Pandemic Professionalism

The world does not stop turning for a pandemic!  There are a number of learnings which I have taken during this time...

Back to blog posts

Pandemic Professionalism

Posted by Lianne Russell on

Hello!  My name is Li, and until last year I was travelling around the world working with clients in the leisure attraction industry, training and coaching and facilitating learning.

Obviously, I haven’t travelled for work since March last year.  But, incredibly, I’ve been busier than ever during this seemingly endless Corona-Coaster, with clients seeking their coaching and learning solutions online. The world does not stop turning for a pandemic!  There are number of learnings which I have taken during this time.

The first thing which struck me as we moved our learning and coaching sessions 100% online is that while I was working from home, so were my clients. For the first time in recent history we were all, the whole of society, in the same storm, albeit it in our separate boats, either locked down or performing a critical key worker role.

And, in being ‘locked down’ I was conducting their training and coaching within their safe spaces, their homes.  Working from the office BC (Before Covid) provided clients with an opportunity to maintain their ‘professional’ façade. To project and embody those professional behaviours which could sometimes hinder our ability to key into the deeper roots of a problem or issue. 

When working with clients in their homes, we are invited into their bedrooms, their kitchens, their living rooms, even, on one occasion the cupboard under the stairs. I made a conscious choice to embrace the fact that I too was working from home, that I too was experiencing the same difficulties in finding a place to work and be ‘productive’. So, I chose from the outset, not to use a virtual background.  I invite my clients and learners into my safe space, just as they invite me into theirs.  In so doing, sharing the vulnerability with them.  That being said, I do make sure that the laundry is off camera!

The second thing that I learnt was to accept and embrace the challenge.  The challenge of negotiating broadband with my children and husband who were also working from home and home schooling.

What exactly did this look and feel like?

Well, for me, it was having to pause a Zoom call to intervene as a UN peacekeeper with my warring teenagers, to let the barking dog out into the garden and to answer the door to my amazon delivery driver – who I now have seen more than my own mother.

All of this is nothing less than what my learners and clients have been experiencing and in unapologetically demonstrating that I am in exactly the same position as them, doing the best that I can with the resources that I have available; the incredible thing was that this deepened the rapport.

As we move to a world AC (After Covid) I do wonder what the impact will be on our ideas of professionalism, whether the rapport built during the shared experience of ‘Lockdown’ will result in a paradigm shift for our views of professionalism.


Lianne Russell
Lianne Russell (Member post)

Lianne Russell, WELL Training