How do we deal with change
You might be thinking about it, right in the middle of fighting it or perhaps preparing for it. Change is something that will come into your life, often unwanted, sometimes needed. The hard truth is that you cannot avoid it and it takes time and effort for you to deal with it. Understanding the different phases of the change cycle prepares you for what is coming.
Working with a coach helps you dealing with change better and planning concrete strategies so that you can make the best out of it.
Change is complex, but manageable
You’ve probably heard definitions of change in many flavors, the most common one perhaps being “change is the only constant thing in life”. You are often invited to be optimistic about change, seeing the opportunities it might bring, yet still find it difficult to deal with.
There is a clear reason for this: change implicates loss. Whether it is the security of your current job, or a person you love, or the comfort of your current habits: something you know how to do or how to deal with will be going away. In some cases, you might identify this loss as a positive thing (e.g. losing a bad habit or a limiting behavior that prevents your success). At times, you might have a strong desire to change and achieve something, yet still find it hard to start acting on change.
Often, the desire to change brings you to seek help. I’ve worked with change management both on company and individual level, helping my clients recognize the stage of the change cycle they are living, at a specific point in time, as well as how to find out good and sustainable actions that will help them deal with what change brings.
The different stages of change
There’s a lot of literature and frameworks around change. I personally like the Kübler-Ross model, which is most commonly known as the “five stages of grief” but can easily be applied to loss and changes in general. These stages identify a group of feelings and emotions that people will experience when dealing with and reacting to change.
Some of us will go through each of the stages, in order. Some will experience only a few of them or go back and forth on the line. What is important here is the ability to recognize where you are, as there are different ways to react in different stages. Let’s look at those more in detail.
Especially when it comes unexpected, the first reaction to change is shock and denial: “it doesn’t impact me, it’s not real, I’ll be OK just staying where I am”. Soon after this stage, the emotional intensity grows to give space to anger and the need to find someone or something to blame for what has happened: “it’s not fair, why did they do this to me”. The length of this stage varies a lot, but soon it paves the way to bargaining, a point where you start understanding the change is there and try to find a way to escape it with (often) non-sustainable solutions: “if I commit to this little thing, perhaps I won’t have to change”. Depression is next in line: “there is nothing I can do about it, so why would I even bother?”. It’s one of the toughest moments and it requires the most decisive actions and the best support from others. It feels like a limbo you cannot get out of. But there is a way out, and it is acceptance: you have gone through a cycle of emotions and finally realize that there are new behaviors you can apply, new possibilities to be found: “I can make it through this change”.
Making it through change is possible. It definitely requires some work, and it is much easier with some support.
Coaching will support you throughout the change
Coaching is all about supporting you in using your full potential. Change is often disruptive: it gets us out of our comfort zone and our mind is programmed to fight it by default. Change has also the ability to highlight the perception of self-limiting beliefs like “I am not good enough” or “it will not work anyways”.
A coach will work with you to reinforce your empowering beliefs, help you recognize your thinking patterns around the stages of change, and find ways to control them.
If you are having a hard time with the anger stage, coaching will help you put that anger in perspective, identifying past experiences that might be affecting the current one, letting go of the “who to blame”.
Also moving from depression to acceptance is possible with small steps, reinforcing the “good” of the change versus the loss of “standing still”. There are many tools that can help your mind look at the change as a whole and focus on moving forward.
You cannot control the wind, but you can adjust the sails
“All you can control in life is how you respond to life“. This is one of the motivational quotes I love the most.
Indeed, you cannot control when and where the wind blows from. Sometimes change hits you, sometimes it is you who is willing to initiate change. Still, you have what it takes to deal with change and, with a little help, you can find out the best strategy to do it consistently and with great results.
Get in touch and let’s have a quick chat – free of charge – on what stage of change are you possibly dealing with and how can I assist you in the process towards success!