AN ORGANISATION depends on its leaders to execute and meet objectives.

A common practice is to groom internal candidates for leadership positions, as they are perceived to offer better value at less risk.

Organisations understand that successful transitions from line manager to senior manager to top executive ensure future capability.

Transition coaching is the key to achieving this.

Many newly placed top executives fail within their first two years in the position for reasons ranging from their inability to adjust to a new role and develop strong relationships to a lack of understanding of the business imperatives.

What new leaders do during their first months in a new role greatly determines the extent of their success in the next several years. An unsuccessful transition can negatively impact an organisation through poor financial results, decreased employee morale and costly turnovers.

So rather than risk this sink-or-swim gamble, organisations can improve the process with transition coaching.

If organisations use the right transition strategies when bringing a new leader on board, they not only will help prevent failure, but will also create additional value by accelerating the new leader’s effectiveness.

Transition coaching engages the new leader in the company’s corporate strategy and culture to accelerate performance.

Making the transition

Unlike executive coaching, transition coaching is time-bound and relatively short-term.

Transition coaching has three overall goals:

* To accelerate the transition process by providing just-in-time advice and counsel;

* To prevent mistakes that may harm the business and the leader’s career; and

* To 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 and 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.

Frequently, 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 that 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 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.

Whether an executive is moving into a new position or looking to get back on the road to success, executive and transition coaching work to bring out the best in people through the support of a professional relationship.

Both relationships are 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 deliver what any business needs — real results.