Our topic at this month’s professional association meeting was change. Josh Freedman, an expert in using emotional intelligence for effective individual and organizational change, led a webinar on how coaches can transform organizations. Interesting timing since I was talking to a client about change. He was frustrated because he couldn’t get his boss or his peers to see things his way. My client knew he was right but no one else seemed to get it. He wanted to know how he could get them to change.
I asked him if he believed that in order for others to change you first have to change yourself. After pondering the question for a few seconds, my client said, “Yes” with a knowing smile. He realized that he would have to change his approach, but he complained that it wouldn’t be easy. Probably not, but still easier than trying to get other people to change!
As Josh Freedman pointed out, it is the coach’s job to help people make the transition from resistance to engagement. In order to do that, we have to help increase the client’s awareness within themselves, in relation to other people and in relation to their organization. My question increased my client’s awareness of his need to change as well as his resistance to doing so. He moved a few steps away from resisting to engaging in the idea that changing his behavior could lead to a more productive outcome.
Here are some questions to increase your awareness about the need for change:
- What am I doing that isn’t working?
- If I change one thing, what is the likely impact on my colleagues, my business, and/or my personal life?
- If I don’t change anything, what is the likely impact?
- What will it cost me to change that one thing?
- What will it cost me if I don’t change it?
When you decide to change one thing, ask yourself:
- What is keeping me from making this change?
- What do I need to do to overcome my resistance?
The reality is that we can’t get others to change but, if we change ourselves, there’s a good chance they may change as well. As Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
If you would like to explore how coaching can increase your awareness and support you in making change, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.