Celebrating Change Through Conversations

The greatest coaching conversations are those that result in change. This may be through gaining insight, taking action, or complete transformation. The degree of change is not the key, what is important is that something is different, something has changed because of that conversation.

One of the problems with change is that it is not always clear where the change needs to come from. Often within a business or professional setting the conversation begins by focusing on what isn’t working. The problem is in these settings other people are often involved and where this is the case, management may want the team to change, while the team want the change to come from the leaders. And, this leads to questions as to whether you can change others.

The answer, of course, is that you cannot change others, you can only facilitate them in wanting to make changes for themselves. This is just as true in personal situations as it is business environments. So, how do you as the life coach support clients in managing change when it involves others, which to some extent all change does, regardless of whether it is in the client’s professional or personal life?

The answer here is to change the clients thinking, and rather than looking at the problem as how can they change others, you need to consider how you can help them change the conversation to bring about change. What assumptions or judgements does the client need to let go of? What questions do they need to ask? How should they ask these questions? Do they need to be more open to be able to better connect with others and see things from their perspective? All these questions also apply to you as the coach, after all each client is different and therefor how they respond to the conversation also differs.

Conflicts and concerns, as well as a desire for change, are often born from negative thoughts and situations. However, approaching change from this perspective is unlikely to have positive benefits. Shifting your client’s perspective to see the positive, not only energises them, but makes it easier for them to see potential solutions, build on strengths, and create positive relationships. It is a subtler version of being the change that you want to see in the world.

Taking this approach involves moving from “what is wrong with that individual or group” to “how were you involved in creating the situation and what can you do to change the experience”. This is not the same as the client blaming themselves for everything, it is not an exercise in blame or guilt. It needs to be a positive and affirming change, and that is where you as the coach comes in.

Coaching conversations that focus on the client’s role within any given situation needs to start with a willingness to change, to emerge as a different person to the one who entered the session. Without this willingness, the session becomes about blame and the role of others, and real positive change is then much harder to achieve.

Achieving change through conversations requires a coach that can let the conversation change the client, while simultaneously being open to being changed by the experience. The best life coaches are those who learn with the client and adapt their approaches and conversations as the client develops and changes. Coaching is a two-way experience, and if you are not willing to let the conversation change you, then the gap between you and the client can widen to the point where you are no longer able to facilitate the client to take the conversations to the next stage.  

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Are you considering life coaching as the next step in your career? Read on to learn more about becoming a life coach. Are you already a life coach? Are you looking for a way to develop your business and help raise standards across the coaching sector? Visit the accreditation page to see how accreditation could help you.

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