Change can create havoc. It can kill the spirit of an organization if not well managed. At the very time when an organization needs the best performance out of their people, change sometimes leaves job commitment lying wounded and weak.
But change can be used to charge up the organization. That’s because change opens up doors to people’s hearts and minds that otherwise might stay forever locked. The secret is to meet people at their point of need. That’s what Coaching through Change is all about.
The secret is to meet people at their point of need.
Coaching through change helps us to manage to the moment…bring what’s missing, repair what’s been damaged, and we move quickly. We need people to invest themselves fully in their work, to deliver dramatic results and build a burning level of job commitment. It’s our chance to create fire!
Often the single greatest obstacle to change is the perception of those affected by the change itself. Typically, denial happens when people don’t see the need for the change. When change is pushed through, resistance occurs when there is a perception that the change harms people’s interests (by reducing power, affecting job security and/or income, loss of a relationship, etc). Often, the change is not being communicated honestly.
Image: Phases of Change
Therefore, when managing change, Leaders and Coaches, need to ask:
What’s in it for those affected by the change? If the answer is “nothing”, expect denial.
Can we communicate honestly and completely about the change? If the answer is “no”, expect resistance.
People will fill in the information gaps with their own interpretations, which will usually be unfavourable to the change we wish to make. We need to take an honest look at the situation. And we need to energise employees, build productivity, increase job satisfaction and strengthen teamwork.
It is important to coach people differently, based upon their state of change, state of learning/development and their level of performance. Employees who are impacted by change typically goes through several stages of awareness and performance and Leaders and Coaches need to recognise them and apply the appropriate coaching approaches.
Coach through Change Process
Coaching through change is not a linear process; the goal however, is to move people along the performance transition curve, but leaders and coaches can re-visit earlier stages as appropriate to their development.
When someone is in a Denial stage, coaching has to be directing especially when employees appear not to care. When employees are Resistant and disagree with feedback, we understand them, but continue to instruct even as they may be hostile. These two initial stages are usually temporary and they will come to Acceptance as they want to be able to contribute. No one comes to work to do a bad job. So leaders need to support them and help them manage the change and set short-term goals.
As employees explore and take risk going forward, leaders and coaches can encourage, reinforce and work on medium and longer term goals. As commitment climbs, leaders and coaches can then stretch and facilitate the progress. Mentoring will be a coaching style adopted with effective performers. The key is Asking Questions and Providing Feedback along the way.
There is always a better way of engaging employees during change and Leaders and Coaches can add value by adopting an appreciative approach to nourishing commitment.
Written by: Simon Lee
Accredited Master Executive Coach, AC
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