I was leading a coaching group when it happened; the first session of a new 12-month programme was in full swing and we were talking about our business aims, our intentions and the one thing we didn’t want anyone to know about us.

That last question is a great ice breaker – that level of honesty tends to cement a group really quickly and creates a high level of trust.

When I’m coaching a group, there’s a level of insight and awareness that happens. Though I’ll be listening intently to whoever happens to be in the hotseat, I’ve developed a habit of frequently switching to peripheral vision – it allows me to hold space well by seeing and sensing everyone, without losing focus on the person speaking.

That was how I noticed the looks of shock beginning to ripple around the Zoom room; a quick refresh of my phone delivered the blow we all knew was coming, but none of us wanted to hear.

Our Queen had died, at the grand old age of 96.

Regardless of whether you see yourself as a royalist, there’s something deeply moving about the death of a ruler we’ve all grown up with. None of us have known a life without ‘Queen Liz’ and every one of us feels some kind of connection to our longest-leading monarch.

I still remember being in The Mall for her Golden Jubilee and smile at the moment a tipsy girl in front, hoisted atop her boyfriend’s shoulders to get a better view of Her Maj, called out: “The Queen rules!”

Well, yes, Quite. That was literally her job description.

Flex and Adapt

So, what happens? What do you do when such a monumental curve ball drops in the middle of the first session of a new group coaching programme?

You flex. You adapt. You lead.

I dropped everything that was on the agenda after initial introductions and ice breakers and changed tack.

We spent a while talking about all we’d learned from our Queen and how that applied to our businesses. Themes included resilience, quiet strength, staying focused on the job and, though Queen Elizabeth stayed in her lane, one group member added that she did put the indicators on occasionally and lead us into a new era.

If you’re reading this as a coach, entrepreneur or small business owner, this applies to you just as much. Though many of us will be feeling shaken, grieving the loss of a woman who’s been a constant for our entire lives, we can focus on the lessons she imparted by example.

Anyone in a position of leadership (yes, you have a voice and you’ve been showing up, so that’s you!) also needs to think about the vibe they’re putting out from here.

Do you want to be creating content in memory of Queen Elizabeth II? Do you want to be reflecting on her leadership, her steadfastness, her energy?

Perhaps you want to be talking about your own personal reflections and experiences or, if you’ve been rocked by some of the unnecessary vitriol already hitting social media, taking a stand and reminding people of the importance of kindness and compassion.

If you feel you’d like to say something, remember to read the room, and speak from a place of personal experience, regardless of whether you ever met our Queen. It’s really hard for someone to call us down when we’re writing from a place of personal experience, whether that be emotional, contemplative or recalling a memory.

And if you’re worried about being accused of band wagoning or virtue signalling, remember there’s no right or wrong here – someone could just as well call you down for staying silent. Only YOU know the truth of your intentions, so create your content from a place of good will, compassion and integrity and hold firm to that.

Visibility, showing up, doesn’t stop – Queen Elizabeth was a wonderful example of this!

She also showed us the importance of staying true to our mission, getting on with the job and continuing to serve in the face of all kinds of hatred and abuse.

Think on that for a moment… our Queen continued to do her duty through all kinds of negative energies being hurled her way, all kinds of hardships, and we sometimes allow ourselves to be derailed by a faceless social media troll or keyboard warrior!

That’s the message I want to leave you with today. Make the mission bigger than you and stay on it. Be in your truth. Hold onto integrity. Remember you’re here to serve the world.

RIP Queen Elizabeth II: 1926-2022. Long live King Charles III.

Until next time,