Change is a charged word. People resist it, or crave it, are afraid of it, or don’t know how to go about it.
I often say that the best definition of a coach is “agent for change”. Rather than teaching people or telling them what to do, a qualified coach uses tools and processes designed to bring out a person’s best potential and thereby helps them change their life.
Since it’s my qualification and experience, I’m an expert at what works and what doesn’t. Your mission today is to learn the most effective tools for change that I – as a coach – know.
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Task 1: Start with First Aid
Before I tell you the most effective tools, we need to address the elephant in the room: What to do if you really, truly need change, now.
Imagine an emergency doctor faced with a bleeding accident vicitm, and starting to lecture them about road safety, seat belts, and taking breaks to avoid fatigue whilst driving. All this stuff is important and can prevent accidents, but right now the patient has injuries that need to be taken care of first.
How do you know? If you’re tempted by “fix everything” offers that you know are too good to be true, it’s a sure sign that you need to fix your pain first. Address it, even if it’s a temporary bandage. Get a different job, leave your relationship, downsize your life, breathe.
You can only create meaningful, long-term change when you’re no longer in acute pain. This is a mistake many people make.
Task 2: The most effective tools for change
Here’s what does work, and makes the most profound difference in my long experience.
- Baby steps. Yes, this sounds counter-intuitive, but taking small steps beats dramatic gestures any day. Change is a marathon, not a sprint.
- Accountability. This is a big part of coaching. Set yourself action goals, not just research, but something you need to do for your desired change. Find a way – a person (or a coach) – to hold you accountable.
- Rest. This takes on many forms: severely reducing social media, TV, and Netflix and the like, actually doing nothing, getting enough sleep…
All the above are generally vastly underrated. They are the best-kept secrets when it comes to change, though! Now you know them.