Creating the Conditions for Change. Managerial Coaching: A Case Study.

21 December 2022

Delivering fast and impactful results, even in the most challenging contexts.

author picture Article written by Claire Guyot and Stéphanie Lerouge


Why should I read? To get an inside look into how important managerial support/coaching is for promoting an environment conducive to change. You will also find a set of good practices that can deliver fast and impactful results, even in the most challenging contexts (overlapping changes or significant resistance).


- A high-impact transformation (processes, tools, roles, hierarchical structure) whose success depends on the ability of a team challenged by economic restructuring and management turnover to regroup and reengage

- An action plan that uses managerial empowerment to (re)build a collaborative force and working environment more open to change.

- A 3-step approach: (1) Audit and individual interviews, (2) Restitution/confrontation and identification of "quick wins" actions, (3) Facilitation of two workshops: "Team cohesion and alignment with the mission" and "Relationships with stakeholders".

- Takeaways: Managerial coaching activities and support helped mitigate resistance and facilitate liaison work, making communication more fluid and forging a new team dynamic. In the words of the Director (N+2), this resulted in "a mindset shift and an increased willingness to face difficulties." (Desire)


Year - 2021-2022

Sector - Training

What – Managerial coaching


A.        Business challenge 

In order to stay ahead of the ever-changing industry, the organisation was looking to improve its processes to be more responsive to its customers' needs and recapture market share. The challenge includes restructuring the organisation (PSE) and implementing a new ERP tool. Due to these ongoing changes and tight schedule, the team a pivotal component in the company's structure – was experiencing difficulties that created bottlenecks throughout the organisation.

B.        People challenge

The transformation process was already well underway when the new manager arrived. Joining a team that had become resistant, disengaged, and is only one-third of its original size posed an immediate challenge for her. The team's reluctance to acknowledge the new manager as a legitimate authority figure stalled her ability to carry out her CLARC missions and get everyone working towards a common goal.

The manager's CLARC roles are pivotal in driving change, but as this case study shows, they can be fraught with difficulties. 

- Communication (C): existing silos; no (global) team meetings; fragmented information

- Liaison (L): hierarchical disconnect (lack of feedback) causing the mission to begin on shaky ground

- Change ambassador (A): change project already in an advanced stage when the manager takes office; insufficient onboarding

- Resistance Management (R) and Coaching (C): extensive coaching skills but lack of recognition by the team due to a professional background unrelated to the company's business field


Type of change. Job Safeguard Plan (French legal system aimed at preventing or limiting layoffs); major transformation of managerial lines and processes to increase efficiency and maintain customer satisfaction; adoption of a new ERP.

Impact measurement (PROSCI). 6 dimensions 10 are impacted to varying degrees (on a scale of 1 to 5):

1.         Process: 3

2.         Tools: 4

3.         Job Roles: 4

4.         Critical behaviours: 5

5.         Mindset: 5

6.         Hierarchical structure: 4



Despite multiple attempts at mediation, the manager found her team uncooperative and unmotivated. Recognising that the problem had reached a standstill, she opted to seek outside help. NEXUM was tasked with thoroughly assessing the situation and providing a complete and transparent report.

To borrow the words of the Director, NEXUM's intervention should help "revive a dispirited team that has lost its working habits and no longer knows what its scope of activity is". As is often the case, the demands of day-to-day operations hold higher precedence than anything else. Overwhelmed by the everyday operational duties (Business as Usual) and without access to adequate Change Management tools, sponsors and managers were unable to craft a plan to help them conquer the obstacles.

Therefore, the manager's courage to acknowledge the troubles and obstructions which required external assistance to be settled was the foundation of NEXUM's audit and coaching approach. Called upon to act as a facilitator, NEXUM brought its expertise to rebuilding a productive and change-ready workspace. By encouraging actions to re-establish the internal and external collaborative balance, NEXUM enabled the manager in her mission to manage/remodel a team. 


NEXUM adopted a 3-step approach:

1.         A global audit based on individual interviews (team members, manager, Director, HR, multiple stakeholders) to make a diagnosis and determine the target to be reached.

2.         Transparent feedback to raise awareness within the team, confront the manager and management members with the existing deficiencies, and make immediate changes.

NEXUM worked with the Direction to raise awareness of sponsorship requirements (ABC)[1]. To bolster leadership engagement, NEXUM discussed and prioritised the necessity of proactively addressing communication improvement with the manager. It prompted the introduction of weekly meetings and a streamlined information process. 

To earn full recognition, the new manager had to upskill through training and emulation of other directorates and services in the organisation. This action allowed her to display technical expertise and a more comprehensive understanding of business operations.

To ensure progress, the team needed to recognise and address internal conflicts between those resistant to change and those ready for it.

3.         Facilitation of 2 workshops:

The first workshop, "Team cohesion and alignment", helped get the team back on track by rebuilding communication and assisting with aligning goals. Through sub-group work, employees could become more acquainted with one another, aiding in developing improved working relationships.

The second "Stakeholders" workshop expanded the focus to include other directorates and services that are part of the operational chain. NEXUM sought to bring these stakeholders together and form beneficial partnerships by identifying their needs and working towards fulfilling them.


Free speech, in-depth and accurate diagnosis. By leveraging an external consultant's expertise, the team could voice their difficulties and apprehensions, identify underlying sources of opposition, and articulate their desires. The manager found this approach to be "liberating," as it allowed for confrontation and restitution without pre-existing bias interfering (conflict of interest). The post-interview realignment also sought to enlist 'strategic and influential actors' in order to activate all change management roles, including sponsorship and facilitation of the liaison managerial role. Through this, the manager was able to act as a "Resistance Manager" with great results (R in CLARC).

Regaining focus, alignment and determination. NEXUM helped rebuild the team by implementing a neutral listening framework, then identifying the opposing, "impaired" and collaborating profiles. According to the manager, when external professionals stepped in with their expertise, a whopping "90-95% of people were open and willing to cooperate". As a result, the organisation could quickly set new objectives without much pushback from employees.

A new team dynamic. The team felt an overwhelming sense of chaos and instability due to the newly implemented ERP tool and the high employee turnover rate. Workshops laid the grounds for everyone to come together and work out their roles internally and with external stakeholders. Consequently, a newfound sense of collaboration sprouted between employees as they gained clarity on their tasks. To ensure that communication channels remain open and the team is always focused, the manager has implemented "team rituals" such as frequent check-ins and a clear responsibilities chart. To sum up, she is now efficiently serving as a liaison between the team and its N+2, as well as stakeholders (L in CLARC).

A new mindset, a proactive stance. The N+2 noticed a "dramatic shift in attitude among his team". Before the interviews and feedback, a deep-seated "lack of trust prevailed among long-term employees and newcomers, across departments, or those managing separate accounts". The deployment of CM resources sparked a tangible transformation in everyone's outlook on overcoming current and upcoming challenges. The manager rapidly established informal communication channels (to share tips and advice on executing transformation) and fostered direct contact between departments (without managerial interference) (Communication role in CLARC).

Manager - NEXUM coach: a winning duo. In order to create a context conducive to transformation, managers must be given proper support. In this case, the manager points out the benefits of "working in tandem with someone outside the organisation, who truly understands the challenge and brings empathy, active listening skills and impartiality to the table"… an expert who can catalyse action based on a "rigorous and thorough assessment", as well as a deep understanding of both the overt and covert human dynamics playing out.


[1] ABC of sponsorship refers to the importance for sponsors to be visible and Active, Build a coalition of sponsors, and Communicate directly with employees.

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