Case Studies

Change Management Case Study: Coaching Managers through Change (Financial Services)

A financial services organisation was continuing to expand and diversify and as a result of recent acquisitions the Senior Management Team were helped through a strategic review and the facilitation of a restructuring process, enabling the company to be focussed along business unit lines.

Through the subsequent six months the 60 top managers had their roles and responsibilities redefined. Some were elevated, some felt downgraded, all became parts of new teams with new bosses.

The “Coaching Managers through Change” programme provided managers with the support and challenge for them to negotiate through their individual transitions curve and also to reorientate themselves to the new organisation. In addition many had acquired new leadership roles, with newly formed teams. These needed building fast and smoothly so as to deliver ‘business as usual’ as well as shape the organisation of the future.

The programme comprised of a series of one-to-one coaching sessions – making sense of the changes – and later a number of “new team workshops” to get the new teams up and running. A key focus was ensuring that both staff and managers were able to feel included in the new strategic direction of the organisation.

An added value was the collation of non-attributable key themes from coaching sessions and staff discussion groups which were then feedback to the Senior Management Team for remedial action.

Key organisational benefits of the programme were:

1. Commitment of top management in the process and their willingness to commit key people to the programme;
2. The internal communications were comprehensive and at the right frequency;
3. Grey areas of overlap or gap were more quickly identified and dealt with;
4. Business units were more able to focus on the business rather than focus on the disparate psychological needs of the managers;
5. Shared services concept was designed and implemented and began working with fewer problems; and
6. The organisation settled down within three months of the restructure rather than the usual six to twelve months.

Key individual benefits of the programme were:

1. Managers were able to talk through the emotional side of change and decide upon their futures in a confidential setting;
2. Key lateral and vertical working relationships were identified for each individual manager and effective working relations defined and worked towards; and
3. A focus on new team leadership development and personal development plans were created and implemented.

Leadership Case Study: Developing Leaders (Elected Politicians)

The Leadership Academy is the Local Government Improvement & Development’s flagship leadership programme for Elected Members. It is aimed at leading members, which includes: leaders of councils; leaders of political groups; executive and scrutiny committee members; portfolio holders; scrutiny chairs; and opposition spokespeople.

“The Leadership Academy is a place where leaders, and those in leadership positions, can learn the latest thinking in political leadership from some of the best people in the business…It provides an environment where councillors from across the political spectrum can meet leaders from other councils and parties and talk about issues that are common to them. This combination of learning from experts in the field of leadership and from the experience of their peers gives graduates confidence in their abilities and a network of trusted colleagues.”

Mike Green works with Andy Holder and Mhairi Cameron through to provide the Personal Leadership Module which encourages councillors to look at what kind of leader they are, and how this affects the way they make decisions, delegate responsibility and empower their colleagues.

Key objectives are to provide delegates with a greater:

• Understanding of the idea of leadership
• Awareness of their personal leadership style and influence on others
• Ability to adapt to circumstances and tackle specific challenges
• Ability to take risks, act and learn.

This is done in plenary and small groups together with Action Learning Sets where delegates bring a personal or community leadership challenge, with the main themes of:

1. Being an adaptive leader – responding to different situations and unique difficulties with appropriate leadership
2. Understanding better one’s personal base – getting a better fix on one’s own style and how one can influence others
3. Tackling real current leadership challenges – having the time, colleagues and approaches to tackle an active challenge – in our view the best way to develop leadership is to practice it.

We have been running this successfully for over ten years and over 1500 elected leaders have successfully completed the programme. We have had consistently high evaluations and the following successful results were highlighted in a recent impact assessment:

• Ability to identify the appropriate leadership style and flex as necessary 90% felt it delivered to a great/moderate extent, with half (51%) of respondents saying it helped “to a great extent”.
• The Leadership Academy helped leaders develop how they “contribute effectively to create and communicate a shared council vision, provide clear direction and promote understanding” 83% felt it delivered to a great/moderate extent, with two fifths (39%) saying it helped “to a great extent”.
• The overwhelming majority (95%) of participants gave some positive examples of how the Leadership Academy had helped them in their role as a leader.
• The vast majority recommended it to fellow leaders and felt the cost benefit of the Academy was high in relation to comparable courses.

