It has been said that the feeling of being heard is so closely tied to the feeling of being loved that most of us can’t tell the difference. As an executive coach, I primarily listen for a living. Over the last week, I’ve offered pro bono coaching to do my part. It has been some of the most rewarding work I’ve ever done. Jumping on a call with C-suite leaders to help them think through all they need to do, when, and how, as well as what they can do to hang onto themselves during this turbulent, uncertain time, feels like it matters. A lot.

You might not be a coach but you can ask others how they are doing and then simply listen. Listen to all they are carrying right now – fears for their health and livelihood, serious financial concerns, major decisions, complex ramifications, the health and safety of loved ones, the livelihoods of countless others – and simply acknowledge their vast burden.

Ask them what they most need today. Ask how they can best sustain themselves. Ask how they could use this time to not only survive but to thrive! Listen with your full attention. Listening alone is helpful. Healing. And to be of further assistance, ask a question or two to help another person focus themselves well for the day or weeks ahead.

Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • I know what is happening right now impacts you greatly. How are you?
  • What do you most need right now?
  • What do you most need to focus on this week? What will help you to focus? What noise do you need to shut out?
  • What is an ideal state of mind for you? How can you foster and strengthen it today? What thought/perspective would allow you to not only survive but to thrive?
  • With this mindset, what would you be excited to do? What might doing those things allow you to accomplish in six months’ time? In the next year?
  • One year from now, what would make you proud to look back on regarding how you handled yourself and how you were able to innovate?
  • What is life-giving for you (reading, audio books, meditation, prayer, exercise, time in nature, connecting with family/friends)? What daily routine must you honor to stay sane, to make this your most productive year ever?
  • What is the opportunity inherent in the crisis for you? What is one thing you could focus on this week in order to maximize this opportunity?

In uncertain times, times of crisis, our minds race, thoughts become scattered and they tend toward the negative. Let others know you see them and their struggle. Then, help them to focus by asking a question and by listening fully to their answer. Listen such that they know they are not alone.

This is how you can help others today.

It is also how you will help yourself.

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Why are you unhappy? Because 99.9 percent of everything you think, and of everything you do, is for yourself—and there isn’t one.” – Wei Wu Wei


About the Author

Susanne Biro is a coach to C-suite and executive level leaders. She is the founder of Inner Life Leadership, an app for business professionals who want to reach an unprecedented level of personal understanding and corresponding leadership (and life) success. Susanne is an author, executive development program designer, facilitator, Forbes & CEO Magazine contributing writer, and a TEDx and keynote speaker.

For over two decades, Susanne has worked internationally with senior-level leaders in some of the world’s best companies. Whether coaching one-on-one or authoring, designing, and delivering leadership programs, her passion is the same: to help leaders reach their next level.

Susanne can be reached at 604.864.5408 or via email at


Our world has changed, rapidly and in unexpected ways. As the crisis hit, I offered and held pro bono sessions with leaders from around the world. And I want to continue to do what I can to help. As a result, I now offer hourly sessions to ensure leaders everywhere can quickly get the perspective, clarity and focus they need to lead themselves, and therefore others, well during these challenging and uncertain times.

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