The Prosci 3-Phase Process has been around for over a decade. Phase Two, managing change, focuses on the five plans a change management practitioner creates and integrates into a project plan to support the people side of change.

This article looks at the "why" behind each of the five plans. If we understand why, and we leverage best practices in creating each plan, we improve change results and are more likely to deliver intended results and benefit realization in times of change (learn more about Prosci Change Management Certification Program for an introduction to the five levers or Prosci Experienced Practitioner Program for a sophisticated examination of the plans in action).

The Five Levers

3 Phase Process Short.pngThe five levers - also called change management plans - created during Phase Two of the 3-Phase Process are:

  • Communications plan
  • Sponsor roadmap
  • Coaching plan
  • Training plan
  • Resistance management plan

In the end, each plan is only effective if it helps employees impacted by the change through their own personal transition. The Prosci ADKAR Model describes the five building blocks of successful individual change as awareness, desire, knowledge, ability and reinforcement. Each of the five levers uniquely contributes to individuals moving through the ADKAR process.

Communications plan

The communications plan outlines what information we will share with employees during the change. An effective communications plan shares the right messages to the right audiences at the right time and from preferred senders. The communication plan should answer the questions employees have about change, like:

  • Why do we need to change? Why now? What if we don't?
  • Why should I decide to embrace the change? What's in it for me?
  • How are we doing? What are the results?

Connecting the communications plan to the ADKAR Model

communications plan

Sponsor roadmap

The sponsor roadmap details the specific actions we need from senior leaders to fulfill their role as effective sponsors. The change management practitioner needs to provide guidance and direction, working behind the scenes to make sponsoring change as easy as possible for senior leaders. Sponsorship is critical because:

  • Employees look to sponsors for direction, commitment and vision
  • Employees listen to sponsors for messages about why a change is happening
  • A strong and healthy sponsor coalition is critical to extend and sustain change results

Connecting the sponsor roadmap to the ADKAR Model

sponsor roadmap

Coaching plan

The coaching plan details how we need managers and supervisors to engage their direct reports during change. Managers are the closest to the employees who ultimately have to bring change to life, and their relationship makes them crucial allies in times of change. Employees look to their managers for answers, support and direction in times of change. Prosci research indicates five specific roles of managers in times of change:

  • Communicator
  • Advocate
  • Coach
  • Resistance manager
  • Liaison

Connecting the coaching plan to the ADKAR Model

coaching plan

Training plan

The training plan identifies the knowledge needs, knowledge gaps and training requirements for a project or initiative. It inventories the skills required during and after the change occurs. Employees need training in times of change, but that training is only effective if it is preceded by an understanding of why (awareness) and a decision to change (desire).

Connecting the training plan to the ADKAR Model

Training Plan

Resistance management plan

Human beings resist change; it is our psychological and physiological tendency. The resistance management plan captures the approach to proactively and reactively respond to resistance when it occurs during change. Reactive resistance management is executed by leaders and managers throughout the organization. Proactive resistance management leverages the foresight of the project team to identify:

  • Where resistance is likely to come from
  • What resistance is likely to look like
  • How the root causes for resistance will be mitigated early in the initiative

Connecting the resistance management plan to the ADKAR Model

Resistance Management Plan

Alignment across the project lifecycle

The tables above mapped each of the five levers to their corresponding ADKAR elements. The image below takes this mapping and presents it in a project view, with the ADKAR Model as the milestones of achievement and "swim lanes" for each of the five change management levers.



Successful change, at its core, occurs when employees who have to change how they do their jobs are adequately prepared, supported, rewarded and sustained. Change management is a holistic process for developing the strategies and plans to support impacted individuals through their own transitions. Each of the five levers identified in the Prosci 3-Phase Process uniquely supports individuals through the ADKAR Model, resulting in employees who adopt changes and use solutions that further their organization.

Checklist for Your Change Management Approach

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.