Leader as Coach: When to use a Coach Approach ~ Coaching Someone who is Moving Roles Internally


changing roleOne of your team members has found a great new role inside the organisation.  Moving roles internally is a time to celebrate with them – not to feel sorry for yourself because you now need to find a replacement and train them up.  Too many leaders hold onto their team members for fear of the unknown and the extra work; but in the long-run, that will back-fire, as the employee will find it easier to resign from the company, which will be an even bigger loss.

Now we’ve cleared that up, let’s think about how you can support them through the ending the neutral zone and the new beginning.

Coaching through the ending

Of course, you’d like them to close well.  Ask them what their intentions are around what they will complete and what will be left unfinished by the time they move.  Help them to be realistic.  You have a vested interest in them finishing everything, but that won’t necessarily be possible; and you don’t want to send someone who is burnt out to a new leader.

Ask them to think through who they want and need to express their thanks to; who they want to say good-bye to, even if they will still be in touch in a different capacity; who they want to leave behind but not burn their bridges with.

Do they want a farewell party?  What is their preference for marking this ending?

This will all help them to make a good ending and feel a sense of completion.

Coaching through the neutral zone

Concurrently, there will be a lot of things that they don’t know about the scope and scale of their new role.  This may be slowing them down in their current role, so give them time to ask questions of their new boss ahead of their start date, so that they can start to get themselves ready.   Remember they are sticking with this organisation, so on behalf of the organisation’s best interests, support them to be in a good position to make the change.

Coaching through the beginning

When someone is moving roles internally, this will probably fall to the new leader.  But if you have built a good trusting relationship with your employee, it’s quite possible that they will come to you to talk through issues they are having in their new role.  They know that you listen well and will give them time to think it through for themselves; and once again, this is time well invested in the interests of the organisation (even though you are busy with their replacement too).


You might like to look back at a couple of previous blogs in this series, ‘When to use a Coach Approach’ you can follow the links here:

Leader as Coach: When to use a Coach Approach ~ Coaching a New Joiner

Leader as Coach: When to use a Coach Approach ~ Team Meetings

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