What is keeping you from making the changes you’ve known were necessary? As a coach, what is the greatest challenge you face around coaching people to make meaningful changes?
I’m pretty sure the challenge has little to do with available resources or even awareness around what needs to be done to make the necessary changes. The bottom line is this: it is always easier to do what we have always done. This is the safe path. Even when we don’t like the outcomes we are currently experiencing, at least we still know what the outcome is going to be. We find great comfort in the stability of the known.
Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” – Dorothy
The problem with change is the emotional disruption it brings to our lives. We all long for homeostasis – a really impressive and cool word that means finding a state of stability in our lives. Guess what? It doesn’t matter what we want because the world is in a state of disruption right now! We are all being thrown into emotional imbalance.
Which means it is the perfect time to experience change, lead change and coach change.
If you want to change or help others in the process, here are the 5 keys to open the door:
Repentance often comes with negative connotations but its essence is all about change. The Biblical meaning of repentance is to change your heart and mind so that you abandon old ways of thinking so you can act differently. There is often regret over the old actions and thinking because they were ultimately destructive at their worst and neutralizing to growth at their best. If you’re going to change, you have to decide to do so and that requires an honest acceptance that the old ways aren’t the best ways. This is a decision that impacts us emotionally. There is often grief associated with saying goodbye to what was.
Coaching Questions: What isn’t working for you? What will it cost you to change? How much are you willing to pay to change? What will it take to say good-bye to those thoughts and actions?
Clarify the Preferred Future
In the Biblical story of the Exodus, the Promised Land is a powerful motivating vision that kept the people of Israel moving forward. However, the Biblical story also made it clear the people of God regularly lost sight of the vision and it resulted in wanting to go back or stay put. Vision motivates action.
If you don’t have an idea of where you want to go, it is really hard to start the journey. But when you know where you want to go, what you want to accomplish, what the “win” is, starting and continuing the journey of change is much easier. (Remember, change will always be hard!)
Coaching Questions: When you make this change, how will you feel? When you make this change, what new thinking will be in place? On the other side of the change, what will you be doing differently?
Define The Lead Measures
The book The Four Disciplines of Execution helps to define the difference between lag measures and lead measures. Lag Measures can only be known at the end of the goal. They are actually pretty simple: did you do it or not? Lead Measures are the consistent actions you must take that are likely to result in you accomplishing the future goal. Many people define Lag Measures – they are also called dreams – but never define the necessary steps to get there (the Lead Measures). Here is a simple example of Lag and Lead Measures.
Lag Measure: I will save $5,000 by January 1, 2021. Lead Measures: I will put 5% of any income I receive into a separate savings account. I will create a budget and follow it. I will reduce my discretionary spending by not buying anything on Amazon in 2020.
Coaching Questions: What will be the greatest challenge to you accomplishing the change you want to make? How will you get through or around that challenge? What actions are necessary for your change to happen?
We all need help. This is why coaching exists. As coaches, we serve our clients by helping them gain clarity. But you shouldn’t be your client’s accountability. This is true simply because you aren’t the best choice. There is someone or something much more effective than you to help with accountability. If someone is going to change, they are going to need accountability because change is always hard.
Coaching Questions: What will help you be accountable to your determined actions? What will get in the way of you being accountable? Who will you talk to about accountability? When will you do that?
Change will always involve new actions. And this is where people fail to change – they just don’t do anything differently. All the thinking, planning, clarity, goals, dreams, visions and decisions in the world are worthless without new actions that support these things. If you are going to change – just do something!
It’s a great time to change, lead change and coach change. Grab the keys and walk through the door.