Working in Change Management

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Working in Change Management

The news has been a constant reminder that we are currently in a global pandemic, where working from home and social distancing are the new normal. So if you are interested in working in change management, how can you use your coaching skills to help organizations shift to this new normal and maximize the benefits of an imposed change like this?

Firstly, change does not come naturally to most of us, so coaching can really help eliminate resistance to this type of change. However, many people have already been quietly getting on with the existing changes for months, but may need help to fully benefit from this new way of working.

Secondly, if an organization is now formally reviewing their working practices, you can assist the process and help the impacted individuals or teams identify their own way forward. This will enable a smooth transition over to any new way of working and ensure they are much more likely to support the change, no matter how big or small it may be.

And finally, if you are working on a major change project or program, you will have the additional support from ongoing communications that help them understand the need for any new changes and work through any negative impact it could have. It can also build their confidence and awareness of the changes before any take place.


How we adapt to change

Change is normally defined as a process or transition, to move from a state A (the current state) to a state B (the future state).

Most of us have learned to adapt to everyday changes or challenges within our lives, and normally follow a similar process to register, understand and accept a change. However, because many people feel they had no choice when social distancing and stay home restrictions were imposed, most simply moved straight to acceptance.

The difference we now face with these ever changing restrictions, is we have no idea when we will ever return to normal life, or what that will eventually look like. And some things may have changed forever, so it’s really important you have a detailed understanding of all the different stages of change if this is an area you want to work in:

  • Denial – This is the first stage and is normally unconscious, so we don’t always recognize the clear signs and signals all around us. This can be because we fear we will lose control, support or access to something we need, but whatever the reason we must at some point take notice a change is coming.
  • Resistance – This is the second stage and is our way of trying to stop the change happening now we have moved on from denial and acknowledged it. We will try to make implementing any changes difficult and this can lead to feelings of anger, or criticism and blame aimed at the people or organizations we feel are trying to make the changes we don’t want.
  • Explorer – The third stage is where we have moved on from trying to stop the change and now want to find out exactly what it is and how it will impact us and the world around us. It can lead to alternative solutions being suggested or a step back into the resistance phase, however we would normally start to be excited by what we see. And because we now have a much better idea of exactly how big an impact this will have, we start to think about the change in a different more positive way.
  • Acceptance – The final stage is where we now understand what the change is and are prepared for it to happen, so we can commit to it taking place. We may not always agree with what is happening, but have either exhausted all options to block or resist the change, or we now better understand the benefits it will bring or impact it will have.


Working in Change Management

To get the opportunity to work on a major change management project or program, you need to give the organization confidence you are the right fit and have the skills and knowledge required.

You may wish to formally train in project management or change management, however many people move into coaching after several years in the corporate world and this is valuable experience you can use to your advantage.


Projects to target

It is normally better to initially focus on projects that relate to your area of expertise or compliment your skills and experience. This way you can help shape the overall approach and present yourself as a Subject Matter Expert (SME), even if you are new to working in change management.

And as a professional coach, you may already be working with a leadership team, so where possible demonstrate the insight and understanding you have on the people side of change gained from any work within a department like HR or training. This can sometimes lead to you being asked to support an internal change initiative or work with an external consultancy brought in to deliver a major change project or program.

But do your research into the sectors you have previously worked in and see what the trends are, or if any public tenders are being advertised. Talk to ex-colleagues, monitor the trade press and look for announcements from the bigger organizations who are about to implement large-scale change programs or small trials into new ways of working.

It also helps if you stay in touch with your network of professional contacts who may now be working on a project that would benefit from your coaching skills. Sometimes you will be thought of, but not contacted because it’s unclear if you are actively seeking new opportunities. So you should always keep your employment status up to date and make clear the type of opportunity you are looking for or sector you want to work in.


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Further reading:

To give you an insight into working in change management, we have developed a range of resources you can use to help organizations shift to this new normal and maximize the benefits of an imposed change like this:

Coaching Change Management – Valuable insight into organizational change, how to land a contract and supporting a delivery team, executives and managers to deliver lasting change.

Train and lead: Co-Development sessions – This kit includes the four essential documents you need to facilitate, train and lead a co-development session

We have also published a range of virtual card games that cover different subjects and can be used as a creative coaching tool with your clients:

Content is constantly being added 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 Alexas Fotos for sharing their work on Pexels.

Please note – Our materials can only be copied and distributed, if you include a reference and link to the original source: (cc) – 2020

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