People don’t resist change, they resist being changed. ~ Unknown
One common roadblock for a coach in helping people change is the irresistible attachment to his or her own ideas & strategies. A coach can be trapped in his own ideas and continuously hint the client and gravitate the client towards a particular outcome or path. It’s very important to realize that the process of coaching is “all about the client” and “not about the coach”.
I was fascinated to read the same theme echoed in Bhagavad Gita [Chapter 18, the last chapter, verse 63].
iti te jnanam akhyatam
guhyad guhyataram maya
yathecchasi tatha kuru
After unraveling the secret wisdom in 17 chapters, at the end of 18th chapter Krishna says to Arjuna to carefully think about Krishna’s words of wisdom and do what seems right to him. Krishna seemed to be detached about the outcome and didn’t insist Arjuna to blindly follow what he preached in 17 chapters.
This exactly is coaching. A coach can only create awareness and then hold the client accountable for committed actions. Taking personal responsibility for our actions is of paramount importance. That’s the secret of all personal achievement and success. Everything we do matter and we must take ownership of our actions!
Coaching is not so much about adding, it is subtracting whatever is getting in the way of the client’s desired goal.
~ Timothy Gallwey
If the coach is biased towards a particular outcome or path, the client takes no responsibility to act and take the next logical step in the path of personal change.
If you are in the role of a change catalyst, a professional coach or manager or leading people – accept the fact that you cannot change people (and that’s their job); you can only elevate their awareness and empower them to take responsibility for their actions.
Once we embrace Krishna’s philosophy in helping people change, we can relax & rejoice. Let’s remember, it’s not about the coach! It’s all about the client.
It’s not about knowing. It’s all about doing. ~ Bruce Lee
During a training session last week, my running coach Dr. Gladson narrated a story of his friend (I don’t recollect the name, so let’s call him Mr. in this post). Mr. X works as CEO of an organization and he is in his early 50’s. X travels overseas at least 3 days in a week. X knows few basic things about health, nutrition and fitness. Despite very little knowledge, X is in great shape and his health vitals are perfect!
What’s the secret of X’s success? My running coach said, X consistently practiced and followed the principles he knows 🙂 That’s the secret behind his health and fitness. Not a lump of esoteric & theoretical knowledge. It’s the simple art of doing what we already know!
In my view, most of us know what to do to go to the next level. If you we don’t know there are many avenues to discover the stumbling blocks in our life or career. For instance, if you want to improve your leadership skills or performance at work – first get a candid and anonymous 360 feedback to know your reputation. Knowing what to change or improve at work place is never a challenge. It’s the doing part.
If you know what to do and you lack motivation, here is what you can do. Take a blank sheet of paper and write 20 advantages of changing your behavior. By the time you write 20 benefits, you will already be convinced to start at least. All you have to do is look at the list everyday when you wake up to keep the momentum.
To stick to your plan, you can find a buddy (to remind you), make a daily checklist or any such thing to build a new habit in you. Once the new behavior becomes a habit, you no longer have to motivate yourself on a daily basis. It’s now on autopilot mode.
Let me encapsulate the message in 3 sentences
- Find the behavior to change – What to Change?
- List the benefits to – Why Change?
- Get on the path and do something every day! – Change 🙂
PS : I acknowledge the graphic from the internet
Stress comes from not doing what we know we should be doing. ~ Rubén Gonzalez
Marshall Goldsmith conducts a unique exercise in his workshops. He did this activity with us in the 2-day workshop at ISB Hyderabad in January this year. We were asked to identify 1-2 minor changes in our behaviors that would have a major positive impact on our lives. We had the latitude to choose any area of life namely health, fitness, relationship, leadership etc.
Once we wrote two things on our notepads, Marshall asked us to frame one sentence to encapsulate those behavioral changes in 6 words. This was a tough task! It really made me focus and shave all unimportant words in my sentence. I took around 10 minutes to meditate on my words and finally settled with the sentence ‘Smile more and judge less’. This line acts as a constant reminder for me to find joy in life and to be aware of the fact that perceptions create realities (my two behavioral changes).
It’s been 90 days since I wrote this line and the message still rings in my ears once in a while to focus on new behaviors. I also have this posted on my message board at work!
Since then I have tried this exercise in 1:1 coaching and group workshops. Let me list a few lines people wrote in my workshops. I really love the way this activity piques people’s creativity.
Eat less and be healthy
Relax and Embrace Life
Enjoy more and complain less
Breathe deep and speak with a smile
Listen better and ask questions
Run and have more fun
Let go and enjoy the inevitable
Talk less and accept more
Enjoy doing what needs to be done
How about you? When you do this exercise – what two things would you write? What would be your one-line slogan to remember? Go ahead and do this exercise. I appreciate if you can add your one-liners as comments on this blog. Before I sign off, let me reiterate mine – ‘Smile more and judge less’.