A survey of peers and colleagues provides an element of 360° assessment commenting that leaders had developed how they:

• Engage proactively with community, canvasses opinion and seeks new ways of representing others;
• Mediate fairly and constructively between people with conflicting needs;
• Provide a voice for all sections of the community and develop partnerships inside the council and with external organisations; and
• Represent the electorate and council at a strategic level through links and partnerships at local, regional and national levels

The Leadership Academy is recognized by the Institute of Leadership & Management.

Coaching Case Study: Individual & Team Coaching of a Senior Management Team (NHS Trust)

A newly formed NHS Trust called upon us to develop the individual leadership skills of members of the executive management team whilst developing the effectiveness of the management team itself, whilst ensuring individual and team needs were linked to the needs of the Trust as a whole. The objectives of the coaching were:

• to develop the individual leadership skills of the executive management team
• to develop the effectiveness of the executive management team
• to develop individuals and the team towards the needs of the Trust.

With the end result being a closely knit management team with a substantial degree of mutual trust and a common interest in strengthening the effectiveness of the team as a whole. The project was to be carried out initially over a period of four calendar months and project objectives met through:

• identifying organisational, team and individual needs
• generating developmental plans for the individual, team and organisation, and strategies for implementation encompassing ways to overcome potential barriers
• implementing development plans in line with agreed time-scales.

Typically, individual sessions focused on:

• individual skill development
• coaching on live management issues
• the role of the individual in the group’s development
• personal performance plan
• the individual’s contribution to the team.

Team sessions had dual agendas:

• identification of the major team and organisational issues that the team needs to address and the strategies to tackle them.
• focus on how the team is going to maximise its effectiveness in addressing the tasks.

Over the four-month period there were fortnightly individual sessions lasting between one and one-and-a-half hours and four group coaching sessions which lasted between a half and a whole day each. The consultant used the team effectiveness profile and a management competency profile to aid the process along with the Transitional Space Coaching Model (q.v.) with its three basic principles to support, educate and challenge, be it the individual or the team, in the endeavour to grow and develop.

Major issues that arose during the initial sessions included:

• the need to review and reflect upon the previous years performance (both task and process) and to improve in all areas;
• how the enthusiasm of the team to achieve the vision right now created considerable pressure on itself and on individuals, which needed to be managed;
• how the management team had a compelling vision across the Trust but needed to communicate this more fully;
• the need for greater support between team members; and
• the need to align other groups (eg the Trust board and the divisional management teams) with the senior management team, the business plan and the strategic direction.

The project met all of its stated objectives. Project benefits were collated from individual and group evaluations.

Individual benefits

• each participant became more aware of themselves, their colleagues and the dynamics of the management team;
• each participant reported greater clarity of vision and direction, in relation to themselves, the management team and the Trust
• time out for thinking through the issues produced more strategically minded decisions
• behaviour has changed in a number of respects to cover the broach spectrum of management style and healthier (ie more support and more challenge) interaction with boss, peers and other staff.

Team benefits

• the team process has improved; individual members are feeling more confident now that the management team is working as a team, aware of the group process and committed to the whole process
• the management team has clarity of vision and a clear direction for itself and the Trust
• the management team has increased efficiency and its effectiveness in all aspects of its purpose.

Trust benefits

• increased clarity of vision and direction
• greater alignment between the Trust’s constituent parts and movement towards corporacy
• greater ability to manage change.

Personal Development Case Study: Developing Change Management Skills

Ten internal change agents of an international telecommunications organisation were coached over a period of nine months as part of a project further developing their change management expertise. The focus of the programme was to develop the individual delegates personally; to enhance their change management expertise; and to develop a greater organisational change capability.

The coaching took place face-to-face and over the telephone and using Skype. Each coachee was responsible for a significant organisational change project which they were currently working on and needed to move forward.

The coaching focused on the effectiveness of their change leadership role; the change projects themselves; the people and task challenges; the direct application of the theory to the practice of leadership and change.

Coaching around the change projects included vision building, communications strategy, stakeholder management issues, creative and innovative ways of managing change, how to embed cultural change, how to ensure employee engagement and managing politics at work.

The programme used Making Sense of Change Management as the core academic and practitioner textbook.

Each coaching partnership created an initial set of objectives which were continually focused on throughout the programme, and individually evaluated at the end, together with ‘real time’ coaching as significant events emerged within the change projects.

An impact study of the programme on business outcomes is currently being compiled.