Coaching a culture change

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Coaching Culture Change 

This global pandemic has been a real catalyst for culture change in many organizations and some have announced they are happy for their workforce can keep working from home, even when the current restrictions are lifted.

Plus working from home is already becoming the norm and new habits are forming, so reducing the need for expensive real estate will now be seen as a quick way of reducing overheads. So if this is the type of culture change everybody wants, why would companies keep paying for an office to sit empty?

The reality is, this may not actually be what everybody wants and many parents are finding it difficult to home school alongside their day job, let alone find the space and time needed to focus on their work.


Avoiding resistance to change

This type of cultural change really benefits from the support of a professional coach, because it needs to be carefully considered and where possible, implemented in consultation with the employee community. If not, it 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 like this to stick, because the benefits to the individual or team are not understood or discussed.

Hitting a project deadline or delivering a saving on a spreadsheet will always be seen as important, but measuring the success of major change by looking at behavior or getting the user experience right, is the real key to making any change like this 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 can help identify any potential problems and craft the solutions.

As a professional coach, you can help by acting as an impartial specialist to guide any engagement activity and facilitate feedback sessions to ensure all concerns are openly discussed and captured. It will also be an opportunity to help employees build the case for any change to their working patterns 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.


Ask line managers 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
  • Include a conversation on childcare or caring responsibilities and how future productivity will be measured

You role will be to coach leaders to understand why having a more collaborative approach 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 any changes 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

A professional coach 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

As a professional coach you can have a positive impact on the implementation of change and can really add some value to the discussions taking place right now.

So now is the time to reach out to your professional network and start the conversation. Check in to see how their organization will approach culture change, any move to long term working from home and what other changes they have planned.


Further reading:

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:


We 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.


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Image: Thanks to Georgia de Lotz for sharing their work on Unsplash.

Please note – Our materials can only be copied and distributed, if you include a reference and link to the original source: (cc) – 2021

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