Change Management – Ted Lasso leadership lessons, emotions and coaching skills

Managing partners, heads of transformation and functional leaders joined a MBL “Tackling change management – a workshop for professional practices” full day workshop in London last week. It was great that law firms, accountancy firms and surveying firms were represented – as the challenges are similar. It was an intense and interactive day with the delegates sharing their insights and tips. This post acts as an additional learning resource for delegates. Change Management – Ted Lasso leadership lessons, emotions and coaching skills.

Ted Lasso leadership lessons

The day started with a discussion of the role of leaders in change management. We explored several models of the attributes of great leaders – including the idea of visionaries and aggregators which I frame as magpies and pigeons Leadership teams: Maverick Magpies and Predictable Pigeons (

Delegates were enthusiastic about the leadership lessons from the TV show Ted Lasso (which is filmed in Richmond and attracts tourist visits as a result). It seems many others have commented on Ted Lasso leadership lessons – for example: 10 Leadership Lessons we can learn from Ted Lasso | LinkedIn August 2023

  1. See the good (the power of positive thinking – emotions are contagious: Emotional contagion, delegation, coaching and team meetings (
  2. Focus on potential, not just performance
  3. Build relationships with empathy An introduction to emotional intelligence (EQ) and empathy (Video) (
  4. Lead by example (we all recognise the power of strong role models in professional services)
  5. Adapt and overcome
  6. Authenticity is magnetic Leadership: Authenticity, values and culture – an overview (
  7. Humour breaks down barriers
  8. Treat everyone equally
  9. Patience is a virtue
  10. Celebrate wins, big and small

And also: Leadership Lessons from Ted Lasso and What to Ask Your Boss – Caroline Dowd-Higgins ( September 2023

  1. Believe in yourself Boosting Your Confidence at Work – A Toolbox for Success (
  2. Doing the right thing is never the wrong thing
  3. All people are different people. We considered two models of personality: dog, cat and bear personalities – Better business relationships ( Also mentioned was: Surrounded by Idiots: The Four Types of Human Behavior and How to Effectively Communicate with Each in Business (and in Life): Erikson, Thomas: 9781250179944: Books
  4. See good in others
  5. Courage is about being willing to try
  6. Vulnerability is a strength not a weakness Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability | TED Talk
  7. Tell the truth
  8. Winning is an attitude
  9. Optimists do more
  10. Stay teachable
  11. Be a Goldfish – If you do something wrong do not let it define you. Forget it – like a goldfish – within 10 seconds
  12. Happiness is a choice
  13. And if you like sports metaphors and stories for leadership lessons, I encourage you to read: Book review: Legacy – What the All Blacks can teach us (

Emotions are key in change management

Many change projects fail because the focus of the leaders is on the rational, practical side of things, whereas the emotions of those going through the change must be addressed for success. Change Management – Heads, Hearts and Hands (

Leaders need to have great emotional intelligence An introduction to emotional intelligence (EQ) and empathy (Video) ( I mentioned a book by psychiatrists that includes a reliable test for individual EQ: Book review – Emotional Intelligence 2.0 (

To create trust, leaders need to be open and authentic. This includes showing vulnerability at time. TED Talk: The Power of Vulnerability – Brené Brown (

We explored the Kubler-Ross emotional change cycle and the different emotions people experience during change Change process – Emotions when reacting to change ( We noted that some people go through the process quickly – and others more slowly. Some people can get stuck at a particular stage. We noted that a third of people are fast to adapt Change management and creativity – the adaptive third ( Stakeholder management is critical during times of change. Seven thoughts on stakeholder management, engagement and buy-In (

People dislike change and uncertainty so a key element of leading effective change means tuning into people’s emotions. Employee engagement and effective internal communications are amongst the most important tools for leading change. Book review: Influential Internal Communication by Jenni Field (

Leaders must take care with how they communicate change. Every conversation counts. We considered neuroscience to see how we can avoid moving employees into a threat or fear state – leadership conversation skills: SCARF model of neuroscience ( Resistance can be minimised if we use pull (ask questions) rather than push (tell) communications. The need to listen actively to what people are saying was also mentioned. Dealing with resistance to change (

People suffer from change fatigue and also decision fatigue Decisions Are For Suckers: Avoid Decision Fatigue ( So care is needed with the pace and volume of change, decisions and requests for new behaviours.

We considered various ideas around team performance and one delegate recommended these ideas: 5 Dysfunctions of a Team: Summary, pyramid & manager tactics — BiteSize Learning : absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability and inattention to results.

