12 Ways Leaders Can Help Others -- And Themselves -- Embrace Change


Expert Panel, Forbes Coaches Council

See article on forbes.com here.

Top business and career coaches from Forbes Coaches Council offer firsthand insights on leadership.

It seems that no matter where you turn, change is coming, bringing great opportunities for learning, growth and happiness — if only you know how.

Each new year brings with it a starting-over point, a moment for reflection, reassessment then resolution. Perhaps it means a new direction for the company. Perhaps it means a rebranding or redoubled effort to find a larger audience. Whatever the goal may be, the first few months of the year are the perfect time to implement change.

However, it can be hard for leaders to properly take advantage of this momentary mind shift. In order to help you make the most of the opportunity, 12 members of Forbes Coaches Council share their best approaches. Here's what they advise you try:

Members discuss a few ways you can tap into the season of change to encourage improvement and growth.

1. Engage With The Present, Think Of The Future

Engage with the present, while keeping an eye on the long-term vision. As leaders plan for 2019 and beyond, incorporate a coaching culture where leaders and managers guide staff to approach projects and daily performance using the technique of bifocal vision. Focus on using today’s performance to enhance tomorrow's skills and habits through conscious development and conscious learning. - Ann Holland, Strive Performance Coaching

2. Make Change A Reality

The start of the new year is an opportunity to look forward and create a clear vision for where you want to be in your career in the next 12 months that you can get excited about. Determine what part of that vision is different from where you are now and decide what steps you are willing to take to make that change a reality. Commit to taking at least one of those steps in the next month. - Matt Mills, Matt Mills Coaching

3. Reflect And Renew

Reflection and renewal are both essential to high performance leading. The seasons offer natural opportunities for both if we pay attention. Around the new year, all leaders can benefit from asking themselves three questions: What am I most proud to have contributed this year? What was my biggest leadership lesson? What am I committed to being, doing and having in the year ahead? - Erin Rocchio, Erin Rocchio Consulting

4. Reassess Value And Align With Objectives

Leaders may consider evaluating their previous year by reflecting on their achievements as well as reflecting on the challenges they may have faced. One good way to start the year is to reassess their values and align them with their objectives. This should also be joined with creating meaningful goals, breaking them down to milestones and creating new habits both in life and in business. - Dris Mhammedi, The Body & Mind Coach

5. Choose Uncertainty Over Unhappiness

There is no good time for a change. However, it’s unsettling when you don’t plan it. The first of the year is a perfect time to change whatever is bothering you or holding you back. Your decision to make a change is not about your situation as much as it is a choice between unhappiness or uncertainty. Don’t settle for unhappiness for another year. Make that change now! - Tom Scarda, CFE, The Franchise Academy Powered By FranChoice

6. Listen To The Front Lines

Leaders can use this time to find out what front-line staff thinks of changes already made and what changes they think need to be made. Your front-line people know where the flaws are in your systems. They can recommend fixes. It's time for you, as a leader, to ask, then listen. - Pam Scott, Armstrong Scott Inc.

Read more in Making A Plan To Listen

7. Focus On The Future, Not The Past

This time of year, goal setting can get out of hand. We reflect on last year, think about what we wish we had done, and then we write our new goals like a task list to get even with Father Time. Managers who want to make a real difference at their companies next year need to focus on just a few things that will really move the needle, rather than everything they wish they did last year. - J. Ryan Williams, SalesCollider

8. Focus On One Area Of Development

One way leaders may find opportunities for growth in the new year is to focus on just one area they are most in need of developing, and put their energy into growing in that one space. Most of the time, we know what we need to change, but we either don't want to, don't know how or simply give up too soon. Challenge yourself this new year by leading your own growth with the help of a coach. - Michelle Holzberg, Accelerated Talent Group

9. Ask Three Questions

Ask yourself three questions about yourself: How do I prefer to behave when I'm in a natural setting? Why do I do the things that I do? What is it that I revert back to when the stress is high and I'm pressured to make decisions? The responses to these questions will present optimal possibilities for change and professional growth in 2019. - Jorge Gutierrez, BMOC GROUP

10. Identify One Habit To Change Each Quarter

The new year is a great opportunity for change because our psychology lends itself to what in Latin is called tabula rasa, or clean slate. In this it means, we all feel conscious and perhaps unconsciously that we can start anew, fresh and with excitement. As a leader, decide one new habit you would like to change each quarter. Identify it, stack it in your routine, take pride in it, and commit. - Denise Trudeau-Poskas, Blue Egg Leadership

11. Self-Assess, Create Mini Action Plans And Share

Leaders can engage everyone around them to do an honest assessment of themselves in 2018, highlighting what worked well and areas that could use attention. Invite people to create a mini "action plan" of how they will address the items that need attention in 2019. Share your lists with each other and ask how you can support each other in staying accountable to your goals throughout the new year. - Angela Mulligan, Angela Mulligan Consulting + Coaching

12. Analyze Past Successes, Then Make More Room For More

Everyone has value when they have the time to analyze it. Take a look back at last year’s biggest success. List the activities that led to the success and design ways to make room for more of these activities. Understand that most people want to change. Change is about growth. Create the fail-safe environments that allow people to take the risks necessary to develop the next level capabilities. - Patrick Antrim, Legendary Teams