Insights

A personal reflection by Graham Clark

I was a management consultant for 16 years before deciding to become a full-time coach. When I was consulting friends, clients and family members they would sometimes ask me what the point of consulting was – and the very short answer I’d always give was that it’s about making our client organisations stronger and more capable. And then they’d ask me what consultants do, the answer I always gave was based on David Maister’s seminal book “Managing the professional services firm”. When you boil it down, there are only 3 things that consultants do – sell, deliver and manage.

It’s a fair enough question. We’re told all the time that coaching skills are a must have set of skills for the modern leader.

Indeed, all the top business schools, from Wharton to Insead, now include modules on coaching on their MBA programmes. And they know a thing or two about leadership and management.

What is engagement?

Outside of work we think of engagement as a commitment, in the workplace engagement has come to mean the commitment that employees have to the organisation that they work for.

Coaching and mentoring, whether delivered by internal coaches, line managers or external partners, can have a lasting, positive impact on an organisation.

But what does an effective organisation look like?*

1. High Performance – achieving directly measurable business results

2. Organisational health - “the ability of your organisation to align, execute, and renew itself faster than your competitors… organisational health is about adapting to the present and shaping the future faster and better than the competition… Healthy organisations don’t merely learn to adjust themselves to their current context or to challenges that lie just ahead; they create a capacity to learn and keep changing over time”

*McKinsey Quarterly, June 2011 “Organisational Health – The Ultimate Competitive Advantage” – Scott Keller and Colin Price

Change, as we’re often told, is a constant part of the work environment

Some changes are relatively benign. But others, such as reorganisations, redundancy and mergers and acquisitions – while replete with opportunity – often make us feel highly uncomfortable and challenge our feelings that we’re in control of our lives. When confronted with a major unexpected change at work, particularly one that seems challenging or unsettling there’s a pattern of emotions that we often go through.