About Steve Barlow

Steve is Managing Director at The Change Gym. He is a Certified Change Fitness Coach and an organisational change readiness consultant. You can contact him on steve@thechangegym.com.

Managing Change and Free Will

By |2020-07-12T16:18:50+10:00July 12th, 2020|Categories: Managing Change, Uncategorized|

When you’re managing change it’s obviously best if stakeholders want to follow you of their own free will, rather than being dragged into change against their will. The question is, how do you get people to want to do what they ultimately have to do?

Some people may question whether people really do have free will. I am not one of them, so let’s assume they do.

What is free will?

But when we speak of free will, we must define what we mean. We mean that people have the freedom to make individual choices that give them some control over their future, even their destiny. Some control doesn’t mean total control – there are constraints to what we can control or influence. There will be choices that are out of our range – at least for the moment.

The range of viable choices is different for different people, because some people have more change capacity than others, and people value different things. And it also depends on what the person can see.

4 key issues

So, we have identified 3 key issues – what people can see (their awareness), what they value (the benefits they could derive from a change), and what they are capable of (their power to succeed). To this list we should add another – their ability to trust the people who lead them into change.

So, we end up with 4 issues – awareness, benefits, capacity, trust. How do we build these 4 issues into our change plans to enhance change readiness?

Let’s look again at the 5 key change readiness messages we have spoken of in other places. In the table below, you see the 5 messages and how they relate to the 4 issues referred to above.


Key Messages


We have a problem or opportunity


We have a solution that can work


We will be better off after the change


We will fully support you through the change


We can do this together



Shaping the environment

To some extent, change managers and leaders can manipulate the environment so it becomes easier for stakeholders to want change and feel it is safe to do so. That’s why these 5 change messages are so important and should be repeated over again. Some people need to hear them more than others – usually it is those with lower change fitness.

And as we have said before, these 5 messages need to be true. You will lose people’s trust if you can’t keep your word. So, as a change leader, you should ensure you have the backing of more senior leaders. If you don’t and you make promises you can’t keep, stakeholders will learn not to trust what you say, and the organisation’s culture will suffer. So, you need to get this right.

Manage both directions

Finally, managing change means managing in both directions – down and up. You need to raise the awareness of those you lead and of those who lead you. Your role is to shape both environments, because you are the change leader and change specialist.

Changing Organisational Culture

By |2020-07-08T18:00:37+10:00July 8th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|

We often think of the culture of an organisation as ‘the way we do things around here’ or ‘the way things are’. Culture seems to convey some sort of reality – the reality of how things are.

One possibility among many

But just think for a moment about ‘how things are’. Sure, what we see around us in the organisation is, indeed, how things are. But how they are is not the only available option of how things could be.

Think about shopping. Back in the day, going shopping meant walking down to the local corner store and buying your goods. But then it morphed into driving to the shopping mall, going round in circles looking for a parking space, and finally entering this huge building filled with people all looking for goods and the entertainment of ‘going shopping’. And now, increasingly, it means browsing the internet on your phone and buying stuff online.

The point is, ‘how things are’ changes over time as other things that are theoretically possible become reality. How things are one possibility among many, and not necessarily something that ‘has to be like that’.

When you analyse what an organisation is like, what you see may be reality, but it is also the one possibility among others that was selected to become reality. The other possibilities might still be waiting out in the wings somewhere.

Reality and identity

Current reality is, often, a matter of the choices we make – which possibilities we choose to accept, and which we choose to reject. And those we choose to accept become part of our identity. This is a kind of self-supporting system – we choose certain possibilities because they reflect how we see the world, and then those realities shape how we see ourselves. And then they affect how we behave and what happens to us.

There are many examples of this in the real world. Think of Kodak. The company created portable film that meant anyone could carry a camera in their pocket and take shots of aunt Mildred blowing out her birthday candles. But eventually, other possibilities could turn into reality. The irony is, Kodak were the first to develop the digital camera back in 1975, but they chose to ignore it as a viable alternative to film. After all, kodak was all about film, right?

Or think about IBM. Business machines – that was the reality at the forefront of their mind. But they failed to see that another possibility was turning into reality – that the machine wasn’t going to be where the action was. The action was going to be in the software that made the machines useful – something that Bill Gates at Microsoft understood very well.

We could go on, but the point is, reality doesn’t necessarily have to be the way it is. And the way it is, is influenced by how people see themselves. 

Culture and reality

So, how are culture and reality connected? Reality is how it is – at least for now – and culture is what we say about how it is. Edgar Schein, the culture guru, recognised that culture says things about ‘how things are’ at 3 levels of embeddedness.

On the surface level, there are things we can see, smell, hear, and touch. You walk into an exclusive shop and you hear someone playing a grand piano, you see marble flooring, crystal chandeliers, and you know what all this says. It says, ‘we are exclusive, expect to pay more, and you are the kind of person who can afford to shop here’. On the other hand, when you go into Kmart, everything you see says, ‘we will save you money. Look at all this good stuff and see how cheap it is. You are a smart shopper’.  Everything you can see, hear, smell, and touch tells a story about the store, and about you.

