Team member to team leader

How do you transition from a team member to a team leader?

Coaching and mentoring Rachel*, a newly appointed team leader, has been a very interesting assignment. Rachel is a comparatively young woman whose boss appointed her to a leadership position on the basis of her potential. When I first met with Rachel, she was already well advanced in identifying the steps she needed to take to move successfully from being a member of a tight-knit team to the leader of it.

The first challenge Rachel identified for herself was letting go of her friendship group at work, a tough decision. In every workplace, people develop friendships with some of the people they work with, but not all. Rachel realised that if she continued in her strong friendships with some members of the team, this could easily be perceived as favouritism by the others. Rachel decided to take the courageous step of speaking with her friends, to explain the situation, and making sure that when there were social events, everyone was invited. If they met as a smaller group, Rachel decided she couldn’t attend.

The second was identifying the behaviours that were holding back some of her former team mates from delivering effectively in a very high-volume work environment. These behaviours ranged from people who didn’t pull their weight to people who were trying to work 24/7 and not coping. Rachel put performance plans in place for each team member to hold them accountable for what they were meant to do as well as helping those who were over-working to pull back. Rachel made a point of ensuring her own manager was part of developing this strategy because of the risks involved.

The third challenge is one new team leaders encounter constantly. With a need to make her team more efficient, Rachel had to find and implement new ways of doing business: she had to lead organisational change for the first time. Unsurprisingly, this met with considerable resistance from some members of the team, who wanted to enshrine the virtue of ‘the way we’ve always done things round here’. Putting in place the changes she needed to make, when she had herself been part of the old process, was a considerable challenge for Rachel. She didn’t want to look like a hypocrite, so effective communication was essential.

What was the role of a coach and mentor with a client who was already so far progressed in finding strategies to make the transition from team member to team leader? In fact, I asked her this very question. She told me there were two things she wanted my help with. The first was as a sounding board, so she could outline the steps she proposed to take to test if they were the right ones and in the right order.

The second was to work with her on how to achieve her strategies for change. Although she was already a very effective communicator, she wanted my help to refine her messages to the team about what needed to be done and why.

The third was to help her evaluate her approaches, to workshop with her what worked and what didn’t and, where things had not gone according to plan, help her to check the strategies were the right ones. On the basis of this evaluation, she also wanted assistance with deciding whether to press on, modify the approach, or let go of a strategy and try a different approach altogether.

Coaching such an effective young leader has been an inspiring task. As I said to Rachel, my only question is not whether she will become an effective leader but what organisation she will end up leading.

Contributor: Dr Catherine Burrows is a Sydney-based executive coach, available in Wollongong, Newcastle, Western NSW and other areas by arrangement. Catherine is a co-founder of Executive Coach Exchange and the CEO and owner of Innoverum independent consulting.

*Rachel is not the name of an actual client. This case study is an amalgam of work undertaken with new and aspiring team leaders.

Leadership series – Phil Cox

This week we continue our leadership series with an interview with Phil Cox. Phil currently holds Directorships at the Hunter Valley Training Company, the Lake Macquarie Foundation and the Honeysuckle Community Group. Prior to this, Phil was the Director of Hunter TAFE, where he used staff development to achieve significant cultural change in his organisation. We asked Phil to talk to us about this.

Phil Cox – achieving cultural change through leadership development

Executive Coach Exchange Phil Cox
Phil Cox

Phil told us that when he was appointed as Institute Director (a position equivalent to CEO at an institution with around 60,000 enrolments), he found a workplace culture which suited the previous incumbent but did not suit his personal leadership style. He found the culture rather hierarchical, where successors were identified more on their seniority than through a structured succession plan. He also found senior people in roles that he felt they were not best suited to, so he commenced the change process using restructuring. While some people chose to move on, others found a new and more appropriate role within the organisation.

Phil’s next step was to create a Developing Leaders Program, with the focus placed firmly on emerging leaders, rather than the existing leadership team. A consultant was brought in to help develop the program and to collect extensive data on the participants. Phil emphasised that the support and involvement of the Deputy Institute Director was integral to the ongoing success of the program.

