Transition Coaching

How Role Transitions Can Lead to “Leadership Leaps”

Transition coaching is one of the most effective leadership development services that HFL offers, and is increasingly in demand at clients where they have experimented with the HFL process.


As we all know, transitioning to a new role can be a traumatic leadership experience; but it can also be a catalyst for what we call at HFL a “leadership leap” – the opportunity, in only a few weeks, to dramatically develop leadership capability using structured transition coaching.


How does it work? Typically, periods of transition from one role to another are a high pressure and stressful experience, particularly if the coachee is being promoted to a role with more responsibility, and different numbers and seniority of people to manage.


Everyone in the organisation has a lot at stake in this moment. The organisation wants an effective and if possible seamless transition, and good results straight away; as well as wanting to retain the talent they have just promoted. The two teams – firstly the team the coachee is leaving behind, and secondly the team the coachee is inheriting – will both be worrying about how the change in leaders will affect them (and will assume negative repercussions until proved otherwise). The coachee also has a huge amount at stake – can s/he make the transition successfully, leave the current team in good shape, and quickly have an impact and start executing the mandate they have been given with the new team.


This is a perfect situation to provide intensive and invaluable support via coaching.


Transition coaching starts with a simple offer – it is a plan to build a plan. It helps transitioning leaders by:


Providing structure and direction at a critical time – building a complete plan, prioritising the right things to do, in the right order, in the right way;


Providing leadership coaching support – the coach helping the development of the plan,  and the leader in transition, by asking the right questions at the right time;


Providing planning templates – how to leave, how to say hello, how to connect with staff, with internal networks, with customers, with suppliers – in a planned, effective way that leads to clarity, connection, communication and timely execution.


HFL’s customisable template runs for sixteen weeks, with eight sessions of coaching. The template covers four critical phases of transition:



Prepare | Arrive | Impact | Take Off


Four sessions would occur during the “month before”, and then the other four at key check in points during the next three months. During the first four sessions the coach and leader build a transition plan, which crucially includes a communication plan that takes in all stakeholders. There is a big emphasis on understanding how this change will impact everyone affected by the leader’s promotion in a different way.


As every L&D professional will know, this intervention can lead to very accelerated leadership development – both for the leader, and for those s/he is leading. Common mistakes and potholes can be avoided; communication messages can be sharpened and delivered with high impact; and performance and cultural expectations can be defined with real clarity. In short, a leadership leap can be engineered.


HFL has an established Structured Transition Coaching methodology which helps front line and middle level leaders make position transitions. To receive a briefing on how the process works, and to view our Leadership Transitions Manual, please contact us.






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