Organizational coaches specializing in change management help businesses maximize the potential for success, mitigating change-related risk and improving stakeholder engagement to reach positive outcomes. Change is an integral part of business in every sector or industry, but any decisive adaptations to workplace structures, roles, management, or operations can create upheaval and anxiety.
Professional change management consultants can study for an organizational development certification online or as part of their ongoing professional development, assisting leadership in mapping out the change process and removing obstacles that may arise.
What Does a Change Management Consultant Do?
HR managers, CEOs, and team leaders that wish to become an organizational coach can manage the change process in-house or may want to outsource, benefiting from a broader scope of vision from a third party.
The aim of a change management project will vary with the nature of the adaptations being made but should be led by an appropriately trained coach to set clear goals, such as:
- Improving organizational culture
- Boosting inclusivity and diversity
- Adopting new technological advancements
- Updating business processes
- Enhancing productivity or profitability
- Implementing new efficiency measures
- Restructuring to reflect new leadership
A change management consultant brings expertise in understanding the friction that naturally accompanies company-wide changes and knowledge of the underlying reasons for resistance. Coaches work alongside managers and company leaders to identify potential challenges and streamline the transition process by preemptively solving problems or coaching the workforce through the changes.
Why Is Change Management Important?
Change management is essential because every individual, from an entry-level staff member to higher-end management, needs to buy into the company vision and embrace an organizational change for it to be successful. Every business will need to affect change at some point, whether adapting to new manufacturing processes, combining departmental resources, expanding into new service areas, or revising organizational infrastructure.
The common denominator is that people are often resistant to change, and pushback can damage the change process or be reflected in poor buy-in or engagement that is detrimental to successful change implementation. Coaches and consultants study organizational cultures, human dynamics, communication skills, and problem-solving to map out change management processes and focus on engagement from the ground up.
The Change Management Structure
Professional change management consultants follow strategic frameworks adapted to the needs of the business and the circumstances surrounding the change in question. They follow a systematic approach, working through the following steps:
- Analyzing the business, defining the necessary changes, and determining the affected stakeholders
- Identifying those who need to engage with a buy-in to the change process and selecting change ambassadors to lead the transition
- Developing implementation plans to promote and communicate the need for, reasons behind, and driving forces for change
- Implementing adjustments, monitoring how this impacts employee dynamics and cultures, and providing one-to-one guidance to assess uptake
- Adapting organizational processes or making modifications where required to achieve optimal outcomes
The right approach depends on the size of the affected stakeholder group but always works through a phased process, from evaluating the nature of the change to ensuring it is implemented effectively.
The Scope of Change Management Consultancy
Some change management coaches specialize in specific types of transition, whereas others provide general consultancy to assess the scope of potential organizational changes.
Duties and responsibilities may include:
- Defining organizational readiness to implement and accept change
- Creating communication approaches and messaging tailored to those affected, such as leadership, specific employee groups, or customers–this stage addresses buy-in and educates stakeholders about the importance and value of the changes being made
- Monitoring and assessing feedback to help consultants liaise with managers to address priorities, adjust messaging accordingly, or reinforce change communications until successful implementation
Whenever a business needs to make broad-scope adjustments or transition to new ways of working, a change management consultant can create a defined pathway from initial change analysis to calculating the outcomes of a change once made. Buy-in is essential because all stakeholders, from ground-level colleagues to senior leadership, need to embrace and participate in the change process.
The specific duties of a change management consultant will heavily depend on the scale, focus, and scope of the change, which could vary from a switch in processes to an entirely new management structure. However, the goal is to understand the considerations, evaluate the possible repercussions, and address change resistance at each step.