It was a full-year program, run over 5 years, with up to 45 participants a year. While some program elements will sound familiar, others will not:

  1. The program commenced with a process of research, assessment of current leadership culture and staff consultation to identify 10 leadership effectiveness behaviours.
  2. The program was open to everyone. All staff were encouraged to apply, whether they were permanent or temporary, full-time or part-time; and from all levels of the organisation.
  3. Phil launched the program personally, using emails, podcasts and visits to most of the 15 campuses to promote it.
  4. Applications were assessed against the 10-point behaviour plan, which ensured the focus was on potential rather than past achievement.
  5. Despite his demanding role, Phil personally interviewed all short listed applicants and devoted 3 days, 3 times a year to the program. He was involved in both the initial interview and in robust follow-up discussions on the participants’ development plans, ideas and innovation.
  6. Tools including the Birkman Method and Leadership Effectiveness Analysis 360 degree evaluations were used, and repeated during the year to assess progress.
  7. Development Action Plans were established for each participant in consultation with the consultant. All participants discussed these Action Plans withthe Executive Strategy Group – comprising the CEO, the CEO of a partner institution and a member of the Institute’s Advisory Committee, ensuring an external focus on the interests of clients.
  8. The consultant was available as a ‘help line’ for participants and discussed emerging issues with Phil regularly. The consultant also provided 1:1 coaching to all participants.
  9. Participants were given projects to undertake which allowed them to experience new roles and experiment with new ideas.
  10. Participants were also given opportunities to act in other positions, based on their career Action Plans rather than on seniority, and were supported in these roles.

Clearly, this was a program designed to implement major cultural change, with the CEO at the centre of the experience.

We asked about the outcomes. Phil said that the majority of the participants are now in leadership roles, either within the organisation or elsewhere. People who wanted a career change were encouraged to try new roles. Phil gave the examples of a part-time security guard who now works in a specialist support role; and two IT technical specialists, one of whom moved into marketing and the other into a faculty leadership role in Tourism and Hospitality.

The participants were highly motivated and were empowered to become change agents. Phil said he saw positive changes every week, as the desired new behaviours were increasingly adopted throughout the Institute.

The final benefit was for Phil, himself. Phil told us he found the enthusiasm of the participants infectious. For Phil, the program was exciting and motivating and it was very clear that this Leadership Program was one of the most rewarding aspects of his work at Hunter TAFE.

To improve diversity, do we need to remove the human element?

Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported on Unilever’s novel approach to diversify its candidate pool for entry level positions.

Unilever’s strategy, implemented in 2016, saw the company move away from on-campus recruiting and the submission of resumes. Unilever had traditionally focused on recruiting from a small number of colleges, using recruiters for the process.

Executive Coach Exchange faces geralt pixabay
Can automation reduce bias in the hiring process?

Instead, Unilever placed ads on social media and job search sites, then invited candidates to apply directly. The application software uploaded information directly from the candidates’ LinkedIn profiles.

In a further departure from the usual recruitment process, downselected candidates were then asked to play a series of online games which assessed issues such as concentration and short-term memory. The next step was to submit a video interview; the software assessed response times, facial expressions and vocabulary.

After these steps were completed, candidates participated in their first and last interview with HR and management personnel.

Unilever stated that this process increased the percentage of overall candidates who received and accepted job offers (as well as increasing efficiency in the hiring process). The number of colleges in the applicant pool increased significantly and the anecdotal experience of Unilever management was that the successful candidates were as strong as, or stronger than, previous intakes.

Unilever’s initial view is that this process has great potential for reducing bias in the hiring process.  As the WSJ article points out, human input into the software naturally involves bias in the choice and weighting of desired characteristics (facial expressions and vocabulary would be particularly prone to issues here); and software is not capable of recognising and compensating for the bias of its inputs or programmers. However, even if the process only increases the number of colleges represented, it would have a positive effect in opening up the talent pool.

In addition, the conscious effort involved in identifying and encoding desired characteristics has great potential to help organisations understand their own culture.

Next week we will look at recent reporting on what happens when organisations try to predict whether new leaders will fit within their culture.



Dealing with difficult people in your meeting

Over the last two weeks, we’ve looked at planning your meeting, and running and reflecting on your meeting.

This week’s post is a more detailed look at dealing with difficult people in your meeting.

Executive Coach Exchange sheep pixabay malcolumbus
Don’t assume that everyone in your meeting will follow the flock.

It can be useful to think of your meeting attendees in 3 main groups.

  1. The disruptive

There are a number of factors which may lead meeting attendees to disrupt the agenda.

Some people will seek to dominate the meeting, out of habit or because they don’t recognise your authority or the validity of other viewpoints.  If this happens, it will mean that your voice and the voices of other attendees are not being effectively heard.

It’s your meeting – it’s important to enforce time limits, call for other points of view and actively manage someone who is dominating the discussion. Don’t let them become your focus; others in the room will want your meeting to be successful. If you keep focusing on the disruptive, you will give them control of the agenda.

