cart search

The success of any organizational change depends on impacted people and teams adopting new behaviors or responsibilities. But nothing will happen without coaching from people managers. To enable people managers to coach others through change, change practitioners must first equip people managers with the right knowledge and skills. 

Coaching Guide for People Managers

Prosci's Best Practice in Change Management research consistently shows that people prefer to receive messages about how the change will impact them directly from their immediate supervisors. If people managers have a basic understanding of the Prosci ADKAR Model, they can use it to identify gaps and coach impacted people and teams.

This guide provides a step-by-step coaching approach for employee-facing people managers in your organization.

1. People manager conducts a group meeting with impacted employees

  • Make introductions and conduct an ice breaker activity.
  • Explain the change, including background and context. Be honest about what is known and not known at the time.
  • Introduce the ADKAR Model. Talk through several examples of easy-to-understand and universal changes (i.e., resolving a behavior issue with child, losing weight, quitting smoking, etc.) and how the ADKAR Model applies.
  • Ask each individual to complete the ADKAR exercise for a personal change. Those who feel comfortable can share their experience (you will be surprised by how many will share). You may want to provide them with a copy of Employee’s Survival Guide to Change, which includes helpful context and ADKAR worksheets.
  • Conduct an ADKAR group exercise and presentation, working in small groups or as a team to examine the organizational change in terms of the ADKAR Model. Where are the barrier points? Brainstorm and capture ideas on flipcharts if meeting in person or on screen if virtual.
  • Next, facilitate a Q&A discussion about the change and the ADKAR Model. Provide an open and safe environment for candid discussion about the change.
  • Wrap up with next steps and information about where they can get support. Be sure to mention the upcoming individual coaching sessions. Each employee should prepare an ADKAR Assessment on themselves to bring to their individual coaching session. Schedule an individual session with each employee.

2. People manager conducts individual meetings with each team member

  • Discuss the employee's ADKAR Assessment of themselves. Allow them to provide background and explanation on each area of their ADKAR Assessment. 
  • Agree on their barrier point to change. Their barrier point is the first ADKAR element with a score of 3 or less. Focus your individual coaching activities in the first area with the score of 3 or less. The actions you take will differ for each individual (the output will look like the table below). Discuss potential root causes for this barrier point.
  • Create an individual change action plan with the employee that will help them overcome their barriers to change.

3. People manager analyzes patterns and creates ongoing coaching roadmaps

  • Create a grid with each team member's ADKAR profile, as in the table below. Do not share this grid with employees.

    CM074 img e.gif
  • Look for trends and patterns in the table. If everyone's barrier point is the same, you will be able to address it with the group as a whole.
  • Once you have identified patterns and addressed them, create an ongoing coaching roadmap for each impacted individual. This should build on their individual change action plan.
  • Follow up as needed. The frequency and content of these individual coaching sessions will depend on the specific individual, size of the change, and organizational attributes. 

Coach individuals successfully through change

People and teams need information and coaching to effectively engage, adopt and use a change to their daily work. Using the ADKAR Model to identify barrier points, understand what each person needs to move forward, and equip people as needed enables people managers to demonstrate that each individual's success matters. Doing so puts people at the center of change—which also makes practitioners and people managers more effective leaders of change. 

New call-to-action

Written by
Tim Creasey
Tim Creasey

Tim Creasey is Prosci’s Chief Innovation Officer and a globally recognized leader in change management. His work forms the foundation of the largest body of knowledge in the world on managing the people side of change to deliver organizational results.