Take this to heart as a coach: change always occurs. You can influence and accelerate that process. Give yourself time and appreciation as you try out suggestions below that may be new to you – and remember to have fun.
Acknowledge and Validate the Client's Worldview: Transformational change is more likely to occur in a coaching relationship where there's deep rapport – where clients feel known. Accessing their inner worlds gives you both insight and compassion. Paradoxically, they'll be more open to change when they feel accepted exactly as they are. Once they have that assurance, you can help them recognize and change patterns of behavior based on subconscious, outmoded beliefs.Help Shift That Worldview: Most people will come to you having tried to avoid or overcome something they don't like about themselves. That approach tends to block positive energy. In contrast, your clients will release energy for change when they learn to observe their patterns of thought and behavior without judgment. Such compassionate self-awareness may be enough to support spontaneous changes. In addition, there are many inventive, even playful ways to help them alter the patterns they observe.Focus on Solutions, Tapping Their Resources, Experience, and Ideas: Sometimes a solution focus means merely encouraging more of what works. It can also mean framing the problem in the past and the solution in the present or future. Change occurs when a problem is specific enough that it can be solved, when it's seen as a positive vision for the future.
These principles are spelled out with examples in the last chapter of my coaching book. As I've mentored coaches over the years, I've also found it helps to have a concrete, how-to summary. The table below summarizes the components of coaching for transformational change.
Skill Definition Notes
1. Develop rapport Acknowledge and
validate client's worldview
without judgment or
prescription; share human
to human responses.
2. Hold enlightened Reflect second-order changes
vision that occur in interaction
3. Presuppose Make statements that embed
positive outcomes a positive expectation,
assume a desired change.
4. Teach self- Show clients how to observe
observation patterns without judgment;
reinforce evidence of
neutrality and change.
5. Use possibility Restate problems in the past,
language solutions in the present
6. Focus on Elicit brief problem description;
solutions ask how solution will look
(videospeak); find exceptions
to the problem, ask how they
do it, do more of what works;
if no exceptions, create
achievable steps as fieldwork.
7. Help shift from Identify the "X" and "Y" that are
either/or to apparently incompatible.
both/and Explore existing parameters.
thinking Ask "How can you do both
X and Y?"
8. Honor "resistance" Use everything that happens
as energy for as grist for the mill, including
change; stay in all blocks, tasks not done,
in flow relapses, etc.
9. Use right-brain Engage clients through
tactics stories, metaphors, humor,
playfulness; bypass logic's
10. Invent ground- Co-create fieldwork that
breaking field- breaks old patterns with
work new responses; take them
to their edge (doing
anything different, how-
ever small, can promote
11. Make process Comment on interactions
observations with you as source of
learning about patterns.