By Joe Micallef on BankTalentHQ
It is a gross understatement to say that the coronavirus pandemic has significantly changed the way we work today. In fact, it has created a lot of work chaos.
Some essential service providers are still going to their place of work, but their daily routines have changed.
Some people are now working from home, struggling to create a daily routine and stay productive. And some, unfortunately, are not working at all.
Over the past few weeks, I have witnessed how Bankers and Finance Professionals have been navigating this new work terrain and it is fair to say that some have adapted better than others.
That’s not to say that they are not all working hard.
In fact, Bankers and Finance Professionals are working extremely hard. Over the past two weeks almost 1,500,000 loans totaling up to $349 billion have been approved (as at 4/16/2020) through the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program.
An incredible feat achieved under incredibly chaotic conditions – urgent deadlines, ambiguous guidelines, impatient applicants, concerned clients, long hours and enormous stress.
Thousands of business owners and millions of employees are extremely grateful for the tremendous work Bankers and Finance Workers have done saving them from their financial anxieties.
On behalf of all business owners let me say …
In speaking to Bank Leaders over the past two weeks, it is clear the institutions that were able to manage the chaos better, and continue to create highly positive experiences for their clients, were those that had an embedded coaching culture.
Unfortunately, the chaos caused by the coronavirus has given rise to some undesirable symptoms at some Banks:
• Lack of trust for those working from home.
• Lack of empathy when communicating to clients and staff.
• Lack of confidence in systems, processes, staff and management.
• An outbreak of blame and excuses.
• Lots of uncertainty about the future.
If these symptoms continue, the prognosis does not look good for a fast recovery or long term health.
To prevent these symptoms and cure the coronavirus chaos, I strongly encourage all financial institutions (and businesses) to consider how they can better implement a coaching culture.
I understand that you are all trying to survive right now … but there is no reason that Leaders cannot continue (or start) to provide formal coaching and training that can help you thrive … now and after the economy re-opens.
Banks with an embedded coaching culture have been able to:
• Manage changes more effectively through continued training
• Consistently motivate staff and maintain a positive mindset
• Achieve great productivity from staff working at home without micro-managing
• Proactively engage their clients and maintain high service standards
• Better manage expectations and more easily align efforts
Without a coaching culture, you are simply relying on experience and enthusiasm … and both are susceptible to fatigue (and loss) without consistent guidance and support.
Every sporting team can lift their performance during the pressure-filled Playoffs, but can they sustain that every game. No matter how experienced or enthusiastic their players, they need constant coaching if they want to better manage the pressure and ultimately win the Championship.
Some simple things Leaders can do right now to implement a more effective coaching culture:
• Schedule a formal weekly coaching session that focuses on personal development (soft skills) – rather than processes and/or products.
• Agree on desired and reasonable weekly outcomes. Formally review once a week.
• Regularly check-in on how your staff are feeling (NOT what they are producing) and offer support. Praise their efforts.
• Lead by example and share your own outcomes. Inspire confidence but also share your vulnerabilities. Explore solutions together to help overcome common any challenges.
Yes, the coronavirus has unleashed some terrible chaos in our world and our working environment, but in order to avoid any further chaos I encourage all Leaders to review their culture and ensure that they are consistently engaging, enlightening and energizing their staff (and clients) NOW more than ever.
The key then is to maintain that culture as we emerge out of this crisis. What seems like a necessity now, will become your advantage later.