Leading Organizational Change – Part IV

Personal Change and Development
Using the Organizational Change Model
by David Grau

The framework used for implementing change in organizations is a close analogue to the change process used by individuals seeking to move to their next higher level of performance. Executives find it valuable to work with a coach who is an objective, outside observer. The coach facilitates, guides, and provides feedback and support to executives as they move along the path from goal creation to implementation. Executive goals are the desired developmental changes that will result in an increased positive impact by the leader in his or her organization.

With organizational change, executives work with their leadership teams to assist in defining the change goal and with the creation of the change process and seek additional input from other members of their organization.

With personal change, executives enter the coaching relationship with their own sense of the goals and, in conversation with the coach, may clarify or change the goals they choose to pursue. The coach asks questions that help the executive reflect on the changes they are seeking. To achieve greater self-awareness and understanding of one’s impact on others, the executive may choose to complete self-assessments. These can provide insight into the changes that are desirable and the actions they need to take to achieve their goals. Should the executive choose to do so, the coach may conduct 360-feedback interviews. The coach talks with people the executive believes know him or her well. Typical questions include:

  • “What does [xxx] do that makes him/her effective?”
  • “What could [xxx] do to be even more effective?” and
  • “What are [xxx]’s greatest strengths?

The coach presents a thematic summary to the executive and provides specific examples of comments, without attribution, that led to the creation of each theme. From this information, the executive might choose to review critical leadership and management competencies with the coach and decide which to work on for improvement.

The executive uses the results of the assessments, the feedback, the exploration of competencies, and outcomes from conversations with the coach to refine their goals, develop key performance indicators and decide upon the actions to accomplish their objectives. As with implementing organizational change, it is important to prioritize the goals, objectives, and actions to an achievable few. When goals and objectives are realized others can be introduced.

As the executive pursues his or her goals the coach is there to discuss challenges that arise and works with the executive to develop options for resolving those challenges. The executive looks for support and ideas from the coach as they follow the action plan. The coach may offer tools and techniques to assist in executive development and suggest articles or books to read, or actions to take between sessions to support the executive in what he or she wants to accomplish.

Change can be difficult. There may be assumptions, competing commitments or beliefs that undermine the achievement of the desired change. The coach works with the executive to overcome those obstacles. Together they create a system that holds the executive accountable for pursuing the action plan and achieving results.

While the coach walks with the executive on the developmental journey, it is the executive who drives the change process. He or she chooses the goals and the ways in which those goals are achieved. By engaging in this process, executives bring themselves to a level of performance that enables them to make a greater difference in their organizations, in the lives of their employees, with the customers they serve and in their relationships with the other stakeholders of their organization.