InsideOut Development

Coaching in a Crisis? Here's Your Survival Guide

by Malini Janakiraman


Fifteen years ago, I was having a difficult time at the Fortune 500 company I worked for. We were being purchased by an even larger organization and none of us were certain if we would have a job in three months. The stress, panic, and uncertainty that ensued prevented us from giving our best every day. There were enormous work demands while we were all worried about our futures.

My supervisor at that time, Brian, used amazing coaching techniques to allow our interference to move to the background so we could stay focused on what needed to get done. He coached each one in the department to rally around key goals, while encouraging us to spend energy looking for our next position.

Three key coaching techniques that he used were:

  1. Helping us prioritize the essential things that had to get done so we stayed focused.
  2. Sharing information with us as soon as he received it with honesty and clarity.
  3. Listening well and helping us think through what's next with good feedback on strengths and opportunities for improvement as he advocated for us as needed.

When I think back, it was my supervisor’s coaching that allowed a potentially disastrous situation to become a most positive learning experience. Not only did I survive, I came out of it better than if it had not happened because I gained confidence, clarity, and self-assurance that helped me land a new role and a trajectory that really allowed me to excel in my career!

When the lights go out, coaching plays a crucial role in maintaining morale and executing towards company goals and personal goals. Listening to the fears and hopes of employees is essential and coaching provides empathy, direction, and energy. It is the best tool to abate the external and internal interference that hijacks clarity.

Category: Coaching Career Development

Picture of Malini Janakiraman

Malini Janakiraman specializes in learning, organizational development, and executive coaching. As a global leader with over 25 years’ experience, she has worked at the highest levels of many well-known organizations worldwide. Malini is a native of Bangalore, India and is fluent in three languages. A vicious field hockey and tennis player, she enjoys yoga, singing in both Western and Indian genres, cooking, and traveling. Malini and her husband-TJ are the proud parents of two children, Vikram and Vanitha and two adorable granddaughters, Janaki and Shivani.

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