Morbi vulputate, lectus sed dapibus nonummy, sapien nulla fermentum magna, eget vestibulum mi wisi at quam. Aliquam non quam. Pellentesque ac enim.

Back to Resources | Print this Page

The Top 10 Ways to Help the Downsized

As we hear of more corporations merging, more businesses reorganizing, so
also more of our colleagues and neighbours are downsized. Some of us don't
know what to say to the downsized and so we avoid them in the same way as we avoid talking to the bereaved. This Top Ten was designed for helping the
downsized, but you will see that some of it is also relevant to supporting
the bereaved. Coaches offer help in the areas below.

1. Stay in touch and be there for them quietly. Because you hear nothing from them, it does not mean that they are OK. Because they have come through one bout of unhappiness successfully it does not mean that it will be the last. Call weekly.

2. Do they know how best you can support them? Some of us were brought up according to the independence model and have to be introduced gently to the idea of support of any kind being acceptable. Encourage those of this school to reflect on what would be most helpful and communicate it…. And if nothing comes to their minds immediately, do not stop asking.

3. Never allow them to complain for more than 2 minutes before turning to
solutions. How many times have you felt positively revived, invigorated and
inspired by complaining? Righteous, perhaps; justified definitely; but inspired? Positive energy comes from positive behaviours, so encourage focusing on solutions and opportunities and do not allow them to focus on misery for long.

4. Endorse their previous achievements and share your expectations of their
even greater future. Yesterday's victories are sometimes drowned by the discomforts of today. Remind them of their previous achievements, not just at work but in successful relationships, in volunteering, health and fitness and other areas of their lives.

5. Ask about their strategy and its implementation. How fulfilling was their previous work? What do they really want to be and do and is this not the perfect opportunity? What are the next steps and what is their timetable for taking them?

6. Are they familiar with the notions of Needs and Values? Unless our unique needs are met we cannot function well. Values are the standards and principles towards which we are naturally attracted. How many of us organize our lives (i) so that our Needs are met and (ii) to be oriented around our Values at work, at home and at play? Being downsized may be the key to a new and more fulfilling life.

7. Offer to be someone to whom to report. Dealing with being downsized can lead to motivational paralysis or frenzy. For some it is the opportunity of a lifetime, for others something feared only slightly less than death. Help the paralyzed to overcome their fear and procrastination by gently questioning them about their new journey; help the frenzied to direct their energy into a series of steps which lead in the same direction.

8. Know and share the value of humour. Humour is one of the great antidotes for stress. It's hard to be anxious about the seriousness of life when one's belly is aching from laughter. Be warned! Continuous belly laughing, apart from probably being harmful, is difficult to sustain, but we can all achieve the same result through laughter, smiles and chuckles. What makes the downsized in your life laugh? Help them find it daily and laugh with them.

9. Do they know about tests helpful for transitioning into new careers? Myers Briggs Personality Typing and the Strong Interest Inventory with its Interpretive Report are two tests useful to transitioners. They provide
valuable suggestions and clues about career fields which may lead to personal fulfillment. Are there other tests which YOU can recommend and can you assist the downsized in the design of a process for ranking the results and validating what appears the most appropriate?

10. Teach them how to network and offer mock interviews. We hear that an amazingly high percentage of jobs are filled via networking rather than an advertised hiring competition. Help them list people with whom to network, research the companies concerned, prepare for their telephone conversations, deal with protective secretaries, prepare their question list, develop strategy for calls and meetings. Ensure, too, that when they go into an interview it is not the first for 5 years. What questions need they be ready for, what questions to ask and who is to control the interview - again, what is their strategy?

About the submitter:
This piece was written by Martin Sawdon who can be reached at or visited on the web at

Martin has a special interest in people in the workplace and the creation of Sustainable Workplaces, corporations which are extraordinarily profitable, extraordinarily effective if public sector but get there by growing people rather than consuming them like a fossil fuel. He coaches clients with integrity and great senses of humor, who are determined to realize achievements beyond their wildest dreams.

Coaching-Works! has been featured on radio and television.

Privacy PolicySite by Ignition Industries