Recalculating Opportunities for Clients in the New World Of Work*

Posted On: May 19, 2021

 I’m super excited to share a presentation entitled Recalculating Career Opportunities for Clients. This was a panel discussion that I took part in with Lisa Hecht and Stephanie Renk as part of the International Coaching Federation (ICF) International Coaching Week (ICW) 2020 through the ICF High Country Chapter. 

I am excited to share that this is my first official ICF recorded presentation where I have presented. I feel so blessed to have had this first opportunity with Lisa and Stephanie. We were all supportive cheerleaders for each other throughout this process. It was indeed a pleasure and good learning experience to collaborate with them. 

Below you will find the recording of our presentation along with the transcript of my part of the presentation. Follow after the transcript for Lisa’s and Stephanie’s bios, including website links. 

See the video on YouTube

Don’t forget to subscribe to ICF High Country’s Channel!

Jennifer’s Transcript

ICF presentation

Thanks, Stephanie. Welcome, everyone. I was on mute, I’m sorry about that. That happens nowadays. All right. So welcome, everyone. We are so happy that you had time to spend with us today, people from all over the world across time zones. That’s another way that we’re recalculating our opportunities in this new world of work.

So thank you so much, Lisa and Stephanie, for providing the groundwork for this entire discussion, which I’ll be building on. Here we’re talking about how to network, initiate, nourish, maintain our relationships once we actually land that job or if we’ve had a long time employment, how to do that now that we might be rethinking how to do that. So I think we can move to the first slide here. 

In my presentation, I’d like to have some interaction in the chatbox. We may or may not get to everyone’s input. I would like to ask you to think about if you’re a coach, what do our clients miss about going to the office or if you’re not a coach, what do you miss about going to an actual office as you’re thinking about some of these questions or answers, also think if you’re a coach, how do we coach people about this? I’m going to ask you about coaching questions momentarily as well. So as people are putting…. awesome.. insight into the chat box, if we could move to the next slide, please. 

I have a list of the top 10 that I have gathered from my clients, coaching leaders and other professionals on global virtual teams, some of these would be what you have mentioned. Of course, I’m not going to have enough time to address all of these, but definitely the ones on the right side in red. So when we talk about shorter breaks, it’s not that people actually miss shorter breaks. It’s kind of a misnomer there. They miss breaks in general between meetings. If there’s a term that has become commonplace in the last year, much more so than before, is “hard stop.” I think people are actually getting sick of that term because it comes up right in the beginning of a meeting sometimes, which makes some people feel really anxious that they’re not going to have enough time to share, they’re not going to have enough time to analyze what’s being said or participate properly. So a lot of the leaders I coach actually mentioned they feel working from home, especially since the pandemic feels a lot more rushed, sitting in the same chair, in the same room all day. We don’t even have a chance to move to another room, even going to the restroom. You know, these practical things become a big challenge. Like some some people mentioned, they don’t even want to have water because they feel like, “OK, I know I’m going to have meeting after meeting, and if I have water, we know what’s going to happen after that. I can’t move my chair all day, which means I can’t also context with…..”

Yes, Lisa, I also keep water here. We can’t context switch as much or it’s as easy to contact switch. So there’s other solutions to that I’ll be talking about momentarily as well as people don’t really have the time to really just decompress or analyze or compartmentalize what they’ve just heard. And then they’re going to a completely different topic, a different meeting with a different set of people. And it’s just very overwhelming. And as I coach leaders and other professionals, they also mentioned the second point here. In fact, one leader actually was pretty loquacious in his story when he said one of the things he missed most was walking into his team’s space in the office. And he gave a great visualization of the synergy, how some people, especially those who might not be as vocal, would still be able to brainstorm and analyze things with their colleagues because those same colleagues would be moving through the office throughout the day and then kind of realizing someone’s stuck, stuck at whatever they’re doing. So they would reach out and ask, do you want to have a discussion? Would you like to brainstorm? I can help you out. These things are missing and it’s not as easy to understand when people need help. We have to really listen to their nonverbal signals during a meeting, which can be a little bit challenging, especially if we only have audio to rely on.

But because we are having all these meetings online, including this one, people do feel that they need to be online all day. They have this… they feel compelled that I must be online and I can’t miss anything. And they have a zillion different platforms. Most of the professionals I coach have a minimum of ten to fifteen platforms they’re using in a day. So there’s Zoom fatigue, there’s digital overload. It’s a real thing.

So as we think about this and thank you for sharing in the chat box, I hope most of what I mentioned was either on the slide or referred to what you had said. I think we can move to the next slide.

Now it’s time to think about the coaching questions. What kind of coaching questions can we ask our clients who are trying to build relationships within their team or organization? And as we think about some of these questions and maybe how they might how that conversation might unfold, we can even look at the next slide to see some of the top questions that I’ve kind of used.

Obviously, this list is not exhaustive, but some of these questions are a good starting point to really building a conversation around how people would like to see themself in the new world of work as they’re recalculating how to build relationships or encourage relationship building in their own environment.

