Working with change leaders – the evangelical change leader

woman hiking

Written by Vicky Emery

June 7, 2020

Photo by Nina Uhlíková from Pexels.

In the last blog, we looked at the overloaded change leader and what they bring to their change. Understanding that means we are better placed, as practitioners, to tailor an approach that works best with that style.

The evangelical change leader

I love working with a people leader who is passionate about the change that is happening. They believe in the solution and the benefits to the organisation, it’s people and customers. They are ready and willing to communicate about why it is important, the challenges or opportunities. Often, they are an early adopter.


This change leader is ready and willing to communicate about why the change is important, the challenges or opportunities. As an early adopter, they will influence their peers and colleagues to adopt the change, too. The fire of delivering the solution and outcomes burns bright and will drive them to overcome issues, get resources, keep the change front of mind and prioritise the work that needs to be done. They can, because of this, need some managing!


Their team may not be up to the same thinking or stage, yet. If they run too far ahead, that can make the gap disproportionately bigger and harder to catch up. It can create resistance that could have been avoided.

They can start communicating a little too early and without a clear direction or core message. Because they are so passionate about the benefits or outcomes, they can push hard to release or start the ‘new’ way and, if the solution isn’t ready, readiness can go backwards.

This may not be the most important change to other senior leaders and, if the leader does not stay connected with the business need, they run the risk of losing the support of other leaders.

What helps

  • Be very clear on the true purpose – what problem is to be solved or opportunity to be leveraged? What can they can see as the potential outcome and how that helps.
  • This change leader wants to know they are working with a team that believes in the outcome just as they do. You don’t need to be the cheer-squad, be clear that your role is to help them move others to adopt the change so the outcomes are achieved. Objectivity is valuable to them.
  • If you aren’t already, ask if you can come to project meetings with them to make sure you can see the ways of helping make their vision come to life, the best way we can.
  • Keep focused on the short-term with the long term in view:
    • What can they do in the next few weeks?
    • How is their ‘fire’ best used? What communication (and to whom) can we plan for the next 1-2 weeks?
  • Use face-to-face or video to capture their authentic support. Interviews can help manage the message.
  • Make sure they are ready for comments or questions – reassure them it could help achieve the results or bring people alongside.
  • Let them know the impact of or questions that arise from their communications and make sure answers are communicated, too. People need to know the change leader is open to discussion, not just ‘conversion’ of the non-believers!


Our role as change practitioners is to make sure we work with them to land their change and the benefits. To work effectively with the change leader, first seek to understand the strengths and risks they bring to their own change.

How can we help?

  • Coaching – bringing in an ‘outside’ coach can help and that’s where we come in. We are ‘neutral territory’ and our focus as a coach to you is helping you achieve the outcomes you need of the change.
  • Plan to Land Change Workshop – we work with the change leader and their steering committee or project team to build the change strategy for the change and the action plan.

You may also like…