Make a Change

I had a boss early in my career that believed people didn't change. Actually, to be precise, he believed it took a near death event to change people. I bought into that too. People's behavior was pretty constant, the same folks arrived late to every meeting. The procrastinator's always got reports in late etc. and because most people do not suffer a near death experience, most therefore don't change.


But there is a huge industry built around the premise that change isn't that hard and in fact can be done by teaching new skills or training programs. In my early career, I worked for a large bank and I enjoyed countless training programs all designed to change employees.  I was taught new skills and techniques and I even lead some a few training programs, but looking back on all the hundreds of hours spent in training, I have to admit that I don't think any behaviors or attitudes were ever actually changed.


In fact there is overwhelming evidence that the effects of training programs is very short lived, yet we continue to believe change is possible if only we attend the right program or read the right book. Look at your bookshelf. How many books do you have that promised to teach you a new techniques that will change your life? I'm guilty, I have two full shelves of these books. But I still have the same ten pounds to lose and I still interrupt others during meetings. Change isn't about being told or being taught, its much harder than that.


Lasting change is tough to accomplish and I believe that integrating change requires at least three things to occur:


    1. The change has to be personally meaningful, deeply defined and             important.

    2. You need a safe place to experiment with the change. You have to             practice the change and see how it fits. Be confident that the             change really suits you.

    3. You need an accountability partner. This is someone who you will             report back to on how you are implementing the change. 


If you don't really believe you will be better off by changing, you won't spend the enormous energy change requires. So make sure your focused on something that is deeply meaningful, maybe not life or death, but certainly meaningful. 


You also need to explore how to manifest the change, what that changes really looks like. For example, if you decide you want to speak up more in meetings, what does that look like exactly?  Do you talk more, talk louder, summarize, interrupt? The details are important and you need a safe place to practice, to see if the change resonants and connects with you.


And finally, it takes practice and repetition to integrate new behaviors. That's why you need an accountability partner who will honor your desire to change by holding you to your commitments. Like the old joke, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, Practice, Practice." Making a long lasting change means committing to incorporating a new behavior into your day. Therefore, If you really want to change you need a partner, a confidential comrade who will allow you space to explore, define the specifics of the change and practice. This is exactly what a Professional Coach provides and I hope you will find a trained, credentialed Coach to help you when you decide you really are going to change.