And I know as listening to someone talk, it might not be so easy to think of some of these questions so you can pop them in the chatbox any time from now to the end of the session. So I think we can move to the next slide.

Some here are some points that come from, say, the culmination or conclusion of the conversations that were initiated by some of those questions. Now, since some leaders and some professionals mentioned they only have meetings, they don’t have time for anything else during the day, they need to fit socialization, networking, casual talk, small talk, whatever you want to call it, into the actual meeting. So it’s an intentional process here. They might try to use Zoom if they’re not using Zoom. Zoom seems to be the best one for breakout rooms. So kind of have a breakout room session either in the beginning or the middle of the session. Have people go in, in pairs and just they don’t have to talk about anything business. They could talk about whatever they want or nothing. They just want to be quiet for a minute and take a load off, that’s great, too. Now, one of the leaders I was coaching as we were discussing it said, “What if I do it at the middle- middle in the middle of the meeting? What will happen? Will people lose their focus?” He was worried about that, but he tried it out and he was surprised to find out that actually people just got to relax for a minute in the middle of the meeting, kind of download what they were in the middle of discussing. And they had time to kind of process that. So when they came back into the meeting, they were kind of refreshed. So in some cases, it tends to work out really well. And because of that, it’s important to set the culture in the meetings itself whenever possible. I think we can move to the next, which is how to actually encourage the socialization, within the larger company. 

Point number one, is similar to the previous, but it’s different in the sense that I mostly coach leaders and professionals in startup companies. Some of this may not work in larger companies. So let’s say they decided we will have a log-in time between nine a.m. and five p.m. So they’ll kind of keep one platform open for people to kind of come in and say hi or I need help with something or how is your day going or someone want to meet for virtual coffee break or something like that. Like when we go to an actual office, what hap what happens? We don’t start work immediately. Who does that? Right. They go to the restroom, go to the coffee… coffee machine, do a whole bunch of things, talk to people, sit at their desk, take time to turn on the computer. So they’re kind of trying to use that… that same buffer zone, but in a virtual setting. And it has worked for some teams in some companies I’ve coached.

Point number two, again, a four-day work week has been implemented with some of the clients I coach. They justify this by saying since people are working longer hours during the week, they can have one day off and it’s kind of on a rotational basis, like some people might have Monday, some people might have Wednesday, etc., or rotational weeks off. So let’s say there’s a team of six or seven people every six or seven weeks one person takes an entire week off. No logging in, no digital, anything for work, anyway, for that whole week. And I’ve actually worked with companies that have that implemented and it worked well for them. 

To build off of what Stephanie mentioned, LinkedIn. Some of my clients have created courses which they’ve opened to the public to teach about certain concepts that they use in their office or they partnered with universities, or as Stephanie mentioned, people shared their accomplishments and then others from the same company coming in kind of wish them good luck. So in larger companies, this tends to be a really nice way for people to show their support to each other and be visible.

And lastly, if we can go to the last slide, the culture shifts. Whenever possible, try to set up all the processes in advance. We weren’t able to do this last year, obviously, when we were suddenly thrusted into, stay at home, work from home. But now as we’re evolving through the process, new ideas come up, new ways of doing things as we recalculate these opportunities. So as something is kind of set up or thought about, try to onboard people to that. So that’s folding into point number three here on board some of your or all of your teams into what is the new expected normal and how they can actually do it.

And best practice would say don’t have this as an announcement where people sit there and fall asleep and listen to one person talk for one hour. They won’t do it. They’ll hate it. Try to make that onboarding similar to what you’re expecting in an actual culture shift. It takes a creative approach, but we’ve seen some great results from this.

So I hope these ideas have given you some food for thought, and I think this concludes our presentation, and I know there’s some questions on the deck so we can turn that over to Stacy. Oh, you might be. Thank you, Jennifer.

For a more detailed discussion on improving your visibility while working from home, jump on over to this post where you can listen to a webinar by Jinesh Narayanankutty, Brent Edwards and I back in May 2020.

ICF ICW 2021 Panel Discussion

Stephanie’s Bio and Website Link

Stephanie is the founder and co-owner of Idaho Next Steps Coaching, helping job seekers define their career goals, build career marketing portfolios, and prepare for interviews to land the job they want with confidence. Since the beginning of her career, she has supported veterans, professionals, students, and colleagues to obtain their goals by providing guidance and resources through every step of their journey. Stephanie is a certified professional career coach and resume writer through the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PARWCC).

Lisa’s Bio and Website Link

Lisa Hecht is an ICF-Credentialed Career Coach who helps young professionals and those in transition to find their best-fit, next-step jobs, careers or callings. She combines learning from her 32-year career at Hewlett Packard with Positive Psychology, career/calling assessments and tools, and the science of goals and motivation, to help clients discover their unique advantages and apply them to move into their next careers, all with a good dose of humor and warmth!

Of course, if you are looking to build your remote/work from home culture with your distributed, virtual teams between the US and India, contact Jennifer here.

Please excuse grammatical errors in the transcript of the spoken video script.

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