Why every leader needs a coach through organisational change


Change coach, Jo Twiselton presenting in front of a screen

Jo Twiselton is a change coach and consultant, who helps to minimise organisation disruption in times of change, create clarity, and build a positive experience for everyone involved.  A qualified executive and wellbeing coach, she works with leaders, managers and teams who want to be at their best to lead well during times of upheaval.

A member of the Redefining Communications collective, Jo starred in our season 4, episode 8 podcast speaking about how leaders need to look after themselves to properly support their teams. Here she expands on her thoughts.

Over the last few years as our world continues to shift at warp speed, the volume and speed of change – and uncertainty – is on the rise too, and increasingly, we look to leaders to have the answers. But they can’t know it all. They’re human too. They need support, development and a space to work through ideas and thinking out loud as much as anyone else.

And, in the case of organisational change, I’ve worked with leaders who are in the process of driving transformation without having full clarity around what it means for them, too. And this can be really unhelpful for everyone.

Here are just a few reasons why and how coaching can help in this situation:

The buck stops with them. This is particularly true of CEOs or other senior leaders. I’ve worked with leaders who have used a coaching space to share ideas, test out thinking, work through their own feelings about what’s going on and explored what a transition or transformation means for them – as much as it does for everyone else in the organisation.

They’re learning too – coaching can give leaders the space to reflect. They have an opportunity to zoom out and get perspective on what’s worked, what they’ve learned and what they might want to do differently next time.

They’re dealing with their own feelings – the best-planned organisation changes can never be linear. We’re dealing with human beings. Despite what we think, we can’t force people to change at the pace we’d like. What we might expect to happen and the reality, can be quite different. Remembering that leaders often have to lead organisational change alongside a day job, means they might feel frustrated or annoyed that things aren’t happening at the pace they’d like. And those emotions can ‘leak’ through our body language or the words we use, if they’re not worked through.

They need to change their own minds – when we get into challenging situations (which organisational change can repeatedly create), I’ve seen leaders’ thinking getting very ‘black and white’. Coaching can offer a space for leaders to explore what a different mindset could look like if they were to experiment with, for example, a ‘wouldn’t it be great if…?’ approach and open up different perspectives.

When I see leaders in transition, transformation, or dealing with the immediate aftermath of crisis and who haven’t had the opportunity to get into a space with a coach, I can often see all sorts of ‘wonky’ outcomes. They might be shying away from tough decisions or conversations, team members might be leaving or their boss has lost faith in them – there are lots more examples.

But this is where I’ve also seen coaching make a real difference for leaders too. Having the space to explore how they’re positively impacting an organisation or areas where there might be gaps or how they could develop a more people-focused way of leading, can be transformative.

Coaching leaders through organisational change fits in well as part of The Field Model. If you’d like to explore how we can support you or your leaders, please get in touch.

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