Others will argue with the points you’re putting forward and it’s important to make an assessment of why this is happening.  We’ve written previously about the importance of distinguishing between obstructionists and sceptics, and embracing the genuine sceptics.  Part of this work will have to happen outside the meeting, but meetings themselves are a valuable source of information about the motivations of those who disrupt them.

Don’t expect to turn around disruptive behaviours in one session, but a consistent, assertive approach will see you getting your meetings back on track.

2. The disengaged

Bored? Distracted? Negative? Looking for a way out? Or uncomfortable with conflict?

It’s critically important not to just call out or disparage the disengaged as you risk causing someone who was temporarily distracted, unhappy or unconvinced, to move towards being a member of the disruptive group.

You also don’t know whether they are keeping a low profile due to conflict with other meeting attendees, or because their management’s viewpoint is not aligned with yours.

In our previous posts on meetings, we talked about planning for breaks to allow people to recharge and manage their distractions.  If you’ve done this and people are still appearing to be switched off, or holding side conversations, you need to take responsibility for bringing the focus of the distracted back to the meeting without engaging in personal criticism.

You may need:

  • to make a genuine call for input;
  • to allow time on the agenda for this group to present their opinions formally;
  • or it may be that you need to take tighter control of the agenda because this group has switched off – potentially because the disruptive group is dominating the conversation in a way that makes them uncomfortable or even distressed.

If you can gain understanding of whether the disengagement is due to personal or professional reasons, and whether it’s temporary or ongoing, you can address disengagement appropriately, maintaining the respect of the disengaged individuals and the group as a whole.

Most importantly, in planning for and dealing with the disruptive and the disengaged, don’t forget a third group:

3. Your supporters

Sometimes when the disruptive and the disengaged are taking up a lot of time and focus, it’s easy to take your supporters for granted.  However, you need to minimise the distractions posed by the other groups as it’s your supporters who will help you move through your agenda and achieve your goals.

In our change management series, we also wrote about looking at the motivations of your supporters.  When you are trying to achieve change through meetings, it’s important to understand why your supporters support you and to ensure you’re managing their concerns and interests appropriately, so that their support for you and your goals continues.

An executive coach can work with you to understand the motivations of your meeting group, work through scenarios and practice assertiveness skills to ensure that your meetings achieve your goals no matter who attends.

What are you looking for in an executive coach?

Executive Coach Exchange doors pixabay qimonoAs you start your search for an executive coach, have you jotted down some ideas about what you are looking for?

  1. Guidance on a challenging work issue

Do you need help to make your communication with team members more effective? Or perhaps you are dealing with a person you just can’t seem to get along with? Working with an executive coach can provide you with insights on how to manage these situations, and on how to build and maintain effective relationships, which can provide you with huge benefits and make your workplace more rewarding and enjoyable.

2.  A mentor

A mentor is usually someone working in your organisation who can give you an insider’s view, while a coach usually comes from an external organisation. However, an executive coach who has worked in your industry or sector can be invaluable, bringing both objectivity and relevant experience, and combining the skills of coach and mentor.

  1. Career progression

Making the transition from team member to team leader is one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do in your career. Reporting to a board for the first time can be a very daunting experience. An executive coach can assist you to adjust your approach to meet your new challenges.

  1. Leading organisational change

Today, organisational change is a constant. Leaders need to be able to establish a new course for their organisation and implement change effectively and efficiently. Managers at all levels of an organisation are expected to lead their teams effectively during times of organisational change. An executive coach can be a trusted ally who provides a confidential environment for you to test your concepts and work through the challenges of leading change.

  1. Help with career transition

Taking the big step to move a new career, either by choice or as the result of a redundancy, is extremely challenging, both emotionally and professionally. When you have been an expert in your field, the first year in a new sector can make you doubt your ability and question your self-confidence. An executive coach with experience in career transition can help you make your change successful.


Starting out with some ideas about what you are looking for will make it easier for you to find the right coach. Different coaches bring different skills and experience. Some coaches specialise in particular skills, like team building, or strategy and business planning. Others work with particular professions, such as lawyers or doctors, or particular sectors, like government. Others still focus on particular points in your career, like on-boarding or career transition. At Executive Coach Exchange you will find a diverse group of executive coaches who cover all these area and more.

Don’t make your plan too detailed and inflexible, however. A coach can shed new light on an old issue and help you see it differently. The process of working with an executive coach can be a catalyst for change.

