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Embarking on the road to recovery

by Tanya Siggins, KEASE Associate & Coach

One thing is completely clear within all of the COVID uncertainty; our way out of this crisis is going to be much longer than our quick tumble into it. And the best way to ensure the success of any long and arduous journey is always to prepare, prepare, prepare.

The future is unclear and new hurdles will invariably be encountered on the way, but ensuring that you and your team’s rucksacks are loaded with valuable resources will maximise your team’s chances of success.

Chart your course

The greatest expeditions had only a hazy objective in mind; think Cook’s navigation of the South Seas or Amundsen’s search for the south pole. Yet despite offering nothing more than an unclear voyage with untold risk, they managed to rally people around them! Rally your troops by:

  • Openly sharing what you do know about the direction. What are you vaguely heading towards?
  • Acknowledging the variables and unknowns. Agree to consult with the team when obstacles and unexpected events arise.
  • Setting clear short-term goals. You can’t know exactly where you’ll land in a year, but you do know the direction you need to head this week. Agree to constantly course correct and brief your team regularly.

Create your inventory

Once you have clarity about your course, you need to determine what kit you and your team require. Create an inventory by:

  • Asking your team to reflect on what they need from you now and what they expect they’ll need further into recovery phase. Ask in a variety of ways multiple times to get a fulsome response.
  • Understand that every individual within your team is going to need different things from you on different days. There is no blueprint for this. You need to create a swiss army knife of leadership skills you can reach for and deploy as required.
  • Get your team to articulate what they need from each another. Develop expectations about how they’ll support each other, motivate each other, hold each other to account, communicate, socialise, ask for help, delegate and emotionally regulate.

Provision your kit

Once you’ve got the inventory list sorted you can go about provisioning it. Determine the skills and experience that is already at hand and identify what you’re going to need to procure. Make a plan to source missing resources through tools, training, coaching, reading etc.

  • Employ online tools to support collaboration and communication. You might already be using some, but consider establishing more clarity about how and when they are used.
  • Discuss boundaries around availability and the changed expectations that come with more flexible and asynchronistic communication and work patterns. Create nudges that help keep this front of mind for the team. Include work patterns in email signatures, sett OOO messages when logging off, disable email notifications when OOO etc.
  • Find Ted Talks, YouTube videos, articles and webinars that address identified skill gaps. Encourage team members to share the resources they find and consider allocating specific time each week for team members, yourself included, to engage in development activities.


Remember to reorient

Fully provisioned, you can now embark on the journey! Your preparation will stand you in good stead but, like on any adventure, there’s bound to be a few surprises. All great expedition leaders constantly recalibrate their plans. Ask yourself daily:

  • Is our goal the same as it was yesterday?
  • What resources are we missing? How can we restock?
  • How is the team travelling? Who’s lagging behind and needs support? Who’s been leading at the front and needs respite?


Care for your crew

Checking in with your team members is critical. Avoid asking bland variations of ‘how are you going?’ as they’re unlikely to elicit a genuine response. Adopt coaching based questions including ‘what’s your focus for today/this week?’ ‘what hurdles can you foresee?’ and ‘what do you need from me to succeed?’.

The key to ensuring the emotional wellbeing of your team is to be consistent in your approach. Create a wellbeing strategy to schedule your informal touchpoints (every 1-2 days) and your formal check-ins (weekly) and stick to it. Amend the plan as you go for those who need more support.

Emotion sharing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Creating a way for your team to share where they are at without going into detail can be a powerful tool. Consider a basic traffic light system:

Everyone shares their ‘zone’ during team check-ins with no explanation. This can help build empathy and resilience as well as signal who needs more of your support. Leverage the ‘availability’ signalling in online communication channels to display ‘zones’ throughout the day.

Celebrate your progress

Think of the Everest climb. It isn’t completed in a single assault; the journey is broken into stages. Imagine the sense of relief climbers feel as they reach each camp on the trail. Motivate and engage your team by celebrating milestones.

Important markers on your journey, birthdays, the arrival of babies (furry and human) etc. are all times to share joy. Consider how they’ll be inclusively celebrated in a world where cake in the lunchroom is no longer an option.

And ultimately, be guided by the words of explorer Alison Levine;

‘Never let failure discourage you. Every time you get to the base of a mountain (literal or metaphorical), you’re presented with a new opportunity to challenge yourself, to push your limits beyond what you thought possible, to learn from climbers on the trail ahead of you, and to take in some amazing views. Your performance on the mountain you climbed last week or last month or last year doesn’t matter – because it’s all about what you are doing right now.’


