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The Coaching 30: #3 – A Working Model for Handling Change


The model which follows was developed in a coaching session with a client who was experiencing a process of massive change for the organisation that she was leading. 

At these times it is often difficult to see ‘the wood for the trees’. One can easily feel overwhelmed with the volume of work that needs attention, and confused as to the priorities. The model identifies three pillars of activity – business as usual, transition, and self care. The model applies equally to issues relating to the organisation as a whole and to the individual working within the change process. 

The first pillar is the essential activities which the organisation needs to address to keep going whilst change is taking place. It is important to stay focused on this if organisational and individual performance is to be maintained. 

The second pillar addresses the activities that need to take place to create the transition to the new. This may involve setting up time limited task groups, a wide range of organisational development activities, helping people to adapt to the change, offering key support. 

The third pillar is important because it acknowledges the fact that it is all too easy to forget our own needs as leaders of change. Addressing self care ensures that needs are met, and resilience during the change is maintained. 

Above the pillars sits ‘Legacy’ – the need to ensure that the organisation looks at the things which it has been doing in the past that need to be retained – either as activities or as tacit knowledge. Ensuring that we capture the legacy is a way of maintaining respect for the work that everyone has been doing. 

Below the pillars sits ‘Values’. We work from a value base which determines how we function on a day to day basis, how we make decisions. It is important to stay in touch with our core values as we lead people through the change to ensure that we maintain integrity and are able to take people with us on the journey. 

So, that is the model. How does it work? It helps us to see that there are activities in each of these boxes that we need to give attention to. In order to take things forward with balance we need to be mindful of activities in each box, so that we do not neglect any particular area. 

The model builds on the work of William Bridges in his book ‘Managing Transition’, and on the work of Stephen Covey in ‘The Eighth Principle’ which looks at the importance of leaving a legacy. 

The coaching client I worked with on this model found it really useful to orientate herself as she worked through the change process.

It helps to keep looking at the model and ensure that each of them is being given the appropriate attention.