We all know how hard change is — and how often it’s unsupported. Much like a personal trainer will push you to get better results at the gym, innovation coaching in the workplace helps teams going through a period of change meet the challenge head-on.
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We see a great coach like a Swiss Army knife — able to combine true expertise in creating products and services with an empathetic, human touch that meets people and teams where they are and consistently nudges them forward. The focus is always the work itself and not the individual. It may sound cold, but the person is just the vehicle to making the work better.
What do coaches do, and why?
- Defend the space — coaches create and maintain ‘air cover’ for the team to work in a different structure and pace to the rest of the organisation. Without cover, the making teams get distracted, quickly reverting back to old ways of working and managing, thus re-enforcing the status quo.
- Create a repeatable rhythm — we want organisations to be able to do things themselves, making it fundamental that our coaches build capability in terms of skills and mindsets, whilst critically instilling a rhythm and playbook that can be easily repeated and picked up by the next team and the next.
- Build resilience — especially for those with a long tenure, the process of doing something new and drastically different can easily send people running for the hills. It’s therefore paramount that experienced coaches skillfully guide colleagues through the process, reminding them what it should feel like at different stages and why. Only by sticking at it will teams and individuals build the resilience to go again and create the breakthrough.
- Make it practical — we know the best way to learn something new is by doing it, not sitting through yet another presentation. Coaches should provide ‘just enough’ theory and rationale, whilst making sure colleagues spend the lion’s share of time with their sleeves rolled up, trying stuff out, and building on their learnings from one experience to the next.
Your people will always learn best through experience. Rather than spending loads of time in theory, we always look to throw them into the thick of a problem and get them making. We set the pace, create a supportive team environment and allow people to explore what does and doesn’t work for them. The result is a much higher performing organisation.
Implementing change is one of the toughest things a leader can do. It’s consistently fraught with failure, requiring true resilience and conviction from all involved to get up, learn and try and try again. The key is to start small, get some quick wins and build up to it. It takes time but if you start by starting, you’re almost there.
If you’re making some big changes and need someone who has a few reps under their belt, please get in touch with &us. We’d love to show you what you can do.