As part of KEASE Internationals’ ‘Mental Wellness Post Covid-19’ series, we will be hosting a number of webinars which look at leading yourself and leading your team on the road to recovery.

During these sessions we’ll look into what is required to transition back into the workplace and how you can best support your team.  


Wednesday 17th June – 11.00am – 12.00pm (AEST)

Thursday 18th June – 5.30pm – 6.30pm (AEST)


Tuesday 16th June – 5.30pm – 6.30pm (AEST)

Thursday 18th June – 11.00am – 12.00pm (AEST)

KEASE Complimentary Assessment

Affinity Education Group

Brief overview of work done for this company.

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Sarah Yip has an authentic style that has connected with our people at all levels whether in small group workshops or full staff conferences. Sarah has incredible technical knowledge backed up by research or personal experiences. She has become a friend of AFL Queensland and a wonderful support to the development of our leaders and team members.

Dean Warren

Sarah Yip is an authentic, people-focused facilitator that delivers fantastic results for both individuals and organisations. Her leadership courses with AFL Queensland Limited over the past three years has been outstanding. We cannot recommend her highly enough!

Larissa Mouttou
State Manager - Media and Marketing

Residential Tenancies Authority

I recommend Sarah’s workshops to anyone that wants fresh, inspiring and enthusiastic energy unlike any other.

Antonella Spatola
Rental Tenancy Authority

Auswide Bank

Brief overview of work done for this company.

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New Hope Group

We partnered with KEASE International about 3 years ago with an initial engagement to deliver our Frontline leadership program. 

We were very impressed with the high level of delivery of that program which inspired and engaged our supervisors that we quickly realised KEASE International had more to offer our business.   

Since that time, KEASE International consultants have facilitated workshops, undertaken one on one coaching with senior leaders, designed and delivered a bespoke senior leadership program as well as designed and coordinated a leadership event for our senior leaders.

KEASE International is now an integrated part of our organisation with an in-depth understanding of what we do and how we do it along with an appreciation for where we are on our journey and what we are aspiring to achieve. 

They bring latest thinking to collaborate and design targeted and bespoke programs which deliver measurable results for our business.  Along with that expertise they also bring energy and passion and the ability to relate to all levels of leadership.  

Kim Franks

Executive General Manager People

Queensland Government

Sarah was my facilitator on an Emotional Intelligence program.
As my facilitator she made a lasting positive impact on my personal and professional development. 
She has an innate ability to connect with her audience and share knowledge in engaging and innovative ways. 
If you wish to unleash the potential of your workforce and empower your teams, engage the ever inspiring and authentic Sarah at KEASE and watch your workforce thrive. 

Chelsea Akers

Brisbane Marketing

As the People & Culture Manager at Brisbane Marketing; I have been working with Sarah Yip from KEASE International since November 2018 on a range of leadership and culture programs within our organisation.

Sarah is an extremely professional and exceptionally knowledgeable consultant who is well skilled at advising and guiding senior leaders on tackling complex and challenging business problems, from strategic leadership through to culture development and business coaching.

Since joining our team as a preferred consultant, Sarah has continued to wow the leadership team. After our first leadership team off-site in November, which Sarah facilitated, the feedback from across the leadership group was overwhelming, with comments such as: “Sarah is by far the best consultant we’ve ever worked with”, “Sarah was amazing at getting to the crux of the problem and helping us to workshop it”.

Since then, Sarah has continued to support us and has again facilitated another leadership event this year, which again got rave reviews from the team but, importantly we were for the first time really discussing the important issues, which was all down to Sarah’s involvement in the pre-work, agenda and then the delivery of the two and a half day session.

Sarah is able to effectively balance the delicate nature of challenging senior leaders to get them to think and act very differently when they return to the workplace. This is an extraordinary skill that is not to be underestimated.

As a People & Culture Manager in a stand-alone HRM position it’s very hard at times to work through some of the complex issues and problems that all organisations face from a people perspective. Since November, Sarah has become a trusted advisor for me in many ways, she has a way of breaking down the issues and workshopping them through and provides wise counsel of which we (and I) have hugely benefited from.

Overall, Sarah has had a huge impact on our business and we’re looking forward to continuing our partnership with Sarah and KEASE International in to the future.

Abigail Chambers

People & Culture Manager

Elixir Management

As a provider we aim to offer continuous growth and development in our company through various training methods. Sourcing a training facilitator to cater for the different levels of capacity within the industry is extremely challenging. Five years ago, I attended a training session with Sarah Yip who not only inspired but challenged me through her session, five years later, I continue to use her vast array of training and services in every company I have worked for. Each business requiring different outcomes from each session.

