"What the coaches say..." about how to help people navigate the crisis" (2020)

Elizabeth McCourt

"What the coaches say..." about how to help people navigate the crisis"

“What the coaches say…” is a collaborative effort of our team of global coaches who work with clients around the world to share what we’re learning and experiencing.


Like you, we’ve been talking, reading and experiencing a large volume of information about leadership in crisis. The Covid-19 pandemic is leveling, because it has an impact on everyone in the world, race, gender, orientation and age aside. We can be moved by stories, angered by actions and saddened by the loss of life and livelihood. What we can learn from each other during this time truly inspired this blog and I’m grateful to be able to share these words with the hope they inspire you too.


What is a suggestion to help people to navigate this crisis?


Manfred Barth, Germany

A long time ago, I worked for a German Chinese Joint Venture in Beijing and during the Tian An Men massacre. Our General Manager started each day with an all-hands meeting and gave everyone a chance to speak with no agenda, no actions, no solutions, just an opportunity to be heard. We felt relieved, balanced, energised and ready to go to work.


Betina Rama, Argentina

Reach out to somebody that you appreciate and admire and let them know how you feel. Speak with somebody with whom you can share your tears and fears.


Ann Houston Kelly, Oregon, USA

You need to be sleeping, eating well, exercising some (preferably outdoors) and making sure that your family is safe and well. Focus on what’s most important for the organisation and its key stakeholders. Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever, is currently directing his company from his home in Scotland. He continues to keep the focus on four guiding principles: look after people; look after supply; look after demand; and, look after cash. 


Frank Manesse, Belgium

Try to apply many “RE-practices,” such as: RE-consider, RE-think, RE-feel, RE-design, RE-develop, RE-invent, RE-start, RE-do, RE-furnish, RE-time, RE-paint, RE-draw, RE-love and most importantly, REFLECT.


Jean-Claude Noel, New York City, USA

Self-care during this time is essential. Try to keep a routine in addition to staying active, getting enough rest and paying attention to people in your life.


Margot Schumacher, Holland

Many non-executive board members are seeing their companies in crisis-mode where sales may have dropped significantly and companies may run out of financial resources. In crisis-mode, their job is to be the sounding board and the advisor for the executive board members. It's important to support and notice what is happening in the top-team and with the CEO and to see if there is any additional support they need. 


Jennifer Davis, New Jersey, USA

We must find ways to connect with people differently. It can be small ways like sending a text to let a friend or colleague know that you are thinking of them or a scheduled call to catch up. While we are all in quarantine and may be feeling isolated, a short touch point can have a big impact.


Please comment below and share what suggestions you’ve been seeing work for others or for yourself as you navigate your own virtual interactions in the “new normal.”

Read our collection of blogs and articles about leading through uncertainty.

KDVI Writer's Colony, 2020

Add Comment

Article Comments

Ann Houston Kelley

Apr 8, 9:57 PM

Great initiative Jennifer.

Jennifer Fowkes

Apr 8, 9:58 PM

Thanks for sharing this, Elizabeth! The advice to reach out to someone you admire is something I will try this week! Also, I am finding that self-care is KEY. Exercise, time for myself away from the family, and sleep are all saving my sanity.

Fabiana Diaz-Gufler

Apr 9, 6:49 AM

Try to discriminate between the many feelings you have during the days and weeks. Pay attention to them, being sad, fearful, happy, anxious, it’s not all the same and the reasons that trigger the same feeling one day might be different the next day. Get in touch with it, as an observer, not necessarily digging into it.

Vaseehar Hassan Abdul ...

Apr 11, 5:34 AM

Open leadership where ideas and suggestions for the current crisis will be greatly appreciated. Ideas could be from anyone not necessarily from the top should be encouraged. It’s leadership of inclusivity. Also adapting to more digital ways of working could be the new norm, unbounded by geographic constraints

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