Want performance to get better?


In the second blog of my “When to Build a Coaching Culture Series”, I discuss how organisations face and instigate change at an increasing rate. 

That’s never going to change if they want to survive and thrive.  But despite knowing that change is here to stay, employees still feel a sense of resistance. 

Every time there is even a small change, performance will dip for a while as individuals go through the change curve of betrayal, denial, identity crisis and finally a search for solutions (Pritchett and Associates, Business as Unusual). 

Pritchett and Associates go on to explain these stages:

When to build a coaching culture

Betrayal typically occurs as the changes are announced, or just beforehand when change is suspected. 

At this stage, you are likely to hear things such as:

  • “not again”, “how could they do this?”
  • “after all we’ve been through”
  • “after all the work we’ve done?”
  • “it’s not fair”

At this point energy, and productivity, start to drop.

In denial, people put on the blinders and attempt to pretend the changes don’t exist or will go away.

They keep doing what they have done and hope for the best.  People look busy, but it might not be on the right things.

You might hear or sense things like:

  • “If I just ignore this, it will go away”
  • “It’s just the latest program of the week”
  • “I can wait this out”
  • “Senior management will wake up and see that it won’t work, so I don’t need to do anything”

Managers need to consciously take off their employees’ (and their own) blinders, helping them to recognise that the change is here to stay and that each person is accountable for making the changes successful.

Identity Crisis can be a very emotional time. 

This stage is characterized by people wondering,

  • “Where do I fit into all this?”
  • “Do I even want to fit?”
  • “Is this really what I want to do?”
  • “Will I be able to do it as well as I need to?”
  • “What do I want to do with the rest of my life?”

At this point, energy and productivity are at their lowest but hopefully you are starting to see how coaching might play a part in  to find their own answers. Telling them what to think or feel or do will not work, as they will  push back on mentoring that doesn’t fit their old or blossoming self-concept. 

In the Search for Solutions, a person starts asking;

  • “How do I make it work?”
  • “I think I’ll do OK”
  • “Change can even be fun”

Energy and productivity increase once more.

Whilst that change curve is inevitable (to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the individual and the change), it IS possible to support individuals through it in a way that enables them to learn and grow,and to get back to high performance more swiftly.

That involves using a coach approach.

According to recent research by the ICF and HCI, coaching

“can help individuals, teams and organisations explore resistance, enhance communications, and promote resilience in the face of change”.

When to build a Coaching Culture?

So in answer to this question, it’s imperative to start now, because change is here to stay, and people need help to work through change, and to get out the other side richer for it: richer in skills, richer in understanding of themselves and how they get the best out of themselves; richer in understanding where they can do their best work; richer in understanding where they want to go next.

That’s the individual angle. The business payback is getting back to high performance as soon as possible rather than performance dipping and not recovering. 

This post really answers the why question as well as the when.  We discovered in the last post that one reason for building a coaching culture is to push decisions downwards to the person who is paid to make decisions of that complexity. You can view that post by clicking on this link.

So now we have a second why – to support and challenge people through times of change.  Timing-wise, that’s right here, right now!  I encourage you not to put off learning how to coach, because it really will help you and your crew. 

Must have leadership skill

If you are responsible for developing leaders at your organisation, this is a must-have skill for business results, not a soft skill that’s nice-to-have; so it’s time to figure out where to start building that coaching culture, one small step at a time (more of which in an upcoming post).