How does short-termism affect performance?

Does managing with a short term view affect performance compared to managing for the long term? McKinsey Global Institute and FLCT Global have recently published the results of their research showing that surveyed companies with a long term view consistently outperformed their short term peers across most financial measures from 2001 to 2014.

The long term companies had the following results by 2014:

  • average revenue growth – 47% higher;
  • average earnings growth – 36% higher; and
  • average market capitalisation – 58% higher.

Executive Coach Exchange pixabay unsplash viewThey also added nearly 12,000 more jobs on average than their peers from 2001 to 2015.

What were the criteria used to judge whether a company had a long term view?

The research focussed on companies that were large enough to be under short-term pressure from investors, boards and others, with market capitalisation of over US$5 billion in at least one year during the survey period. They were evaluated against industry peers in an attempt to remove other factors that would affect performance.

The survey was based on five key assumptions:

  • Investment – ratio of capital expenditure to depreciation – assuming that long-term view companies will invest more, and more consistently.
  • Earnings quality – accruals against revenue – assuming that long-term view companies will prefer cash flow rather than accounting decisions.
  • Margin growth – assuming that long-term companies are less likely to seek unsustainable margin growth.
  • Earnings growth – assuming that long-term companies will prioritise the absolute rise of earnings over earnings per share.
  • Quarterly targeting – the incidence of making, or missing, earnings-per-share targets by less than US$0.02. This is based on the interesting assumption that long term companies are less likely to make an all-out effort to hit earnings targets by small amounts, where doing so will divert resources from greater business needs. They are correspondingly more likely to miss earnings targets by small amounts, which could have easily been achieved with the same diversion of resources.

Indicators of short-termism included:

  • cutting discretionary spending, and delaying new value-adding projects, to avoid earnings misses;
  • higher levels of stock buybacks; and
  • lower capital investment.

The study acknowledges that there are limitations in the methodology, as the assumptions had to be based on hypotheses about how a company with a long term view might behave compared to one with a short term view, and the study showed correlation rather than causation. The study was also based on US companies only.

Interestingly, the short-termists outperformed the long-termists in the financial crisis of 2008, with the long term companies taking greater share price hits, but in the following period the long-termists’ recovery was significantly better as they added an average of $7 billion more in market capitalisation than their competitors.

But perhaps the most thought-provoking findings were about those companies that began the survey period with a short term view, but gradually migrated to the long term category. The leaders of 14% of the companies in the survey were able to shift their companies’ behaviours from short to long term, with corresponding performance improvements.

The authors will next be focussing on finding out what practical steps these leaders took to achieve this turnaround.

Organisational change – Part 3 – working with champions

In Part 1 we looked at the differences between obstructionists and sceptics, and in Part 2, how to work with sceptics to achieve great outcomes. In this post, we will look at champions of change.

Why does someone become a champion? Champions are ready for change and your ideas resonate with them:

  • They may have experienced the same frustrations or problems that you have
  • They may have seen the same data as you and reached the same conclusions
  • They may have been dealing with customer complaints and so understand the imperatives for improvement
  • Or perhaps they understand the political externalities that are driving your change.

Executive Coach Exchange team startupstockphotos pixabaySome will also be new to the organisation and have no allegiance to the old ways of doing business. Generally speaking, seniority doesn’t determine a team member’s attitude to change: you will find champions at all levels of your organisation.

Champions believe in your change and they have faith in you to deliver it, so it is essential that you support them as they encounter difficulties implementing your change. Like you, champions will find working with sceptics difficult, time-consuming and trying.

Champions may dismiss objections raised by the sceptics, failing to listen for what is useful in their concerns. If this occurs, especially in the case of newer team members, the old hands will dismiss the champions in turn. Great champions need to learn to embrace the sceptics. Your role will be to model the behaviour you expect to see and to equip the champions with the skills they need.

There are other people who are sometimes confused with champions. Some team members will support your change as long as they perceive you to be sufficiently powerful to take them with you as your career progresses. They don’t need to believe in the change: it is sufficient for them to believe it will be personally and professionally advantageous to support you. They will quickly decide to support you all the way – until there is a bump in the road, at which point their support may be withdrawn just as quickly.

For this reason, it’s important to check the motivations of those team members who are enthusiastically embracing your change program.

Ask yourself how they have come to the conclusion that change is needed and why your proposal is the best approach. Or better yet, ask them. A true champion will have genuine personal and professional reasons for supporting your change, even if they have some difficulty in articulating these. A less sincere supporter will probably have a facile answer which they think is what you will want to hear. By asking probing questions and listening carefully to their answers, you will be able to find the champions you need to get your work done.