To stress the importance of attending to emotions during change, delegates were periodically prompted to examine and report their emotions. Self-awareness is a key part of emotional intelligence. Happily, during the day they were mostly positive emotions including: admiration, affirmed, alert, amused, anticipation, confident, curious, eager, energized, excited, happy, hopeful, inspired, interested, keen, optimistic, reflective, surprize. However, at the start and late in the day there were some others: apprehension, confused, disillusionment, hesitancy, fear, nervous, overwhelm and pressure!

Coaching skills in change management

One of the 12 domains of emotional intelligence is coaching and mentoring: Research on leadership and emotional intelligence (EQ) ( So it was no surprise that delegates – all leaders in their firms – were interested in the topic.

I signposted many resources including:

Soft skills: Introduction to coaching – Three frameworks (

Book review: Coaching skills: A handbook by Jenny Rogers (

Coaching models – book review of Stephen Gribben’s book (

Helping people change: Coaching with compassion (

A delegate suggested Home | Vistage  which is “the world’s most trusted CEO coaching & peer advisory organisation”.

I noted that in May the Managing Partners’ Forum | ( and Home – PM Forum are launching the Coaching Skills Academy | Managing Partners’ Forum (

Delegates’ Key takeaways

Throughout the day, delegates added their key takeaways onto a group montage using creative images. You’d have to see it to believe it but here are some of the main themes emerging:

  • Ants – We explored metaphors for describing our corporate culture. And to identify the desired culture we’d like to move towards. One delegate felt their firm was like an ant colony. Another felt their firm was like a “basket of kittens” – with the aim to evolve into a pride of lions.
  • Check-ins – Request an “emotional temperature” check in at the start and end of each meeting. To learn the personal context of each person’s responses.
  • Mountains – Too often we focus on what lies in front of us – the steep road ahead that we have to climb. But we need to occasionally take a breath and look at how far we have come and all that we have achieved. Celebrate success. 
  • Pyramid – There was lots of discussion about the interplay between structure, culture and performance. Change strategy and then align the structure – not the other way around. 
  • Stress bucket – People have a limited capacity for stress. We must help them to learn to manage stress as part of our mental health programmes. The stress bucket – Mental Health UK ( One delegate was a qualified Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) and recommended the qualification. As a fellow Mental Health First Aider – and an accredited psychotherapist – I support that view.

Thank you!

Thanks to the team from Walker Foster Solicitors who travelled down from Yorkshire to join us in London for the course. They posted these kind words on LinkedIn: (1) Post | LinkedIn

(1) Maxine Heppenstall | LinkedIn said: What a great day learning all about Change Management with Kim Tasso in London. Thanks Kim for a great interactive experience!”

Change is inevitable, whether in our personal lives or professional endeavours, it’s a constant force that shapes our experiences and challenges us to adapt.

Taking our learnings from the amount of change our business has been through in the last year, and recognising the importance of effectively landing change with our teams, and helping them to adapt, we’ve decided it’s time for some leadership training! Maxine Heppenstall, Jayne Schofield and Kelly Chambers have been let out of Yorkshire for the day to attend a seminar with MBL Professional Development in London, to equip themselves with some skills, knowledge and strategies to navigate change successfully.

It’s all part of our plan to build a workplace where every team member feels engaged, challenged and inspired to grow to their fullest potential”.

Change management resources

Change management books

A delegate recommended this book Managing the Dynamics of Change: The Fastest Path to Creating an Engaged and Productive Workplace: Jellison, Jerald M.: 9780071470445: Books

Book review: The Management Shift by Vlatka Hlupic ( October 2022

Book review: Influential Internal Communication by Jenni Field ( September 2022

change management ( April 2022

Your personal transition – Endings, neutral zone and new beginnings ( June 2020

Book review: Neuroscience for organizational change by Hilary Scarlett ( May 2020

Helping people change: Coaching with compassion ( October 2019

Change management – Change Catalyst book review by Kim Tasso September 2018

change management and organisational change ( January 2017

Change management book – Switch (Chip & Dan Heath) ( 2015

Change management articles

emotional intelligence and teams in change management ( January 2024

Nurture a change management movement – From “Let it go” ( September 2023

The EAST framework for behavioural nudges in marketing? ( August 2023

Change Management – Heads, Hearts and Hands ( July 2023

20 insights on change management processes and communication ( November 2022

change management ( Change Management Standard August 2022

Nine Change Management insights (May 2022) ( May 2022

Dealing with resistance to change ( March 2021

Change management basics – personal and organisational change ( December 2020

Building Resilience – Regulation, Reframing, Relationships and Reflection ( May 2020

change process – Emotions when reacting to change ( April 2020

Changing behaviour in the workplace to boost productivity – psychology ( December 2019

thoughts on managing change and leadership ( November 2019

Change management and Employee engagement ( April 2019

Change management – Millennials, metaphors and resistance ( October 2017

Change management and creativity – the adaptive third ( July 2016

ready to change? remember the change process ( January 2016