Managing Transitions – Sample Scenarios

Starting off with a plan; getting off on the right foot.

Most organizations need their managers to handle changes and transitions quickly and effectively. They need to integrate into the company, come up to speed in new roles, handle promotions and provide value as quickly as possible.

A performance coach can help.

That’s because coaching is a customized process designed for the manager’s individual situation. Coaching will help the manager strategize, integrate, learn quickly and be accountable for their transition. A coach will help the manager understand his or her strengths, and hone in on any specific barriers that may impede their success while providing additional support and accountability.

A coach can help determine whether it is new skills that the manager needs, or a different way of addressing and thinking about problem solving.

Here are some Sample Coaching Scenarios.

The Promotion:  “I’ve been promoted into a new leadership role and I need to hit the ground running. I want to be successful from the start and add value early on. How do I make sure this happens? How do I get to know my new team and get some early wins?”

One of the most exciting times for a manager is a promotion into a new role. Of course, along with the new title and compensation comes the responsibility and need for new skills and broader perspective. What are some of the keys to success when handling this type of transition?

  • Understanding and Outlining expectations early.
  • Assessing your team.
  • Setting priorities.
  • Developing a 120 day plan.
  • Communicating, communicating, communicating.

Research has shown that one of the biggest mistakes a newly promoted manager makes is assuming that the technical skills that won them the job will be the same ones they should use to successfully manage and lead in a new role. Many simply do not have an approach taking on new responsibilities. A coach can help them plan and ensure they are clear on their responsibilities, and adding value in their new role as quickly as possible.

The Coaching Approach: Initiate a candid conversation about the expectations for Maggie that comes along with this new promotion.

  • Start with a discussion about what’s expected of Maggie in her role.
  1. How is that different and the same from her previous job?
  2. What is Maggie’s boss requiring of her?
  3. Who are her key stakeholders now?
  4. What does her new staff need to know about her?
  5. What do they need to do their jobs well?
  • Data gathering/Interview phase – Feedback and planning.
  • Action Planning with Maggie and alignment meetings with her manager.

The New Job: “I’ve just landed this great new job. I want to get off on the right foot in the company. How do I get up to speed quickly and not step on landmines?”

Joseph has landed a new job in a different company as a business unit head for a group of engineers. This is his second managerial job. He is excited and a little nervous about the change. This job will be a larger scope of responsibility with higher visibility and there are some issues he needs to address right away. He also needs to learn the company, the politics, the stakeholders and his new team’s capabilities.

The Coaching Approach: Develop an entry plan with Joseph to address what he needs to accomplish over the next 100 days. Break up the priorities and “to do’s” in 30, 60, 90 day increments so he maintains focus and momentum, address issues and come up to speed quickly.

The Promotion. New Skills: “I’ve been in this job for about 6 months now and I am getting feedback that I need to be more strategic. What does this mean and how do I go about it?”

A mid-level sales manager, Chris has been top salesperson in his unit for the past four years. He is eager, motivated and committed. He’s seen as a star in the making. His manager is leaving the company to retire in one month. Chris has been tapped as his replacement. He is eager to show the team how sales should really be done. His manager is concerned that Chris understand that his focus is not going to be on being a great salesperson any longer, but in teaching others to be great salespeople and in managing and motivating others.

The Coaching Approach: Initiate a candid conversation about the expectations for Chris that come along with this new promotion. Help him understand the shift in requirements from his last role to his new one. Work with his manager and Chris to develop a transition plan as well as a plan to address his first months in his new role. Assess his current skills and identify any gaps in skills that will need to be addressed going forward and how to build these.


Rocky Relationships: “I don’t know what everyone complains about. I get the job done. Period. If people’s feelings are hurt, that’s their problem. I’m a straight shooter and I like that about myself. But they say my approach is too forceful and it’s holding me back. I don’t want to change who I am, but I evidently need to do something different. I just don’t know.”

Richard has been in his role for three years. He is known as a “no-nonsense,” “take no prisoners” type of manager. He has made great contributions to the company, but recently his level of turnover has started to increase and getting people to transfer into his department is difficult at best. There are rumblings in the company amongst his peers that his style is causing a lot of friction working with units other than his own. Richard is not sure why these things are happening but he’s having a harder time getting projects accomplished. He feels that he’s a straightforward person and doesn’t want to change that about himself. He would like to be put forward in the company for a more senior level position, but has been told that he’s “not ready.”

The Coaching Approach: Help Richard develop a fuller picture of his strengths and weaknesses and raise his self-awareness of his interactions and their impact on others. Assist him in putting together a development plan to address issues that may be holding him back.

  • Start with a discussion of what’s expected of Richard in his current role with both Richard and his manager.
  • Discuss Richard’s aspirations with his manager and find out what he sees as Richard’s needs to address before he’d be considered for another role.
  • Obtain additional feedback from Richard’s key stakeholders either through interviews or 360o feedback tool.
  • Use other assessments, if necessary, to round out Richard’s profile.
  • Spend time with Richard debriefing the feedback, and developing a plan to address those areas that will make the most impact.

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Yes! You may use this article by Executive Coach Melodie Howard in your blog, newsletter or website as long as you include the following bio box:

Melodie Howard’s firm, In Perspective Consulting, focuses on designing and executing sustainable systems for development. Her particular specialties are: succession planning, corporate values, performance management systems, senior leadership competency development, executive coaching, 360o feedback and talent management. Melodie’s previous experience includes serving as the Group Director of Organizational Development for leading international re-insurance company, Partner Reinsurance, Ltd., based in Hamilton, Bermuda. She continues to work with them on a retained consultancy basis. Prior to her role at PartnerRe, Melodie spent 16 years at the Center for Creative Leadership in both operational and profit and loss responsibility roles. Melodie received her Master’s of Science in Organization Development from Pepperdine University in August of 2000 and a B.S. in Psychology from Guilford College in 1980. You can find Melodie’s profile on

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