Danielle Veira is the founder and CEO of Minerva’s Legacy Coaching & Consulting where she offers 1:1 coaching, retreats, workshops, and strategic communications consulting to clients across sectors.
Right now, layoffs are occurring across sectors nationwide and leaving organizations, teams, and leaders at every level to manage the lasting impact. When most people think about resources during times of mass layoffs, they usually think of separation packages with monetary compensation and healthcare coverage or employee wellness programs to support remaining staff in the aftermath. These are vitally important, but there is something else both employers and individuals should consider when navigating layoffs: coaching.
No matter what side of a layoff you end up on, it is both an emotional and professional trauma. If your position is spared and you keep your job, you might experience survivor’s remorse in addition to the inevitable increase in workload and uncertainty about your workstream and the future of the organization as a whole. If you’re let go, there is a very real grieving process you will go through on top of a possible loss of confidence, lack of clarity around your career trajectory, and pressure to find your next job. If you’re the person making the decisions around where necessary cuts will happen, you have the psychological weight of those choices and possibly even have to deliver the news to your colleagues.
Incorporating coaching into a suite of layoff resources does not have to be complex. It could take the form of a stipend and database of recommended coaches. It could be built into existing HR supports as an option for remaining employees struggling in the wake of the news and loss of their colleagues.
Focusing on the whole person
Coaching brings unique value to any scenario, whether in work or life, and it is particularly impactful in times of transition and trauma. A coach who focuses on coaching the whole person — even through professional uncertainty when it feels necessary to prioritize securing the next job — can help clients identify core values, strengths, and talents that could change their entire career trajectory for the better.
This is why many coaches are stepping up to design creative ways to offer their services to the thousands of individuals impacted by recent layoffs. Among the many examples is a diverse collective of coaches who came together through Consciously to offer pro bono coaching to leaders after the first round of layoffs in the tech sector earlier this year. Dozens of clients were intentionally paired with coaches who volunteered their services for 12-session engagements. Early reports from the coaches involved show promising results, not only as clients land new jobs, but also as they rebuild confidence and identify how they want their careers to layer into their broader vision for their lives.
Increased self-awareness, empathetic leadership, and clarity of purpose are invaluable traits in any leader—whether they are tasked with leading a team in the aftermath of a layoff or have to find a new position after being let go. Hopefully, as organizations think about the resources they provide to staff throughout the trauma of a mass layoff, they will consider how coaching can be a transformational benefit.