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Coaching through change

As a leader, colleague and coach I find the conversation turns to change - and how to adapt to it - so very often.


Working with my coachees who are leaders I help them identify what stage of the change their team are at. There seem to be a predictable set of responses people go through with change - Kubler Ross and Bridges have two great models and there are a host of others, but they boil down to something like:


Change Stages

Waiting for the shoe to drop

The team knows or suspects a change is coming or that something is going to happen, maybe a town hall has been called and everyone has been asked to attend (more than usual) or there are rumors circulating. There is uncertainty and speculation


Facing Reality

The change is here, it is different the team needs to stop doing some things, keep doing others and start embracing new tasks and/or processes and/or leaders. This is where many of us grieve for the "way things were" or the familiar


Dazed and Confused

The team now understands that what was, has now gone, and the new way is different and not totally understood or clear. Maybe it's knowing who to call or who has signing authority is confusing - what ever the example the team is challenged to get things (that they used to do easily) done


Reevaluation

At this stage the team members are taking a good long look at the "new" normal and asking "does this suit me and my needs, goals and aspirations?" And whatever the answer they are weighing their options too

Buying in

At this point the team have voted with their feet (for now) and are staying. How do you keep them bought in to the new normal?



Managing your team you'll be aware that each stage requires a different approach and a blend of coaching, listening, clarifying and directing, engaging and communicating (up and down) . So how to accomplish that? Well here are some thoughts but I would love to hear what you have to add too!


Leader's Actions


Waiting for the shoe to drop

The leaders' role here is one of communication - letting people what you know (and can share with them) is going on. IF you don't know, say so , that transparency now will pay you back in credibility later. You also need to pass the questions you cannot answer up the chain of command so future communications can answer those questions


Facing Reality

This is the stage that requires the most listening. Listen for why your team feels things are so different. As with most grief, it will pass, albeit slowly, as the team lets go of the past, by listening you get a sense of knowledge gaps (see Dazed and Confused below) and you "honor" the feelings of your team


Dazed and Confused

Using your insights of knowledge of the gaps in your team (that you found by listening), you can look at the new way of doing things and provide clear direction to them so they know what to do and how to do it to minimize the disruption any change can bring


Reevaluation

With your team members evaluating the change, it's impact on their role and how they feel, the leader needs to engage each team member finding out what they like and dislike about the new situation, how the likes benefit them and how the dislikes are to their detriment and then partner with each to maximize the benefit and minimize the detriment. If you were transparent while waiting for the shoe to drop, you'll reap the reward here!


Buying in

With the new normal in place, likely there will be elements that could do with refining or improving. By acting as a coach - letting your team identify the priorities to work on and the methods to achieve their goals, you set the scene for incremental operational improvement and motivate your team to be change ready for the next change



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