Working with an executive coach can be extremely beneficial here. Because coaches come from outside your organisation, they can bring an objectivity to the process. An executive coach can help you build an understanding of whether the people putting themselves forward as champions get the rationale behind your change or whether they have a history of following their leaders, no matter what change has been implemented.

An executive coach can help you build a framework to decide how to assign critical tasks, and develop a plan for better engagement of the less sincere supporters.

Sometimes events can overtake your change so that it does not come to fruition. Champions of your program for change will be at least as disappointed as you. They may have put themselves on the line for you and may have faced significant opposition. In appropriate situations, they will have let your customers know about the improvements that were coming and realise how frustrated those customers will now be. They will also be facing the obstructionists who will no doubt tell them, “I told you so.”

In this situation, it is essential that you support them. Explaining the situation clearly and effectively to the people who have been helping you implement your change, both champions and sceptics alike, is essential. Let them know what has occurred that makes the change impossible and allow them to express their feelings to you. After all, when the next change needs to be implemented, you will want trusted allies who believe in you and your efforts to improve the organisation.

An executive coach can help you:

  • build your skills in these difficult communication tasks
  • find the best ways to deliver the bad news to your staff and
  • assist you to find positive approaches to listening as they express their frustrations.With these skills you will be able to engage your champions in a way that allows them to continue to be your champions now and into the future.

Organisational change – Part 2 – how sceptics can help you

Executive Coach Exchange meeting james oladujoye pixabayIn Part 1, we looked at the difference between people who are obstructionist and people who are true sceptics. In Part 2, we are looking at how sceptics can help you implement your change.

Learning how to listen and who to listen to are skills leaders need to master. Combined with effective staff communication, they form an extremely powerful skillset, one which executive coaches can certainly help you to build and enhance.

Without these skills, a leader trying to implement organisational change can quickly find themselves in deep trouble. Which of these scenarios would you rather be part of?

Scenario 1: You are in the middle of a media storm, defending your recent changes, and one of your staff says, ‘”We told them ‘sh*t’, that’s not going to work when they explained how the computer was going to do the work and said that it was going to misrepresent people’s income and lead to incorrect debts going out, but they just told us “computers and data can’t be wrong”.

‘”They…weren’t interested in hearing what we thought about it.”‘ (“‘They don’t care about average Australians’: Centrelink staffer speaks out about debt controversy.” Sydney Morning Herald, 11/1/2017)

Scenario 2: A member of your staff keeps protesting about a new approach. They say, ‘”I still don’t like the idea.”

‘You reply, “Which is a good thing. … That means you’ll make sure we don’t mess this up.”‘ (From Ryan, E. 2014. The Courbet Connection. p. 113)

Working with early adopters, the champions of your change, is exciting and rewarding. These are the people leaders trust to get things done. They understand your ideas and see your imperatives. People who get on board make your life easier and make it seem that everything will go smoothly.

In contrast, dealing with sceptics is time-consuming. Their failure to see what you can see, the advantages of your ideas, can be frustrating, irritating and dull. They make your life more difficult and seem determined to find every possible impediment to your change.

When you are working to a tight time-frame, the need to move things along can seem like the most important priority. However, if you don’t get it right, you can find yourself in the middle of Scenario 1, defending a system which, it appears in this case, is not working. Worse still, based on the media report, the public will assume you knew it wouldn’t work and didn’t listen. This assumption may not be correct but, unfair or not, this is what people will remember.

In contrast, in Scenario 2, you have outlined your proposal for change and invited feedback. You have listened carefully to the opposing view and demonstrated you have considered it. You have shown you respect the staff member’s right to disagree. Nevertheless, you have decided to proceed. This is powerful because, if you communicate this properly, your staff member will know their view was taken into account.

What is more powerful is that you have authorised your sceptic to help you get it right. All this takes time but, if you consider consulting the sceptics as being like ‘beta-testing’ rather than finding barriers, you’ll know you have a better chance of getting a better outcome.

There is one further stage in embracing the sceptics. Leaders often focus on the negative response of sceptics and question their motivation. However, few leaders question the motivation of the champions. Because their response is so positive, leaders tend not to ask why champions are eager to get on board. Is it because they can see your true genius? Or is it a case of “Always back the horse named self-interest, son. It’ll be the only one trying.” (Jack Lang)

An executive coach can help you step outside the situation, observe from different angles, and identify your own motivations and those of your team members before acting.

