In our coaching practice we often coach leaders who are dealing with change in their organizations. One universal coaching truth we share with our clients is change starts with you.
What do you need to say and do differently for your team to believe change is real? How do you demonstrate your commitment to achieving the change target? How do you personally demonstrate initiative to gain support for the resources needed?
Here are a few other coaching concepts to consider if you are a leader managing change.
- Identify challenges. What needs to be solved? When we ask clients what problem needs solving they will usually identify what they see only through their lens. Who else and what stakeholder groups should also be consulted? Make sure you have clearly articulated the problem before you begin to focus on the change needed.
- Listen. Listen and listen some more. In addition to asking questions, enter each conversation with the intention of learning something new and being influenced. Consider writing out your list of questions to help identify what you want to learn from the conversation.
- Identify top areas for change. Narrowing a long list of potential change areas down to an important few is hard. When you look across the stakeholders your team serves, what change will have the greatest return? As an example, one leader I coached saw a need for information sharing that spanned across sales, project management, and professional services. This leader knew if she could create a system for information sharing across those groups, it would be a significant win. She focused on the problem and need for each group and worked with Information Services to create a system that gave everyone access to the information they needed, which saved time and reduced frustration.
- Create goals that align with the new direction. It may go without saying that in order to have everyone aiming for the same bull’s eye, each person needs to understand their own role and responsibility for achieving the goal. Goal setting is often suggested; yet, in our research, alignment is rarely better than 80 percent. Spend the time to identify what each person on the team needs to do—their key responsibilities and goals—in order for the team to be successful.
- Create a metric dashboard and manage to it. What do you need to measure to ensure you are succeeding in the change effort? What are the leading and lagging metrics that paint the picture of success? In team and one on one meetings, put up the top areas for change and discuss the metrics.
What I’ve focused on here are some tools a leader can use when managing a team through change. Note that all of these concepts require effective and productive relationships—because change happens through people. Take a coach approach to increase your success with your next change effort. It works well for individual change as well as organizational change.
About the Author
Joni Wickline is Vice President, International Growth with The Ken Blanchard Companies. You can read Wickline’s posts as a part of Coaching Tuesday here at Blanchard LeaderChat for ideas, research, and inspirations from the world of executive coaching.