“Change is hard,” explains Madeleine Homan-Blanchard in a new article for Chief Learning Officer. And being asked to help someone change is a tough assignment—especially when that someone is a senior leader in your organization—just ask anyone responsible for learning and development and they’ll tell you.
Have you been asked to help someone change?
Here are five suggestions from Homan-Blanchard that will give you your best chance for success.
1. Begin with data and dialogue. Business leaders live and die by the numbers. One of the only ways a leader will agree that change is needed is by being presented with unequivocal data and feedback.
2. Make it relevant. Leaders need to understand how their efforts to make and sustain any change will pay off. For instance, the investment is worth it because it will increase their business results or make their work days easier.
3. Mix it up and customize. Because each leader is growing and learning at a different pace across a spectrum of skill sets, learning leaders need to be prepared with a blended approach that uses all available resources, including online learning, classroom experiences, cohort or peer coaching, professional coaching and mentoring.
4. Consequences matter. Culture also plays a substantial role in effective leader development. Be clear that certain leadership behaviors are non-negotiable and even cause for dismissal.
5. Respect must be earned. Learning leaders who seek to support leaders’ change efforts need to be role models for growth and change, too.
Helping another person change requires clear direction, support, and accountability over time. It also requires a proven process. In an upcoming virtual workshop for leaders looking to identify and change unwanted leadership behaviors Homan-Blanchard outlines three key strategies individual leaders can use to manage their own change.
1. Identify behaviors that need to change. Articulate the gap. Put words to where you are now, and where you want to be. This helps you to understand the nature of the shift you need to make and keeps it real.
2. Practice your new behavior. Start in a safe environment with people you trust. Tell people that you are trying something new. Ask for help in tweaking your new behavior. Ask for support in identifying triggers, and in holding yourself accountable. Remember that you will not be good at your new behavior. Try on new things one at a time. You can make a lot of changes, just not all at once. Give yourself a chance to master one thing first—then you can move on to the next thing.
3. Try on your new behavior in a real-life setting. Promise yourself to do it ONCE, either once a day, once per opportunity, etc. Define a minimum for yourself and reward yourself every time you do it. Be kind to yourself throughout the process. Real change is hard, but worth the effort.
Coaching is an act of service
Helping someone change requires a service mindset. The process can be challenging, but also very rewarding when you can help people identify and modify behaviors that may be holding them back in their careers. To learn more about Homan-Blanchard’s advice for facilitating change, be sure to check out her article, How Do You Get Leaders to Change? Also, be sure to check out her upcoming online workshop, Taking the “Un” Out of Your Un-Leaderlike Moments.