As a business relationship consultant, I frequently hear senior executives describe the challenge of managing a workforce that is resistant to returning to the workplace. A combination of home and office is the new normal, and arguably we’re all better for this hybrid formula, but the preference of many key mid-tier employees can be significantly biased towards the former rather than the latter.

I certainly share the view that if the bulk of the week, especially in a solid block that includes the weekend, is spent remotely, then a trend towards negative longer-term outcomes has begun. Unfortunately, immediate freedom and flexibility mask the slower-burn impact of increased isolation, less collaboration, reduced learning, generally diminished working relationships.

As an executive coach, I am encountering another consequence of an increasingly distributed workforce. In short, within all kinds of organisations, fewer trusted face to face conversations with colleagues are removing a valuable sounding board for career orientation.

Unlike qualified coaches, co-workers may not be entirely objective, but, with this caveat, at a more informal level, we do coach each other. Importantly, also, these exchanges contribute to our self-awareness and to the evidence and understanding upon which we base our developmental decisions.

This gap in nourishing interaction comes at an unfortunate time. A quick scan around the world yields little but anxiety. Politically, economically, socially, climactically, the news is not good. Established antidotes like photos of kittens just don’t hack it right now.

It is perhaps no surprise then that, in the current environment, recourse to the support that executive coaching offers is growing. There is plenty to process both in a commercial and domestic setting. Many of us are in search of positive change.

And, given the landscape of vacant workstations, it strikes me that stepping into the space vacated by formerly co-located individuals is a valid and valuable opportunity for experienced coaches.

In my practice, I am committed to making room for clients to explore the impact of the evolving workplace upon their reality and ambitions. By encouraging coachees to think more deeply and speak more openly, by listening, questioning, and challenging affirmatively, I aim to help them find the time, fresh air, clarity, and energy to overcome any emerging impediments to personal progress and wellbeing.

There is no doubt that, for an increasingly fragmented employee base, with fewer people to talk to, executive coaching can be less of a remedy and more of a planned process to help realise the versions of themselves they seek.

Everyone needs a coach!