This role has become increasingly popular in our marketplace over recent years and gives MLG the opportunity to support one or more client managers or directors.
Typically this may arise after one or more new appointments within the client organisation. It may be that the client is entering a period of significant change with a management team that is valued, but where doubts exist over whether the experience needed to cope with the change has yet been acquired. We have been in many discussions where Chief Executives / Managing Directors have said things like “so-and-so is very capable, part of the future, but this re-structuring is going to put a lot more on their shoulders. I’m not sure that he/she is ready for it”.
The requirement may be highlighted during a consultancy assignment, for example where the client feels able to complete an improvement project (e.g. reengineering major business processes) themselves but would appreciate having the experience and wisdom of MLG to call upon for its duration. This is not uncommon as the availability of senior management to handle the substantial management of change is unusual. In addition the workload of project managing such a change project sometimes conflict with the Business As Usual (BAU) management requirements.
Another situation which results in MLG taking this role is where a client management team is under pressure and MLG is requested to assist in coping with the pressure by giving advice and guidance to an individual member of the management team in the course of the ordinary duties of their role.
An example of this occurring was a business unit where an existing facility in the UK had absorbed a product from a US plant in order to focus on the specific requirements of the EMEA and Far East marketplaces. The new product had been introduced with the functional responsibilities being taken on by the existing functions – contract engineers reporting to the existing Commercial Director, Production Manager reporting to the Production Director, Production Engineering being undertaken by the existing Production Engineering department, and so on. Further, the methodologies employed in all areas were those of the existing product, even though the business needs for the new product were very different.
It was decided that the two business units should operate quite differently and that this was best served by having separate Business Unit Managers responsible for Quotations, Sales Order Entry and Contract Management, Production Planning and Control, Production Engineering and Production. The Design Engineering, Purchasing and Despatch functions remained as central services. The Contracts Manager for the new product was identified as an obvious choice for Business Unit Manager but he had no experience of managing production. Further the project engineer who was supervising this area would need to take far more managerial responsibilities, and while nobody doubted his long-term potential, this might have been a step too far at this time. The answer was for these two key individuals to take on their new roles with one of the MLG team acting as coach.
Elsewhere in the website we explain what we term the ‘Consultancy Continuum’ by which we mean that our team can provide any role from trainer and educator through to project manager and interim line manager. In the above example, MLG have had a long-term relationship with the client which has involved taking all of these roles at some time or other in line with the client needs. We consider this to be a significant strength – we are knowledgeable in the theory of management best practice, but we are also ‘hands on’ practitioners. As such we feel we can command the respect that is required of coaches.