Coaching for Change



Even under the best of circumstances, organisational transformations can be challenging.

Time is not the issue. Often, mergers, acquisitions and restructures are carefully planned and executed over a long period for reasons of governance and fiduciary requirements.

Money is not the issue. Companies will mostly enter into such arrangements with cost/benefit issues and success factors carefully considered and budgeted.

No, the main reason why only 30% of transformations are successful (McKinsey Quarterly 2010) is the lack of organisations’ preparedness for change and the inability of senior managers to deal effectively with integration of the new structure.

Significant company change initiatives will require major shifts in strategy, structural reorganisation, and potentially downsizing and layoffs. The obvious challenges at such times are maintaining a business-as-usual mindset, keeping focus and maximising productivity.

Out of this comes the imperative to keep high levels of employee engagement and motivation in the face of uncertainty, insufficient communication and an unclear future.

At times like this, even the most accomplished manager will require support to hone the skills needed to lead their teams through the change and to minimise disruption. Leaders will also need to understand and manage their own reactions, because ultimately they are responsible for facilitating quality conversations with their people aimed at:

  • Successfully navigating through the change;
  • Giving them clarity about their own future; and
  • Ensuring long-term effective contribution beyond the immediate effects of the restructure.

An investment in coaching for senior management at such times can make the difference between just coping and flourishing through the challenge, as well as contributing to longer-term leadership effectiveness beyond the immediate needs of the restructure.

Coaching will provide invaluable support to managers in key areas such as:

  • Understanding why change is hard
  • Effectively managing their own and their teams’ emotions
  • Helping their people see the future through a positive frame
  • Conducting tough conversations in an engaging and supportive manner
  • Assisting their teams in maintaining focus, attention and motivation in order to maximise engagement and learning

Senior managers have an enormous responsibility to guarantee successful outcomes through change. Effective coaching in leading through change can help people feel safe, assist in helping everyone perform to their best as well as acknowledge how they are growing, learning and keeping a mindset that maintains engagement and improved performance.

Posted by Bob Pierce

See previously: Coaching for Leadership

Coming next: How do you define ROI on Coaching?

BonnieSue Nevin

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