By Veronica Emilia Nuzzolo, MBA, MAOP
Creating effective change strategies for individuals and organizations requires knowledge of proper intervention strategies such as individual coaching, group coaching, and organizational consulting. The appropriate coaching and consulting techniques will allow proper application of system theories when implementing change processes within an organization.
A review of individual coaching methods suggests that intervention designed can improve the competencies of individual organizational members through support, commitment, feedback, new opinions or views of the organization, and if necessary creating new ways of relating and communicating with people (i). Intervention at each organizational level is imperative to assess individual, group, and organizational needs to create a plan for change. Coaching can be considered a specialized form of organizational development. Several methods of coaching include directive and supportive coaching methods (ii). These methods are geared toward individual and group coaching sessions. Directive coaching involves helping develop the person or persons by showing the person ways to enhance his or her individual behavior. Supportive coaching is facilitated by asking questions and allowing the individual to recognize problem issues that require change.
Coaching at individual and group levels will assist in clarifying daily goals and create performance improvement strategies including conflict resolution techniques enhancing individual awareness. Total Quality Management (TQM) is a process that enables one to understand behaviors. The benefits of individual coaching include assisting executives and followers in addressing performance problems and developing new behavioral skills as a positive and productive learning experience.
Group coaching or intervention is a series of open meetings to listen, discuss, and enhance organizational communication. Discussion would be geared toward opinions for potential solutions to problems (i). A major benefit to group coaching is the ability to identify group think. These interventions assist in understanding what changes are needed when employees lost sight of the original vision of the company. If employees are stuck in a traditional groupthink mode and cannot identify with the organizations vision and mission a group discussion is the best way to re-establish the desired culture the organization is looking to establish or re-establish. Coaching at the group level requires team building strategies. Beckhard’s (1972) strategies and criteria to determine when team building is necessary. When there is conflict among the team the group ceases to be unified and individual behaviors can have an adverse effect on the group. Beckhard’s criteria for group re-alignment consists of setting goals and priorities, allocating work performance contingent upon member job description, and examining the way the group is performing (iii). The group level has been identified as the most important subsystem within an organization because the group is the interface between the individual and the organization. Burke indicated that the individual within an organization is becoming a rarity and that the Hawthorne study concluded that groups are important for organizational effectiveness. Beckhard also concluded that everyone must be “pulling” in the same direction to produce successfully a change effort.
There are several intervention strategies that can be conducted on an organizational level. These techniques include surveys, survey feedback, and employee involvement. Organizational consulting can be described as a planned process to bring about large-scale organizational change (iii). Large group intervention involves bringing together key groups of organizational members with a recognized need to make change. Examples of an organizational change process can include larger-system level and inter-organizational levels.
Three orders of change are necessary to consult and implement change strategies at the organizational level. First-order change is the initial focus with individual or subsystem of the organization. Second-order change is when the targeted subsystem will be affected if the initial effort is successful. Intervention at this level would take place with one particular group then using a TQM approach to disseminate the information throughout the organization. The third-order change then influences organizational processes that are affected by multiple factors. This requires involvement at the organizational level and will affect work climate and subordinate motivation and participation leading to enhanced productivity.
Lewin’s force field analysis and action research cycle (ARC) as a common model used during organizational interventions. Lewin’s process to assess if change is needed is to unfreeze, change, and freeze (iii). There are six assumptions of Lewin’s model for change. Lewin described a stable state and that change requires new learning. People must let go of current attitudes, behaviors, and organizational practices to be successful. To achieve positive outcomes there must be motivation, without employee motivation there will be no change. Lewin also concluded that the most difficult part of the change process is that because people are at the center of change, and they must change first in order for new systems, processes, and structures to change. Understanding that resistance will be present at all levels regardless of how desirable the change goals are sustaining change requires continued reinforcement of new behaviors, attitudes, and organizational practices at the organizational level. Knowledge of the assumptions of ARC is critical at the organizational consulting level. Problem identification knowing right from wrong ethical consulting is imperative. Client involvement is critical and accurate feedback to the system is necessary. At the organizational level building competence in change and new processes is essential.
Individual and Organizational Approaches
Advancing from individual and group coaching to organizational consulting is a cumulative process. Using a combination of TQM and the G.R.I.P. model, Goals, Role, Interpersonal Relationships process one can begin to create and implement organizational change using this group level change strategy. This performance tool can be used to enhance and improve team effectiveness whereas defining goals is a critical component for successful change. Goal definition is also a major strategy of the GRIP model and research indicates that one in six employees terminated employment because of negative relationships in the workplace.
The GRIP model can help reduce miscommunication and can assist in the creation of a more positive productive work environment. When teams under perform at least one element of GRIP was missing. High involvement organizational interception incorporates aspects of several interventions. This coaching or consulting process begins at the individual level, advances to the group level, and then completion is obtained at the organizational level (iv). The belief of organizational interception is that people are organizations most important asset and they need to be involved for change processes to succeed.
Successful leaders, consultants, counselors, or coaches as those individuals who possess the ability to reduce anxiety, create differentiation, and create integration. Organizational Development is planned organizational change. For change to be effective cooperation from senior executives and management is required. In order for all employees to accept changes, senior level leaders need to take ownership of the change and lead by example. Effective coaching, consulting, or intervention requires appropriate assessment and planning. The intervention needs to meet the needs of the business and intended outcomes need to be precise and clearly communicated throughout the organization. The purpose of interventions is to identify existing problems within an organization. The ability to identify issues and concerns is the first step of implementing change.
(i) Cummings, T. G., & Worley, C. G., (2008), Organization development and change. (9th ed.) South-Western Cengage Learning.
(ii) Daft, R. (2011), The leadership experience. (5th ed.). Mason: South-Western Cengage Learning.
(iii) Burke, W.W. (2008). Organization change, theory and practice. (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
(iv) Rothwell, J.R., Sullivan, R., & McLean, G.N., (1995), Practicing Organization Development, A guide for consultants, Jossey-Bass Pfeiffer, San Francisco.