TRANSITION coaching is one of the key transition strategies organisations can use to successfully on-board a new leader.

Encompassing the goals of executive coaching, transition coaching additionally focuses on a specific niche — reducing the time it takes for new leaders to make a net contribution to the organisation and establishing a framework for ongoing success.

Transition coaching has three overall goals:

  •  Accelerate the transition process by providing just-in-time advice and counsel;
  •  Prevent mistakes that may harm the business and the leader’s career; and
  •  Assist the leader in developing and implementing a targeted, actionable transition plan that delivers business results.

While many of the issues covered by transition coaching are similar to those included in executive coaching, such as sorting through short- and long-term goals, and managing relationships upwards as well as with team members, transition coaching is focused specifically on the transition process.

It is designed to educate and challenge new leaders. The new leader and coach will work together to develop a transition plan, a road map that will define critical actions that must take place during the first 90 days to establish credibility, secure early wins and position the leader and team for long-term success.

The transition coaching relationship also includes regular meetings with the new leader as well as ongoing feedback. Often, the coach conducts a “pulse check” of the key players, including the boss, direct reports, peers and other stakeholders, after four to six weeks to gather early impressions so the new leader can make a course correction if needed.

The entire transition coaching process provides new leaders with the guidance to take charge of their new situation, achieve alignment with the team and, ultimately, to move the business forward.

Organisations make a significant investment when they recruit and hire new leaders, and they have much to lose if a new hire does not succeed, possibly several times the hire’s base compensation.

Coaching methodology

Effective coaching is a major key to improving business performance. Executive coaching programmes, such as those run by the Centre for Executive Education (CEE Global), focus on the qualities of effective leadership and improved business results.

CEE’s approach comprises a series of structured, one-on-one interactions between a coach and an executive, aimed at enhancing the executive’s performance in two areas:

•  Individual personal performance; and

•  Individual organisational performance.

When executives are first confronted with being coached, they are not always clear about how best to use their sessions and are quite unaware that it is they who set the agenda.

Executive coaching teaches the beneficiary to minimise, delegate or outsource non-strengths by changing ineffective behaviours or changing ineffective thinking.

A transition coach only has one item on his agenda — the client’s success. This means going where it might hurt, and keeping a client accountable to achieving his goals.

The CEE Coaching Methodology consists of a proven four-step process that is firmly grounded in leadership development best practices:

•  Assess: Through a series of assessment and information gathering from various stakeholders, the coachee determines how his performance links to current business goals.

•  Debrief: The coachee will be provided with feedback based on the results of the assessments and with the support of the coach will develop a development plan which will enable coachees to determine what to do to close the gaps in their leadership capability. The sponsor will sign off the development plan to ensure there is alignment to the business objectives.

•  Action plan: The coachee will implement the development plan by taking well-defined action steps and regular feedback during scheduled coaching sessions with the coach, which enables the coachee to move towards measurable goals.

•  Measure: A full evaluation of the coaching process and engagement based on the agreed success metrics at the beginning of the assignment yields objective measures of business results and professional outcomes for both the organisation and the coachee.

Transition coaching works to bring out the best in leaders through the support of a professional relationship, which is built on a foundation of trust and confidentiality.

The ability of coaches to provide leaders with an outside resource that can also act as a sounding board helps them become the successful leaders they were meant to be.

Organisations must clearly define the purpose of coaching, gauge the process and evaluate results. Coaching is not just about providing support. Ultimately, coaching should help deliver what any business needs — real results.


Article by Professor Sattar Bawany, chief executive officer of the Centre for Executive Education (CEE Global), which offers executive development solutions, including executive coaching and leadership development programmes. For more information, e-mail or visit