A Practical Guide to Creating a Change Management Plan (Part 5 – Building the Coaching Strategy)

It is much easier to implement change within an organization when the change is led by internal resources (check out my previous post: Building the Engagement Strategy). The coaching stream is incorporated into my change plan when internal leaders have not yet acquired the skills, knowledge and capabilities to effectively lead their employees through change.


What is Coaching?
Coaching is a teaching process by which a coachee is getting support from a coach while learning to achieve new capabilities. I personally believe that the single most important element as a coach, whether it be in sports or in business, is caring. If you genuinely care about the person you are coaching, you will be able to unlock their full potential.

How is coaching different from training?
It is very easy to confuse coaching and training. Training has more to do with teaching people new concepts and hands-on skills. Coaching, on the other hand, has more to do with utilizing their new-found knowledge (and existing expertise) to awaken their full potential. I typically provide training opportunities on change management prior to coaching individuals through leading a change effort.

A disclaimer – coaching is a two-way relationship
There is a certain level of chemistry that is needed for a coaching relationship to take place. Without positive vibes felt by both parties, the coaching relationship will not happen. This is ok. You can’t expect to have a perfect balance of coaching relationships on every change effort. Just be thankful that those that do connect well will make the change initiative a little easier. As for the other leaders that aren’t so lucky, a different set of tactics will need to be adopted to move the change in the right direction.

So what’s my coaching strategy?
I usually follow an informal approach to coaching leaders and managers through a change initiative. Coaching is one of the five streams I utilize to move a change initiative forward. It’s not my full time job (Not yet anyway). Full time business coaches follow a more formal approach which incorporates such things as a written agreement between the coach and the coachee. The written agreement, or contract, captures the objectives and goals of the relationship, the preferred interaction/ communication between the two parties, the duration of meetings, the coaching program, metrics to measure improvements, confidentiality, legal agreements, etc…

My coaching strategy is simple. Once I’ve taken a stab at identifying all impacted stakeholders in the company (as explained in one of my previous posts – A Practical Guide to Creating a Change Management Plan), I identify all of the leaders, managers and team leaders that are in a position to lead the change. Once I’ve pinpointed these individuals, I look at ways to start a dialogue with them to understand their level of understanding and experience in managing change. With this information, I’m equipped to produce a personal coaching strategy that is catered to each of the targeted change leaders needs. For example, one individual may prefer to discuss their performance at the end of the meeting when everyone has left the room. Another individual might prefer a weekly call to review their activities and questions that have been collected in a note book. Different strokes for different folks.

In Summary
Here is my informal coaching strategy in step-by-step format:
1) Identify the change leaders – (often based on stakeholder impact assessment)
2) Keep an open dialogue with the leaders impacted by the change
3) Evaluate (informally) the management competencies of the change leaders
4) Identify tactics and approach to increase change management capabilities for each of the targeted change leaders
5) Create an environment that invites a coaching platform. Formulate supporting mechanism for coaching opportunities
6) Identify the activities and metrics to measure change management coaching success

Hope this helps in formulating your next coaching strategy. Another post will describe the coaching plan often generated by this strategy. Stay tuned for my next post on building a transition management strategy.

Posts related to this series – Change Strategy:
1. A Practical Guide to Creating a Change Management Plan
2. Part 2 – Building the Engagement Strategy
3. Part 3 – Building the Communication Strategy
4. Part 4 – Building the Training Strategy
5. Part 5 – Building the Coaching Strategy
6. Part 6 – Building the Transition Strategy

Click here to have new articles sent straight to your inbox.
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net