Executive Coaching & Change Management – Why You Should Use an Executive Coach to Help With Change

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Why should use an experienced consultant to help with change?

“If you think you are in control, you aren’t going fast enough” Mario Andretti

The one thing a business craves is stability and the one thing it gets is change as the sign on Ted Turners desk says,

“either contribute or get out of the way”

So it feels right to many Business Drivers to create change, to shake things up or at the very least to enable change that facilitates results. Can’t really argue with that.

20 years ago ‘stability’ was the by-word of the shareholder and the markets, as without stability you are playing games with someone else’s pension fund, back then markets were closed or undeveloped, which meant you either refined you organization or grew it…simple, safe and satisfying.

But hey times they are a changing. Not at the rate the doom mongers would have us believe but subtlety, slowly. Consider petrol used to be under a pound and then it switched from gallons to litres, it’s now nearly £5 and you are used to it. They changed the pound note to a pound coin and you spend it that much easier, because you are not breaking into a note and you are used to it. They leak the fact that a tax will be £100, then when it comes out its £50, but that’s so much less than you’d got used to it being, it feels like a sale even though originally you’d have been annoyed at £20 and you are used to it.

Successful companies develop a culture that just keeps moving all the time” Rosabeth Moss Kanter. Harvard Business School professor.1999

Typically the following is startlingly true:

  • 70 % of Executive Interventions fail
  • 70% of Mergers fail
  • 70% of Outsourcing Projects fail
  • 70% of Business Process Re-engineering Projects fail
  • 70% is the contribution of business leaders to organizational climate, with organizational climate contributing up to 25% in terms of overall business return (Hays Group)

The last bullet point presents most senior executives with an unfamiliar challenge as the focus of attention on devising the best strategic and tactical plans is the normal activity. But to succeed, they also must have an intimate understanding of the human side of change management – the alignment of the company’s Culture, Values, People and Behaviors – to encourage the desired results.

Plans themselves do not capture value; value is realized only through the sustained, collective actions of the individual, the team, the unit, the department, the business, the staff, the employees, the workers…who are responsible for designing, executing, and living with the changed environment…FACT

Long-term structural transformation has four characteristics (The 4S Change Model – Copyright – Guy Bloom):

SIZE The change that affects all or most of the organization

SCOPE Involving the significant alterations of normal activities

SCALE How long it lasts

STRATEGIC VALUE The long term value to the business and its employees

Most executives are aware of the impact the workforce will have on a given intervention and at some point or other suffer some form of associated stress in regards to this point. The reality of what they are actually worrying about is sometimes uncertain…… the person, the team, the business, their emotions, their activity, their feelings, their outputs….it’s complicated.

In my experience of Change and Integration Projects there are varying types of executive, managers and leaders in respect of the Human Element.

  • Those that care
  • Those that don’t care
  • Those that care and show it
  • Those that care and don’t show it
  • Those that care, try to show it, but fail to
  • Those that care, try to show it and succeed

Whilst coaching managers through acquisitions, integrations and at one time the largest IT Integration Project in the Insurance Industry, I have seen people in tears, having tantrums, walking out, aggressive and at the other end motivational and inspiring.

There are many senior executives that worry about the people element of their business, they understand at the very least at an intellectual level that it is the person that will endeavor and endure. When asked what keeps them up at night, managers and leaders involved in change, integration and transformation often say they are concerned about how their people will react, how they can get their team to work together, and how they will be able to lead their people.

They also worry about retaining their company’s unique values and sense of identity and about creating a culture of commitment and performance.

Having worked in Start Up and Blue Chip businesses, I have been truly amazed at the variance in emotional awareness between managers, leaders and executives. To quote John Welwood:

“The most powerful agent of growth and transformation is something much more basic than any technique: a change of heart”

Understand this it is never, ever the product, the system or the process that is at fault…ever! If you think it is you are wrong, if you are being (or have been) told that this is the case…they are wrong!

Change projects live or die on one principle resource the Human Element. FACT!

But there is a way (a Tao) like driving a car, one can only offer a set of rules that through adaptability serve as guiding principles for getting you to your destination safely.

The reason you use an executive coach is for the experience of driving in many different conditions and the pain this can remove from the pain someone else has either witnessed or experienced previously.

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