The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new. – Socrates

Change is constant, as mentioned a lot by many. With the change, people transition from a certain level or place to another point in their lives. But it’s not only about going from point one to point two.

And sometimes, the transition could be like riding on a rough road full of bumps ahead.

Transitioning and changing are both processes. People must go through stages of transition to where they should be, just like when one grieves. Before they accept the unacceptable, they go through the stage of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, then acceptance, as explained in the DABDA model or the Kübler-Ross model by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

“If we are not in the stage of acceptance, we are fighting against or avoiding reality.”

What’s very important about going through certain stages is recognizing where you are and what you need. So, for leaders going through changes or transitions, you also need to know where you are. I ask these questions to leaders who I help in my coaching sessions.

    • Have you accepted the role?
    • Are you aware of what it takes to get there?
    • Are you doing the actions that will make that happen?

A lot of times when I ask those questions, either people know what they need, but they need to articulate it more, or they don’t know that there are things they’re still practicing from the past that are not helping them in their current role.

So leaders need to articulate where they need to go so they can map out what will get them prepared. They must ask themselves whether they have accepted the role and are ready to move on to the next.

“It is essential to be honest with oneself to understand the entire process.”

Sometimes people feel like they have already transitioned when they are in the role. They are ready now. But with changes and new things, and because sometimes things are happening fast or the expectations are high, there’s no time to think about things like this. But there has to be the first part that you must plan and think about it. You must know where to transition to, where you’re supposed to go.

What Factors Can Affect the Transition process?

As mentioned earlier, transitioning through change is not just going from point 1 to point 2. And the journey is not always going to be a smooth one.

Expectations or the need to perform

The idea that they need to do something right away and the pressure that comes with the role they need to fill sometimes blinds people. They don’t stop to look at the situation and figure out what the role requires.

You can also be very impatient. You want it to be perfect right away or in a specific way. And it gets frustrating because it’s like starting over again. You’re trying to learn more about the people you’re working with. You’re also trying to learn about your new space and what people expect from you.

Given these expectations, it is essential to align yourself with your boss. Find out what they expect of you. Sometimes it is simple to jump to conclusions. However, because it’s a different role, you must be able to hear the boss or have him spell out what’s important to him, what he needs to see, and what’s necessary for success in that role.


Your perception of growth may prevent you from smoothly transitioning into a new role. Moving to a new environment may entail starting over or learning new skills. Even if you are skilled in some areas, this does not imply that you are experienced in all areas.

Curiosity is needed to have the right mindset toward new experiences. Do not resist changes or new things; approach them with curiosity. Because when you’re curious, you’re not judgmental; instead, you’re more open. Consider things from various perspectives.

My favorite question is, “What do you need to do differently?” I always say that because it helps me look at the situation and think, okay, maybe I should see this differently and more positively.

Relationship with stakeholders

Who do you work with? Study and profile them to determine what they require and value.

Because if you can do this, you will have better relationships and have a more significant positive influence in reaching your goals together. Do not assume that because you have worked with a team, it is the same as this team. It’s the same as before but think of it as a new thing with new people.

Behind each role is a personality or person distinct from another person in a different role. So that is what you must learn or study.


The environment could be the culture or a high pressured environment. If you’re in a new space with a new team, those people can also create the culture. So you have to study what culture you are in.

To be successful in your role, understand the culture. If you want to implement changes, do new things or get results, you must understand the environment you are working in. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, the environment can be supportive. It can help you through the change, but other environments are complex. It can be rough and even ruthless.


What triggers you every time there’s change? Do you panic, become a perfectionist or overthink? Know your patterns when these things happen when you’re under stress. Do you over-analyze and get emotional? Be aware of these triggers so that every time they show up, you can still manage them and have a more positive outcome.

What Can Leaders Do to Smoothly Transition Through Change?

#1. Draw the line.

There is always that invisible line between where you started and where you want to go. Understand that there is a line you must cross and that the space on the other side of the line differs from where you are going. Prepare by learning about the environment you’ll work in and the people you’ll work with.

#2. Understand yourself.

You need to understand and recognize how you respond to the change. There’s that famous fight, flight, or freeze situation. So how do you manage change or do you do all three? It’s good if you are someone who always finds solutions to change your relationship with change.

#3. Have people who will support you.

Having people who will support you during this transition is critical. Find people within the company who can assist you or people who have worked there before. You can ask for their help in the change because not planning for it is equivalent to bringing old baggage.

Who are these key figures? It could be the CEO, someone from another department, or your team.

#4. Focus on why they hired you.

The company hired you because of your strength. That is one thing that you should not forget. But certain things must go perhaps because it is no longer applicable to the current situation. However, if you focus on why they hired you in the first place, for example, they saw something in you other than your strength or potential as the company’s next leader or successor; then they must have seen something special about you.

Instead of thinking you’re not the right person for the job or that you can’t do it, consider it an opportunity to grow.

#5. Use the right tools.

Instead of focusing on what’s not right, focus on what’s working. Ask yourself these questions.

    • What’s working for me?
    • What are my strengths?
    • How do I use my strengths in a situation like this?

You already have the right toolbox with you. So it’s a question of how to use the right tools in this situation.

How can a coach help leaders in transitioning?

It can be overwhelming because so much preparation is required during the transition. What can a coach do? A coach can

    • Help you figure out where and where you need to go.
    • Ensure you are concentrating on the right things.
    • See the big picture and help you put the puzzle pieces together, so you have a clear picture of who you are.
    • Focus on behaviors, so they can help you process the type of leader you need to be to be effective where you are.

So it’s like having a partner to help you think it through and ensure you get the right plan and action steps. And, as a busy leader, you don’t have time to make mistakes. Of course, you’re free to do so. But you don’t want to do everything because it’s time-consuming and costly.

So, are you ready to begin the first phase of transitioning into this ever-changing, fast-paced world?