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Coaching Techniques

Can You Still Coach Even in Difficult Times?

How do you carry on with your work during times of crisis - and should you? Tips for managing your life coaching business during times of collective unrest.

Originally published in April 2020, this post has been updated to include new resources.


We all go through challenges that rock us to the core. But how often does the entire community move through the collective crisis alongside you? 

There’s no question that we’re living through a period of turbulence and uncertainty. The COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with social injustice and political unrest, has forced a reckoning. Many of us are looking at life from a different perspective now, navigating terrain we couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago. 

Can you still coach "at a time like this"? 

Absolutely. Life and career coaching during times of crisis and upheaval are both vital and necessary. The fact of the matter is this boat is unlikely to stop rocking anytime soon. What you have to offer as a coach may in fact be in even greater demand during times of acute change.

But should you? 

This is a question we've seen coaches grappling with in recent times. You may be about to launch a new coaching program, and suddenly another devastating headline is making waves. In an instant, you're uncertain if the timing is right to put your offer out into the world.

Ultimately, it's a question only you are qualified to answer.

If you’re in a place of relative safety and have the capacity to be fully present with your clients, then by all means, coach. The world needs what you have to give, perhaps now more than ever. 

As a helping professional, it’s important to put your own oxygen mask on first. To that end, we suggest taking an inner inventory if you're questioning whether "now's the right time to be doing this." 

  • How are you emotionally and mentally managing what you, yourself are going through? 
  • Do you have the capacity to hold space for your clients' fear, anger, or uncertainty in addition to whatever you may be carrying personally? 

Check in with yourself regularly when you're experiencing stress and upheaval. Illness, trauma, the loss of a loved one, divorce, and other challenging life events can also send major shockwaves through our systems.  

There is nothing wrong with taking a pause when you need to. As life coaches, we help our clients develop an approach to their lives that is firmly rooted in self love. As mentors and role models, it’s imperative that we apply these same principles to ourselves.  

Life Coaches Hold Up The Light 

The call for coaches is on the rise as people deal with unprecedented job loss, life changes, and uncertainty. With a nonstop media cycle turning out more troubling news by the hour, it’s almost impossible to remain hopeful every day. Couple this with increased isolation and loneliness resulting from the pandemic, and you have a perfect storm of discouragement.

As a coach, you have the skillset and training to help clients reorient around their desired future state, along with the tools to help them get there. You can also serve as a steady touchpoint, week after week, in an otherwise uncertain world. 

The greatest value you bring to clients during difficult times may simply be to show up with consistency, holding space for them with your coaching presence, empathy, and active listening.

Service Gives Us Strength

If you’re in doubt about whether or not to continue building your coaching business at this time, you’re not alone. The desire to be on the front lines can gradually wane in the face of fatiguing circumstances. And if you have just gotten started as a coach, recent events may be eclipsing the earlier optimism and excitement surrounding your launch into this profession.  

There’s no playbook for the times we are living through, and it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. To counteract it, try returning again and again to the original motivation that drew you into coaching. Call to mind the difference you’re here to make. Because here’s the thing: working with others gives you strength too. 

Recall those moments when the light bulb went off for one of your clients. What does it feel like to walk beside someone as they strive to achieve meaningful change in their lives? Savor those experiences, and allow them to fuel you.

Impactful sessions with clients, and the victories they achieve as a result of your work together, are powerful affirmations of your ability to touch lives through your work as a coach. Your clients' drive to move forward also serves as a potent reminder of the importance of keeping your own dreams and ambitions alive.

You Don’t Need to Have All The Answers

Just because you’re a life coach doesn’t mean you’re expected to know how to navigate this (or any) situation. 

Coaching is client led and client directed. Remember what that means -- our role isn’t to advise. Instead, your job is to know how to show up, hold clients without judgement, ask insightful questions, and assist them in the process of discovering their own wisdom. 

How we each move through collective difficulties will be different. The answer comes from exploring what will work for each person individually - which is precisely what we do as life coaches.

Above all, be kind and gentle with yourself. We need you at your best.

Ready to Become A Coach?

One of our values at Lumia is that we dare to be different. Our life coaches ignore the expectations society tries to impose on them, and seek to live from their own truth instead. If you are ready to step into your power and you’d like a partner in the process, come check out Lumia Life Coach Training. Grounded in science, our ICF accredited program features authentic instructors, a robust curriculum, and business instruction to prepare you for liftoff.

Lumia Coaching: Vibrant community. Evidence-based life coach training. Lifetime support.

[Free Guide] 6 Steps to Start Coaching Today

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