Coaching as a consulting methodology

Crelos consult in organisational change. Our expert team work in partnership with clients to understand their strategic business agendas and develop solutions that achieve improved business performance.

When an organisation needs to change radically and fast, coaching can be an important and value added method to deliver systemic change. Over the last three years at Crelos, we have pioneered a method of organisational consulting using a coaching approach which has delivered impressive results. For example, in one global financial services organisation, our approach delivered a ten percent improvement in employee engagement in a market where job losses were increasing and competitor organisations were seeing a substantial down turn in employee engagement. In another organisation, coaching was used to deliver a substantial cultural change, shifting the organisation from solution-led to consultative-led, resulting in a substantial increase in customer satisfaction.

Coaching refers to the activity of a coach developing the abilities of a coachee. Typically targeted at individuals, coaching tends to focus on an existing problem (from which to move away) or a specific outcome that an individual wishes to achieve (move towards). In both cases the coach aims to stimulate a decision about what can be done to achieve the outcome or resolve the issue.

When coaching is used as a method of organisational change, coaching is viewed in a more systemic way with the coaching of individuals being purposefully linked to an organisational agenda. The organisation provides the problem from which the organisation must move away from or an outcome that the organisation must move toward. For example, a business needs to be sold to a new owner for the best price in a way that will secure a positive and sustainable future. In this context there is a very direct and measurable link between the individuals being coached and the organisational agenda. Like with individual coaching, critical to the success of the change is a genuine desire to develop and change, trust in the coaches’ ability to remain objective in the coaching relationship and the ability of the coach to push the boundaries of thinking and doing. In addition, however, the coaching process has three core components:

  1. A contracting system which determines which individuals will be coached, the nature of choice and the boundaries of confidentiality.
  2. A coaching system which specifies the nature of the coaching relationship (individual and team coaching contracts).
  3. 3. An organisational learning system whose role it is to feedback any issues and opportunities that arise as the coaches tackle each individual agenda for change, in to the overall coaching process.


These three systems work together in parallel to deliver the overall agenda for change. This systems-psychodynamic approach works because it provides a framework within which to tackle the complex and often unconscious processes that easily derail change; it ensures maximum individual buy-in to the process and is associated with a high level of procedural justice which encourages commitment to achieving the goal.

For example, consider an organisation faced with the prospect of being sold. In such a situation, the complexity of the management task increases exponentially. The event is likely to stir up powerful competitive urges, with leaders worrying about job losses, the vagaries of new owners and anxious about an uncertain future. These negative emotions compete with states of hope for the future and imagination of what might be possible. In this fragile state it is easy for teams to fracture, for the reputation of individuals and the value of the organisation to be eroded. A coaching for change framework provides a lens through which these unconscious dynamics can be exposed and safely worked through. Through the learning system the coaches and authorised representatives bring to the table issues that must be worked through at a group level in order for the organisation to succeed in its journey of change. This process helps to maintain trust in the agenda and enables group members to stay focussed on their collective task of making the best strategic choices whilst also continuously considering, in a goal focussed and resourceful way, their individual agendas of personal growth and change.

“If you drill down, the theory behind the practice is strong. There is good pure thinking behind what they do.”

Diane King, Head of Human Resources, Kleinwort Benson

Ali Gill CEO and Client Director for the Finance and Banking sectors