I am pretty sure as you read this article you have had a first-hand experience of an organizational restructure, retrenchment or both. On the rare chance of you haven’t, I can guarantee that you know at least one person who has.

Both these processes are not directed by the individual, it is a process which is ‘happening to’ the individual.  This lack of control, leaves one feeling disempowered, like a victim and that there are no choices available to them.

This is where the opportunity exists to turn the disempowerment into empowerment. Individuals through a coaching process can discover how they can take their personal power back and create options for themselves. 


For the Individual:

1. Source an accredited professional coach. Ask your coach whether they have completed an accredited coach training program and whether they are governed by an ethical body.  Examples of accredited bodies include the International Coaching Federation (ICF) or COMENSA.

The immediate benefit of embarking on a coaching process, is having a professional create the space to acknowledge where you are.  The importance of being able to language and acknowledge how one is truly feeling at that point in time and then look at positive options of moving forward.

The option is also beneficial for individuals who been through a retrenchment process and  is retained. These individuals will benefit from having the opportunity to internalize and process their own feelings, work with possible “survivor guilt” emotions.

For the Organization:


Utilize coaching as an integral part of your change management strategy.

Leadership play a key role in the level of success of the restructure process as they influence:

  • how employees embed the changes, as well as
  • the direct operations of the business.

This is the heart beat of the business. How are leaders supposed to guide employees on making sense of the change when they have not had the chance to make sense of it themselves?

Internalizing the change and how it impacts the individual and the organization, allows that leader to make empowered choices with confidence of how they plan to positively land the change.


Organizations go through a cycle of either having to manage headcount and at other times employing more resources based on their strategy and financial position.  A long- term view of talent management, organizational culture and reputation/brand would be beneficial.

As a gesture of good faith and authentically demonstrating the organizations intent to offer options to the employees , I would recommend that the organization offer a minimum of one paid coaching session to each impacted employee. This would enable the individual to fully explore all options available to them to move forward. Prior to employees feeling totally disempowered, losing confidence and self-esteem.

Organizations must not overlook the value of being able to attract their intellectual capital back into the business when the business is growing.

Intellectual Capital is an organization’s registered knowledge value and it functions as a composition of knowledge, skills, experience, and information that influence the present and future success of the business and establish its rank in comparison with the other firms.  In the knowledge era, material and financial assets have lost their effect over the success of businesses in the long run.

How employees exit the organization leaves a lasting impression how they view the organization and whether they would ever work for the organization again.

Retrenchment and restructures have now more than ever become part and parcel of business practices. It is important to consider how we approach this in the best possible way for the organization and employee. An empowered approach will have a far-reaching positive impact for the employee, their families, the greater community, client’s experience and the organization.