‘It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change’Darwin
Many of us find change really uncomfortable, even change for the good can be incredibly daunting. Change and how to deal with it, comes up a lot in my studies (MA in Coaching and Mentoring). I have learnt some really interesting approaches to change that I think you might like…
Growth is natural, change inevitableLand
How often do we see change as an opportunity?
Most of the time we see change as a threat, not an opportunity. At times of change we tend to hold onto and focus on the past, we are ridged, reactive and confused. We become immobilised and a victim of the change. These behaviours come out when we see change as a threat.
If we view change as an opportunity, we are activated, pro-active, and versatile. We focus on the future (not the past) and rather than separate ourselves from the change we get involved in it. This latter point is really key. It is suggested that change is painful because we lose a sense of control. I can relate to this, stuff happens which is beyond my sphere of control and when this happens my natural instinct is for my threat response to kick in. The more you stay outside of the change, the more it feels like it is being done to you – therefore ask yourself:-
How can I be more involved/proactive in this change?
How can I increase my involvement in this process?
‘Change is a painful experience – it is easier to see what is going than what is coming… with the increase in the pace of change we must either prepare for ever increasing pain or change how we deal with change’Enright
How can we get better at dealing with change?
This is where HR rolls out the “change curve”…. whilst this is a useful tool to help understand the change process, I found learning about William Bridge’s model ‘Making sense of change’ much more useful. This model looks at Endings, Transition (neutral zone) and new Beginnings.
The ending is where we recognise that something has come to an end. We need to recognise that the change is marking the end and the start of something new.
The transition is where a lot of the work is done and emotions are processed. This part can be energy sapping and you can tend to isolate yourself. This stage takes time as you need to re-orientate, complete old ways and begin new patterns rather than thinking that you need to try and repeat what has gone before. During this stage you tend to move through Fear – Hope, Anxiety – Relief, Pressure – Stimulation, Leaving Old – Accepting New.
The new beginning is where you start to feel excited about opportunities rather than looking back. You start to learn from the past rather than dwelling on it. You start to look for new scripts rather than acting out old ones. This latter point resonates with me so much. I feel we often try to shoe horn things into the shape of the past and get frustrated, upset when they don’t fit or try to re-create things that have gone before rather than get creative and innovate to meet the new /changed reality we are in.
Coaching through change is powerful
Coaching is a really powerful tool to help you progress through these stages of change and to support you in not getting stuck in a stage.
During change it is all too easy to fall into the drama triangle where you become the victim or persecutor, expecting someone to rescue/fix you. Coaching can help you step out of the drama triangle.
If behaviours go unchecked you may slip into your inner Child, becoming fearful, passive, sulky and procrastinate. It can also go the other way where you slip into your inner Parent, becoming critical, controlling and rigid. These behaviours not overly helpful and can lead to more pain/discomfort. A Coach can enable and empower you to deal with the change in a proactive way, guiding you to deal with the change in your adult state.
Another useful thought from Rational Emotive Behavioural Coaching …
At Uni we have been learning different theoretical approaches to coaching and I read this in Rational Emotive Behaviour which really resonated with me – “It is not the situation that upsets us, its what we tell ourselves about the situation that upsets us”. So notice what you are telling yourself about the change- ask yourself:-
How are your thoughts helping you?
How could you re-frame what you are telling yourself in a more positive/proactive way?
Questions to reflect on
If you are dealing with change at the moment or perhaps next time you are facing change, take some time to reflect on some of these questions…
What has really ended here?
What will stay the same?
How can you re-frame discomforts to positive opportunities for learning?
What key learning do you want to take forward?
What are you doing to stay connected and involved?
What are the opportunities?
How will you use this to boost your skills and capabilities?
What are you excited about?
If you have any questions or would like to get in touch, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org