My life coaching business is a personal one – I usually held in-person sessions with my clients to help them address the challenges of getting employment, to keep a job once obtained, and to develop day-to-day life skills as well as to learn to interact with others. So what happens when I can’t see my clients in my office? Suddenly I’m faced with an empty office and potentially no practice.
During these unprecedented times, I have had to meet my clients’ needs in creative ways. Here’s how I adapted my business to survive and thrive during the Pandemic.
- I host sessions by telephone and by Zoom, Facetime or Skype – I found that, although these methods are not a complete substitute for an in-person session, they are still very effective and helpful ways to connect with my clients. Many of my clients were receptive to these remote sessions and now do them regularly.
- I make clear to my clients the importance of continuing to work on their skills even during a pandemic when unemployment is hitting a record high. They need to be ready when opportunity presents itself, whether at the end of this pandemic or in the middle of it. One client just recently was able to get a job interview with a good firm and it was important that his interviewing skills and social skills were in order. As it turned out, he crushed the interview and got the job because he was ready!
- I continued group coaching sessions that I used to hold before the pandemic. These “Strategies for Life” group sessions are now via Zoom. Many of the same clients who previously attended these group sessions in-person to discuss and interact with their peers on different topics or for different activities that we held as a group, wanted to continue meeting via Zoom. We meet on Thursday evenings, and the clients still find the same benefits as before: improving social skills, memory, analysis and learning how to function as part of a group.
The Zoom Group sessions, as it turned out, have gotten a bigger turnout because clients don’t have to travel. Participants are having a great time interacting with their peers remotely. It provides a great social outlet for my clients during a time of extreme isolation for many of them. I’ve even been able to share food with the group, as I used to do in person. Once a month I order food, usually pizza or something similar to be delivered to the participants at their homes during our session and share a meal virtually.
- I have expanded the practice by offering training in office skills. My technologically-savvy assistant works with some of the clients on basic computer skills like Microsoft Excel, Word and PowerPoint.
- I have also used the time I have had during the pandemic to enhance my presence in the community of professionals who work in the Autism community.
- I am joining a Board for a prospective community for young adults on the spectrum. I have developed videos for Facebook and Instagram informing others of my work and group activities online. And I have been writing blogs.
- I know there is even more of this kind of activity that I can do to keep my presence in the community so that, when the cloud from this pandemic lifts, I will be front and center for those who need my services.
Just recently, I have been able to start seeing clients in person at my Long Island office by putting in place all the necessary safety features and maintaining social distance. Not only is it good for me and the clients to be able to see each other in person, but it also demonstrates to my clients the need to persevere under adverse circumstances and overcome challenges to get ahead.