Coaching Culture Change
The global pandemic was a real catalyst for culture change in many organizations and some used the opportunity to explore a hybrid approach to working that has enabled their workforce to work from home.
Plus working from home had quickly become the norm and new habits formed, so reducing the need for expensive real estate was seen as a quick way of reducing overheads. So many companies were left asking if this is the type of culture change everybody wants, then why would they need to keep paying for an office to sit empty?
The reality was not actually as simple as employees wanting to pick from either home or office and many did not have the space they needed to set up a dedicated area for work.
Avoiding resistance to change
Any big cultural change could really benefit from the support of a professional coach, because they are able to carefully consider and implement new ideas in consultation with the employee community. Any non-people-centric approach could just be seen as another really negative ‘top down’ or forced change.
Many of us have seen what happens when a top-down approach is used and even if it does eventually deliver the desired results, it normally takes longer and comes with greater resistance. Plus many Managers report difficulty getting a top-down culture change to stick, because the benefits to the individual or team are not really understood or openly discussed.
And if hitting a project deadline or delivering a saving on a spreadsheet is being used as an important way of measuring the success of major change, try encouraging others to try looking at behavior or getting the user experience right as the key to making a major change stick.
Focus on the impact of change
We know ownership of any culture change is best created when the people being impacted are involved, because they are the ones who can help identify any potential problems and craft the solutions.
As a professional coach, you can help with this all-important step by acting as an impartial specialist to guide the engagement activity and facilitate any feedback sessions to ensure all concerns are openly discussed and captured. It will also be an opportunity to help employees build the case for change, especially if the changes are to working patterns and need careful engagement before they are made.
Your coaching skills can also be utilized to help eliminate resistance and enable a smooth transition over to any new way of working. This can be a vital step to minimize future avoidance or resistance to change, because the manager and employee communities will have time to understand the changes.
Cultural change can be an opportunity to:
- Review and update any working-from-home policy or guidance, so it accurately reflects how they are now able to work or want to work
- Consider who really needs to be in the office and how teams can stay connected or come together if office space is reduced or limited
- Include a conversation on childcare or caring responsibilities
- Consider how future productivity will be measured
Your role will be to coach leaders to understand why having a more collaborative approach to change will deliver longer-lasting culture change. It will also help leaders be fully involved and visible throughout the process.
This will all significantly reduce resistance to change and delivers much greater prospects for success, because their people will understand the need for change, work through any impact it could have and feel supported to find their own solutions.
Your role coaching the new norm
As professional coach you can support organizational changes like this, and it demonstrates a genuine desire to:
• Really understand what the options are
• Significantly improve employee engagement
• Empower the people to be part of the conversation
• Boost morale at a time of great uncertainty
You can have a positive impact on the implementation of change and really add some value to any discussions.
So now could be the right time to reach out to your professional network and start the conversation. Check-in with them to see how their organization has approached culture change, any move to long-term working from home and what other changes they have planned.
If you would like to help your clients deliver long lasting culture change and support a smooth transition to new ways of working, check out this essential ebook in the online shop:
- Coaching Change – Coach in the corporate world of organizational change, learn how to land a contract and what you need to know so you can support delivery teams, executives and managers to successfully deliver lasting change.
We have published a full range of resources specifically aimed at supporting you as a professional coach and constantly add content to the site, so please check our on-line shop and look at the full range of games, ebooks and kits. Or read some of the other blog posts written by our team of international coaches.
Image: Thanks to Georgia de Lotz for sharing their work on Unsplash.
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