A great testament to Sarah is her ability to listen to a small briefing (I don’t have a lot of time) of what we are looking for in each individual training session and tailor it in alignment with out companies’ vision and values, this immensely supports us as a company to eliminate any mixed messages on expectations.

At each of our training sessions we offer a feedback form and every session we are requested by employees for her to attend again. She greets the team with a warm and welcoming energy and connects with each individual ensuring that everyone gets the most out of her sessions.

Her interpersonal skills, knowledge, professionalism and humour merge to keep you captivated anywhere from a few hours to a whole day session. While being very observant of the team, she will often support anyone who might be challenged through the session ensuring that everyone is feeling confident and full of knowledge prior to leaving each session.

I would highly recommend Sarah to any company or individual seeking growth and development for their teams.

Nelesha Brennan

Operations Manager Elixir Management

Bundaberg Brewed Drinks

Brief overview of work done for this company.

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Good Price Pharmacy Warehouse

Brief overview of work done for this company.

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Mervin Chiang

AI & Robotics Guru

I am passionate about creatively turning ideas into business realities. I thrive at helping and mentoring others to do the same.

I work with Senior Managers and business who have the challenge of bringing all things Digital, AI and Robotics into their organisation to stay current and modern. I help them plan for this transition at the strategic, operational and cultural levels.

Ross Fazel

C-Suite Confidential

I am your ‘no-BS’confidential advisor and coach – with a long history of working with ASX200 companies. I am sought-after for my straight-forwardness and objective assessment and advice.

I work with C-Suite and senior leaders who face the challenge of navigating modern business transformation. Armed with an objective eye and a big picture focus, I distil complex scenarios into actions that are easy to understand and implement.

Sarah Yip

Founder KEASE International

For the past 14 years Sarah has created a reputation for innovative learning programs that embed learning outcomes. She is highly sought after for her consultancy, facilitation & public speaking skills throughout Australia and SE Asia. 

Sarah is the accredited principal facilitator for GENOS Ignite, Wiley Everything DiSC, 5 Behaviours of a cohesive team and Productive Conflict programs.

Sarah is well respected on an international level as a subject matter expert in Applied Emotional Intelligence, Mindful Leadership and Applied Positive Psychology in the workplace.

Clients including NEW HOPE Group praise her ability to deliver measurable results. Sarah’s strength is her ability to work in partnership with an organisation and create cutting-edge and relevant learning programs that ensure leaders are equipped to lead in the digital age.

Trang Mai

Virtual Assistant

I am passionate about helping leaders with their administrative needs that is required in maintaining, sustaining and growing a business.

I work with organisations to document processes and work with you on creating business process efficiencies.

Tracey Hawthorn

Workplace Wellbeing Specialist

I am passionate about helping people thrive at work and in their lives.

I work with educators, employees, managers and leaders who have the challenge of understanding and supporting positive mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.

I help to show employees skills on self-awareness and self-management with an emphasis on maintaining a healthy balance with work and life.  I help managers and leaders create a workplace culture that promotes and fosters wellbeing.

Helen Tran-Nguyen

Career Development Consultant

I am passionate about people developing fulfilling careers.

I provide coaching for senior professionals seeking development and transition. Through a human centered approach, I help clients build rewarding careers by challenging their thinking and increasing awareness of self.


Peabody Energy

I attended a leadership program facilitated by Sarah Yip of KEASE International because my career path was starting to include leadership aspects that weren’t covered in my technical qualifications.

Sarah helped me by coaching me over the course of 12 months in the fundamental skills of leadership that I needed to take the next step in my career. She helped fill in the gaps of knowledge I did have around making people and processes, corrected a few misconceptions along the way and gave me a framework that I could use to see the bigger picture.

The result was that I was able to immediately apply the concepts covered with the confidence to get results. Within a year I was successful in an application for a Senior position and am now the leader of a talented and diverse team working across multiple sites. My daily work involves stakeholder engagement, expectations management, budgeting, project management, work scoping, performance management, pitching ideas and mentoring of the team.

Sarah was able to create a safe and encouraging space for a very diverse group to contribute in ways that they wouldn’t normally feel comfortable. She was also able to very quickly understand the group dynamic and the needs of the individuals in the group and expertly tailored her delivery of the material to suit the audience.

I found the experience extremely rewarding as it highlighted my skill areas that needed work and provided me the tools to work with these challenges to overcome them.

I would recommend Sarah Yip of KEASE International to people whose career is moving forward and want to be able to proficiently lead a technical team in this ever changing business world.

Lindsay Smith

Senior Exploration Geologist Peabody Energy