In this episode of the Managing Uncertainty Podcast, Bryghtpath Principal & Chief Executive Bryan Strawser discusses how coaching can help you as a business continuity and crisis management leader.
Topics discussed include how coaching can help clear your business continuity and crisis management program roadblocks, how a coaching program works, and some factors you should consider in choosing a coach.
Related Episodes & Blog Posts
- Blog Post: 5 Ways Coaching Can Help Your Business Continuity and Crisis Management Program
- Blog Post: Business Continuity Standards: How each can help you
- Episode #111: The Value of a Trusted Advisor
- Episode #113: Roles and Responsibilities in a BC Program
- Episode #132: 7 Business Continuity Exercise Scenarios
Hello, and Welcome to the Managing Uncertainty Podcast. This is Bryan Strawser, Principal & Chief Executive here at Bryghtpath. And in this week’s episode, I’d like to talk about how coaching can help you as a business continuity and crisis management leader. I’m often talking with folks who are suffering from this challenge that they’re working harder than ever, but not making forward progress on their continuity and crisis management objectives. They’ve read all the books and they’ve listened to all the podcasts, but they’re so at a loss on where to even begin, or maybe fear and doubt and uncertainty are keeping them from taking the right actions. Whether you’re looking to level up or just get back on track, I have found that one-on-one coaching can be the just-in-time tailored solution that our clients need to get unstuck, gain clarity and take their next best step.
So here are five ways that coaching can help clear your business continuity and crisis management program roadblocks and what you can expect. The first is I want to talk about the benefits of coaching. The first is having an outsider’s perspective. I always use the example that many of us are familiar with, ambiguous images. There’s the picture of one where there’s a duck, that when you turn it on the end, it looks like a rabbit, and you may first see it’s a duck, or you might first see it’s a rabbit. But after being told about the other answer, you can see both of those things clearly.
Well, we all have a unique perspective and those perspectives inform the lens through which we see particular business challenges. That lens can also influence your approach to solving them. If you’re looking at your problem like a duck, but the problem is really a rabbit, then your solutions and your action steps might be all wrong. Sometimes you’re just too close to the problem to see it accurately. The outsider’s perspective can be the simple insight that you need to find the solutions that are probably already in front of you.
The second is encouragement and support. My coaching clients often already know what they need to do to solve the problem, but they doubt their own judgment and they’re terrified to actually take that next step. Discussing these challenges with a trusted expert can help you uncover new solutions to your business continuity and crisis management problems, or validate the ones that you already have in mind. We often seek the advice of others for trivial decisions about, say fashion or food. Does this shirt match these shoes? Should I have chicken or steak tonight? So why don’t we do the same in business? Having the encouragement and feedback of a coach might be exactly what you need to make your next move with confidence and conviction.
The third is validation for your ideas. We’ve all heard the play that one way to get support for your ideas is to convince the boss that it was their idea to begin with. But what if that doesn’t work? Long before I was a consultant and I was a coach, I was in those shoes. I was a junior leader, still building my own war chest of experience. And I couldn’t get buy-in on action steps that I knew were critical for the program. But if those exact same ideas or courses of action came from an outside consultant, my leaders were much more receptive. So if you’re struggling to get buy-in within your organization, that gravitas of an outside coach or consultant might be just the thing that you need to get your leaders on board.
The next is a trusted partner in times of trouble. When COVID-19 hit, for example, the companies that we helped respond the fastest were ones that we were already working with before the pandemic hit. We knew their businesses inside and out. We understood their needs and capabilities, and we knew precisely what would be impacted by the situation. Because of our existing relationship as a trusted advisor, we could move much more quickly to help them adjust operations and keep their businesses running. The best time to engage the advice of a business continuity and crisis management expert is before the boom, before the crisis and business continuity and crisis management coaching is one way to do it.
The last one is an insider’s network. When you work with a coach who is truly an expert in their field, established in their field, that relationship often comes with access to their network of specialists, consultants, and service providers, that can be invaluable when an emergent leader crisis hits. As one example, one of our clients was faced with a very serious threat of workplace violence and needed to quickly bring in an armed security provider for the duration of that threat. Utilizing our extensive network of crisis management and business continuity professionals, we were able to quickly provide them with a list of trusted advisors that we knew to be reputable and thorough. Having a pre-established relationship with a business continuity and crisis management expert can ensure that you’re able to quickly find the information and the help that you need when you need it the most.
Is coaching the right solution for you? Well, in my experience, when you find the right coach or coaching program, that experience is rarely, if ever invaluable. Here are some common reasons though, that you might consider working with a coach. First is you need help with a problem. One-off coaching can be a great solution if you have a discrete problem that needs solving. Like you’ve got an audit report and you don’t know how to address it. You need to brief the CEO and you don’t know how to prepare what to say, or you’re struggling to get resources or buy-in for your program, or you’re finding it difficult to meet key objectives. Perhaps you need the help of someone more experienced to lead you through those steps. Or maybe you simply need an outsider’s perspective to validate or uncover new solutions. In one or a handful of coaching sessions, an effective coach can help you see your problem more clearly and create an actionable plan to move forward.
The second is you’re new to the job, or you’re in need of specific capabilities. Maybe you’ve got the talent, but you’re short on expertise. If you’re lucky, your organization has a deep roster of crisis management and business continuity experts that can provide you with the coaching and mentorship that you need. But if not, coaching can be a great way to find a shadow leader or mentor that can help you develop the knowledge and skills that you lack. Regular coaching with a business continuity and crisis management expert can help you confidently address emergent challenges and build your own professional playbook until you’re ready to stand fully on your own. Or lastly, you’re ready to level up. You’re confident in your skills and your program is working as it should. And I applaud you, but I also encourage you to take this time to level up your skills and prepare for the inevitable challenges that lie ahead. Individual or group coaching or some combination of the two can be invaluable in helping you reach the next level in your business continuity program or career.
I find group coaching to be especially helpful in these cases to provide really three things, the experience, and perspectives of those at different points in their business continuity and crisis management journey. A robust network that can help in finding new resources and trusted service providers and constructive feedback from this hive mind on specific challenges or problems. Is business continuity coaching your next best step? Well, self-reliance is indispensable, if you’re lost in the woods or you have a flat tire, but when it comes to moving your program forward, your business continuity and crisis management program, going alone is seldom the best course of action.
If you’re ready to move beyond the things that are still not working, if you’re ready to put in the work, if you’re ready for actionable insights and a no-bullshit game plan to take charge of your professional and programmatic success, then coaching just might be your next best step. I’m Bryan Strawser, I have more than three decades of experience in executive and consulting roles, leading the business continuity crisis management and crisis communications programs at Fortune 30 organizations, and more. You can learn more about our coaching options and book a one-on-one coaching call with me today at bryghtpath.com. That’s it for this edition of the Managing Uncertainty Podcast, we’ll be back next week with another new episode. Be well.