grief: People they’ve built strong professional relationships with have left or will be leaving.
- Guilt: Why wasn’t I let go? Why am I still here?
- Fear and uncertainty: Will I be next? How long until I am let go? Does my performance even matter?
- Isolation, and feeling like they can’t speak to anyone about these concerns and feelings.
So, how can coaching skills help on this side of the equation? Let’s imagine the scenario where layoffs have been announced, but the compensation package requires people to stay in their positions for a period of weeks or months.
For those who weren’t laid off, coaching skills equip them to just be with their colleagues who will be leaving, without trying to fix them.
What about dealing with their own feelings and their own new workload and responsibilities? I’ve observed people doing a lot of self-coaching in these situations. Instead of letting themselves go into panic mode, they’re asking important questions:
- What do I want to do with this new opportunity? How do I want to step into this new role or this new reality? How do I show up at my best? What’s important to me in terms of my performance?
- How does my current situation fit into my short-term and long-term career goals? Does it fit with my vision of what I want?
- What would I do if I were let go and were forced to take that jump? What do I really want to do?
All these question reinforce a sense of intrinsic or internal motivation, rather than trying to predict or meet external criteria of success. And in an environment where layoffs are unpredictable and unexplainable, this is key.
If you have no idea how the decisions to layoff or restructure were made, it’s almost freeing, because you don’t have to worry about performing to a certain level or pleasing the powers that be because you know that even if you do, you could still get laid off. So determine what’s important to you for your own career.
As we wrap up this two-part post about coaching skills for a post-layoff world, I’m left wondering what difference coaching could make with the decision makers behind a company’s reorganization.
I’d love to ask questions like:
- What do your employees really need during this major reorganization?
- What would be most helpful for them?
- How can you include them in this process?
Coaches, what would you ask? Please email your ideas or add them to our social media posts about this topic.