How I have been able to open up my business during lockdown.
When it comes to being engaged by clients to provide leadership development and coaching, timing is everything.
I have a suite of products that fulfil the different development needs a business has. I work hard to develop and maintain my connections with decision makers, so that the people I know, have a trusted supplier to turn to when leadership and coaching programmes are needed. I work with groups in a room, present to audiences as well as coach individuals.
When lockdown came, the group work and speaking engagement projects that I had booked in were either postponed or re-arranged (perhaps optimistically) for the Autumn.
The coaching and mentoring side of my practice has been less affected. I have individual clients who I work with (based domestically and overseas) and frequently use video or phone to run these sessions, which has continued and remains effective.
My businesses response to lockdown
As lockdown became a reality, I watched with interest my peers take to social media to remind their followers of their expertise, and give tips on how to get through this period unprecedented uncertainty. Tempting though it was to ‘copy and compete,’ for me, I felt my focus needed to be on my actual clients and how I could help them.
Creating a series of free to access webinars
I started to think about what support I could offer clients that would be relevant and timely for this situation? My work with leaders and my NeuroCoaching draws on neuroscience and particularly how the brain works (or doesn’t) under real or perceived pressure. Covid 19, lockdown, working from home, staff furloughing, business and personal income and expenditure worries, health and safety in general, all clearly created multiple layers of pressure for many of us.
This thinking time helped me realise that staying calm in pressure situations is a key skill for leaders and business owners at this time. The ability to make big decisions is impacted by how we think when things happen and the reaction that causes. ‘Dialling down fear and stress responses’, was the theme that I chose to focus on.
I wanted to make something available quickly. I wrote to all my clients inviting them to a webinar in March/April 2020. A ‘Dialling down fear and stress responses’ online event to:
- Heighten awareness of what to look out for in yourself and others
- Understand the neuroscience of fear and stress responses
- Share some tips and brain hacks to keep or regain your brain’s calmness, so you can work well under pressure.
I was delighted with the response, with a number coming back positively almost immediately to take up the offer.
The webinars have reached around seven hundred people from multiple countries (India, Italy, Spain Germany, Ireland as well as the UK). I have had business execs, leaders, managers, and non-managers in my audiences. The sessions have been adapted and grown. Originally, I intended to have small groups, mainly, for my comfort with working in this way (the shift from coaching online to workshops online).
Adapting to meet the needs of different organisations led to larger audiences (in the hundreds) for some sessions. I needed to address my own ‘tech fears’ and request IT support from the organisations that I engaged with. For those that wanted, I have recorded podcast interviews and videocasts which have been launched and added to client’s in-house business learning platforms.
What I have learnt?
- The value of me not trying to ‘sell’ but to support clients at a time when budgets are tight and the future ambiguous, has been really appreciated. The feedback from attendees has also shown that the content and tips where relevant and actionable whether working from home or when back in the workplace.
- Lockdown has given me opportunities to connect and strengthen my relationships with my clients, to take bolder steps into the world of webinars and be even more agile in how I can shift and adapt to fit with my client’s needs. They have seen me demonstrate new areas of expertise and to share with them the beneficial experience of learning and development through the medium of webinars.
To learn more about Dominique’s services and how she can help businesses as they adjust to a new way of working email: email@example.com