Individual coaching and mentoring during change management

10 August 2022 2 min. read

With change occurring at an organisational but also an individual level, adequately addressing change at a person-by-person level can be a crucial success factor for the success of the overall change approach. This is where coaching and mentoring comes in.

It’s arguably one of the best-known mantra’s in business: the success of a transformation is to a large extent dependent on change and culture management. What’s the impact of a brand-new strategy if it isn’t brought to life by its employees, and what’s the point of a state-of-the-art system if it isn’t used by employees?

In most programs, addressing change management is typically done at the organisational or stakeholder-group level, but according to Talal El-Assaad, the founder of ProClipse Consulting, in some cases it may be important to cascade the efforts up to the very single individual.

Talal El-Assaad, Founder, ProClipse Consulting

“Change occurs on an individual level and involves developing a new mindset and thinking process when performing daily activities. Successful transformation therefore requires individuals to transition from their current behaviour or ways of working to their new ones,” said El-Assaad.

Meanwhile, during the change process, “employees need involvement, inspiration, support, and reassurance of their development and performance,” said El-Assaad, in order to ensure that their transition aligns with the desired end-state of the change program.

To effectively put this into practice, El-Assaad recommends designing and delivering individual coaching and mentoring sessions, as part of a broader change and capability transfer plan. Such a granular approach is in particular relevant for leaders and key subject matter experts (who then become ‘coaches’ and ambassadors’ themselves) and those for which a high risk of resistance is anticipated.

How then to apply coaching and mentoring employees? “It requires different activities, and should start with communicating the business need for change. Give individuals a vision of the future, explain why the change is necessary, and outline the benefits for them of supporting the change.”

Out of a long list of best practices (El-Assaad has been active in the change management business for over two decades), the founder of ProClipse Consulting sees a second key factor: involving employees in the process. “Allow employees to get on board the change wagon and empower them during the strategic and operational planning.”

By being able to contribute, individuals can better internalise the ‘case for change’, which in turn removes resistance and smoothens the acceptation process.

Third, communication is key. “Build an environment of continuous communication and enable continuous sharing, learning, and improvement. Also, develop action plans and checkpoints to provide feedback and evaluate performance.”