Businesswoman pointing out reasons why coaches need change fitness

Here are six reasons why coaches need change fitness.

  1. Change fitness is about your change capacity and that of your coaching clients. It’s great to have plans and goals for the future, but if you don’t have enough capacity to succeed at the change process, you may give up on those plans and never achieve your goals. The secret is to build change capacity – build change fitness.
  2. When your clients come to you for help, they don’t all come with the same capacity to succeed at change—they don’t all come with the same amount of change fitness. Some are very flexible and have many change strengths; others find change stressful and don’t handle it well. People who like change and handle it well represent a very small percentage of the population. Most people find it difficult and confronting to step out of their comfort zone, let go of old habits and ways of thinking, and to establish new patterns of behaviour. This is not just because the change process itself is hard, though it can be. It is also because weakness in a person’s change fitness always makes change harder.
  3. As a coach you can’t change anyone—except yourself. You cannot make the changes for your client; you can’t make them succeed. You may give them advice, mentor them, or help them in various ways, but you can’t make them change. They have to do that for themselves. They have to become their own primary agent of change.
  4. The best thing you can do for your clients is to help them build their capacity to change themselves. When you help your clients build change fitness, you help them become more independent, more ready to be their own primary agent of change. In the process, they will become less reliant on others – even you. But isn’t that what a good coach should do?
  5. You need to understand the dynamics of change fitness and how to nurture it in your clients. Unless you understand what change fitness involves, you are limiting your effectiveness as a coach.
  6. As your clients become more change fit, your coaching becomes more effective and your programs work better. Why? Because your clients will have more capacity to make the changes that brought them to you in the first place. That’s got to be good for your reputation.

Dr Steve Barlow