Try this SWOT approach to plan your transition out of lockdown

Executive Coach Kate Kardooni reflects on how using a SWOT analysis can help you to take stock and prepare to transition out of lockdown.

In early June, I attended an Association for Coaching Virtual Event called “Life after Lockdown”, something which I’m sure we are all looking forward to when it fully happens.  The event encouraged the attendees to reflect on what their lives had been like before, but perhaps the most powerful part of the evening was where the attendees were given time to reflect on building their own SWOT to assess how life had been during the Lockdown period.

SWOT for your transition back to work

I’m sure most of us know what a SWOT is but for those who don’t, it’s a development tool which teases out a person’s Strengths, Weaknesses (although I prefer Development Areas, but that doesn’t fit with the acronym), Opportunities and Threats (the latter two look at things external to the client’s current situation).

The SWOT we were encouraged to pull together was based on what has happened to you during the Covid-19 lockdown and captured the 4 elements as follows:

SWOT- LOCKDOWN

 

This was a fascinating insight me for as I worked through each element.  People have tended to catastrophise on the negatives over the last few months, and it was refreshing for me to think about some of the positives that have come from the recent situation.

I would normally be someone who shies away from meeting clients virtually. However, I reflected on how well sessions have gone over this medium, and it’s a skill I have got better at and now feel a lot more comfortable with.  I’ve found sessions have become more personal in nature, as clients do not feel limited by the office walls so much when having discussions virtually, and clients seem to open up more about the work home dynamics than they have done before.  It’s definitely opened up my eyes to how future programmes can more dynamically incorporate virtual sessions going forward.

Positively for me as well, I have been able to find more time to exercise, and have in particular been enjoying cycling again –  discovering the hills of Hertfordshire on my travels, as well as a fun lockdown cycle around London with my son.  I also seem to be one of the few people who has lost weight in lockdown – great big tick for me!

However, some clients have gone “missing” as they struggle to cope with increasing demands at home from childcare, work, etc, and feel that coaching is a “luxury” they haven’t got time for.  I have appreciated that while this is a shame, it is not something you can force, and that the client will return when the timing is better for them.

For me personally as well, I like having that time out going off to see clients in a typical day.  Being at home full time has blurred boundaries as I no longer get that change of scene between work and home.  After struggling with this for a couple of weeks, I realised I needed to change my strategy for dealing with the work elements within my day to provide more of a distinction.  I reset my daily routine, so that I did my “me” stuff in the mornings, and then arranged for work stuff to start from a particular time each day, so that this became my “working time zone”.  Given I’m an introvert as well, I have also set up a dedicated area away from everyone else for when I am working, so I can still have distraction free focus – I’d been lucky before that during the day I was the only in the house often; now there’s 4 of us milling around!

My big external concern going forward would be the economic and political situation we are likely to find ourselves in once we come out the other side, as recent weeks have not only sent us the Covid-19 challenge, but other curveballs such as #BlackLivesMatter too.

Trying this for yourselves

Reflecting on your SWOT could be a great thing to do to as you think about how you personally want to transition out of lockdown.  Your SWOT may identify areas that you would like to improve upon or even continue doing well going forward and how you might want to bring adaptations into your day to day life to give you a brighter and happier plan for the future.

Build yourself an action plan of what you’d like to do as you go through this next transition phase.  The time in lockdown has given everyone an opportunity to try things out in different ways (some good, some bad, I’m sure!) and now is the time to ensure that what you’ve learned about yourself can be built on to ensure you transition out of lockdown stronger and more determined.

Why don’t you spend some time drawing up your own SWOT… it could be a powerful tool for you too!

 

 

 

 

 

Kate Kardooni is an Executive Coach with the Executive Coaching Consultancy.

 

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