In Scenario 2, the leader goes on to say, “Thank you for being the only sensible one in this group and insisting on telling me.” The sceptic replies, “We’re a team.” (Ryan, ibid.)

It may be a difficult process – but how much more effective your change will be when your sceptics have tested it from every angle and let you know, however grudgingly, that with a few modifications it will work.

Organisational change – Part 1 – embracing the sceptics

Executive Coach Exchange officeLeaders almost always need to introduce significant change at some point during their tenure. We have all heard the stories about businesses which failed to change before it was too late.

When change is needed, leaders often set out the agenda and, having ensured their authorising environment is on board, commence implementation. They find supporters who are as enthusiastic for the change as they are. These people become champions of the change: they are effectively the leader’s delegates for ensuring the success of the implementation. Leaders hope their champions’ enthusiasm will become infectious, so everyone gets on board. But hope isn’t a strategy.

What about the people who don’t get on board? The sceptics? The naysayers? The down-right obstructionist? Common practice is for the leader and the champions to sideline these people. But what if they actually have something useful to contribute?

Our research has shown that the sceptics really fall into two groups.

One group have made up their minds: nothing you say can shift them. They are effectively obstructionist and may even have an agenda which is not in line with the best interests of the organisation.

But the others are true sceptics. They are not telling you they think your idea for change is bad. They are telling you that you have – so far at least – failed to convince them.

Perhaps they can see some flaws in the process you have designed. Perhaps they are aware of something that you are not aware of. Maybe if you communicated your idea in a different way, they could move from scepticism to acceptance, and even to championing your change. In fact, they may be able to contribute ideas which will make your organisational change work better and deliver better results.

An executive coach can help you determine how best to work with your staff to ensure necessary change is implemented effectively and efficiently. An executive coach can help you find ways to determine who is a sceptic and what you need to do to bring them along with you, as you implement that vital change for your organisation.

In Part 2 of this topic, we will look at how sceptics can help you implement your change.

How executive coaches can support organisational change

Executive Coach Exchange change SD-Pictures PixabayCEB Global recently released a well-publicised whitepaper on issues with traditional top-down change management processes and the benefits of an inclusive, employee-driven approach.

The whitepaper sets out a compelling case for inclusive change management, with findings including the following:

  • the average organisation has undergone 5 significant changes in the previous 3 years, including restructures, expansion and leadership transition. This frequency of change highlights the need for ongoing, adaptable change management processes rather than one-off approaches.
  • of 400 change initiatives reviewed in the whitepaper, based on self-reporting by the organisations, only 34% were rated as clear successes, with 50% identified as clear failures.
  • surprisingly, the majority of employees report that they are willing to adapt their own behaviour to support organisational change.
  • despite this willingness by team members, previous restructures have created flattened management structures with complex interdependencies and multiple reporting lines, meaning that change in organisations is less able to be managed by a top-down approach now than in the past.How can executive coaches facilitate successful organisational change?

    An executive coach can be a powerful catalyst to help leaders examine how they can be more effective, especially in times of organisational change. By working with senior management to help them understand better when and how to delegate well, executive coaches can facilitate improved leadership in flattened management hierarchies. In a flattened hierarchy, a top-down management approach can easily become a command-and-control approach. Research has shown that this model of management is ineffective. In our experience, command-and-control stifles creativity, undermines trust and demotivates staff. This in turn risks the success of the organisational change.

    Some leaders feel such a sense of responsibility, they believe they can’t afford to delegate. In times of change, however, appropriate delegation is vital:

  • if leaders don’t delegate, their business will atrophy and they risk collapse themselves.
  • if managers don’t trust their staff, staff are unlikely to trust their managers.
  • if staff don’t trust the leadership, they won’t trust their communication, particularly when times are tough.In times of change, people can find communication very challenging. Are staff members hearing the message the executive wants to give? If not, what is impeding good communication? How could it be improved? An executive coach can work with leaders on whether their communication with staff about the change is working and how it can be enhanced.

    An executive coach can help a leader take a new look at the resources they have at their disposal. Not every good idea needs to come from the leadership group; and this is as true about organisational change as it is about other aspects of business. Are aspects of the change being resisted by team members? What are their reasons? Could they be right? Could your team see a better way of achieving your objectives?

    Finally, in times of great change, some people feel they don’t have time for a coach. In our experience, this is one of the most important times to use an executive coach to make you a more effective leader.