On a more complex level, the story is about what we value. At the expensive store, it’s about valuing quality over quantity, exclusivity over commonplace, style over functionality. At Kmart, it’s about valuing thrift over excess, accessibility over privilege, function over form.

And at the deepest level, culture is about the stories becoming one with the reality in our minds. We believe the stories are so true at the deepest level that we assume everyone else believes them too. They cease being stories to us and just become things we believe to be true. So much so, that they don’t even feel like stories anymore. It’s just how things are.

The point of this is to say that culture supports reality.

Changing culture

If you want to change ‘the way things are’ – to make an alternative possibility a reality – you also need to change the stories about how things are. You need to do this at all 3 levels.

You need to get people to make alternative choices and a powerful way to do that is to control the stories they tell. Control what people know, what they believe, what they value, what they talk about, and how they talk, and you will have some control over the choices they make.

Politicians know this and they do it all the time. So do big companies. And so can you.

Written by Steve Barlow

4 Tips for New Coaches

By |2020-05-28T15:32:53+10:00May 22nd, 2020|Categories: Coaching|

4 Tips for New Coaches

It was my first day on the job.

I stood by the window, waiting for my first coaching client to arrive. I felt nervous, quite unsure of what to expect, but also quite excited.

I wondered how I would relate to my new client group. Would I understand their views of reality? How would I relate to their stories? How would they relate to mine? Would it be hard to make a connection? 

There were no answers – yet. But there was plenty of time. 

As I stood at the window, a man, who appeared to be in his early 30’s, made his way down the pathway. He seemed very intense and I wasn’t sure how to read him. I wondered, was he going to be my first client?

Then, suddenly, he stopped. Something on the ground caught his attention. He quickly bent down, picked it up and put it in his pocket.

I was curious. What did he find that interested him so? Did he find some money, or could it have been something more sinister?

I began to worry about what he had in his pocket. Can I trust this guy? I actually hoped he wouldn’t walk into my room.

But he did. He took a seat and looked at me. And that’s how my new coaching job began.

We all have our first-day experiences. Mine took place inside a maximum security prison.

But the story I just told highlights issues all coaches face: 

  • How do we build trust?
  • Why has this client come?
  • How much awareness do they have of their needs?
  • How will I come to understand what their needs are?
  • What do they want to achieve?
  • How can I help?
  • Will we relate to each other?
  • Will they be satisfied with who I am and how I coach?
  • How do I feel about myself as a coach?

Trust, purpose, anxiety, identity. So, if you’re new to coaching, i hope this article helps. And, if you’ve been coaching for years, I hope it is still relevant to you too.


Without mutual trust, you can’t get far. I could talk about authenticity and honesty and the need to establish trust early, but there’s no easy formula I can give you. However, there are two questions I think you should ask yourself.

The first question is – is the client willing to become vulnerable? The word ‘vulnerable’ derives from a Latin word that means ‘wound’. Someone who is vulnerable allows themselves to be wounded, hurt. The opposite is self-protection.

People make themselves vulnerable because they either genuinely trust you or because they lack insight and trust people too easily.

People who are willing to be vulnerable will open up and be ‘real’ about their situation. This is a gift and they are investing in you.

The second question is – why is the client building trust? There can be various reasons why clients might want a trusting relationship with you. Perhaps they are looking for an ally to take their side and agree with them. Perhaps they are looking for a sympathiser to feel sorry for them, or an someone to help them move forward. Try to work out what they want and think about what you want to get into.


Some clients are clear about where they want to go and how you can help them get there. And they are willing to do whatever it takes to make it work. We all love these clients. But many clients are not like that.

You need to define the purpose of the coaching and build engagement. What purpose is the client ready for right now? They might want a thriving business, a dream job, or a loving relationship, but what are they ready to do right now?

Going to a coach is not the same as changing. Turning up to a coaching session is not all they must do. People who think it is are all talk and no follow through. They must understand that nothing changes if they don’t engage.


There’s nothing wrong with a bit of anxiety. We want to do our best job and be effective. But there’s no guarantee it will work out like that.

Anxiety can be adaptive because it can make you alert and in tune with what is happening. You don’t want to become desensitised to a bit of anxiety. But you don’t want panic. Panic means you’re not coping. If you experience panic, you need some help.


There are two points to make here. First, getting coach training doesn’t mean you’re cut out for coaching. If you’re cut out for coaching, you’ll love doing it, you’ll be effective, and people will love having you as their coach. Your identity as a coach shouldn’t depend on your training, or even how long you’ve been doing it. You’ll know if you’re a coach.

Second, if you know you’re cut out for coaching, don’t worry too much about ‘failures’. You will have clients who make no progress and who complain about you. It’s easy to blame your coach if you’re not prepared to do anything. Your job as a coach is to help them, not to do it for them. Do the best you can; accept that some clients make fantastic progress, and some don’t.

I trust these ideas are of some help in your coaching career.

Steve Barlow is a Director at The Change Gym. He formerly spent 7 years as an anger management coach in a maximum-security correctional facility. You can contact him on steve@thechangegym.com.

About The Change Gym

By |2020-05-28T15:33:52+10:00April 20th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|

Hi, I’m Steve Barlow, a Director of The Change Gym.

I want to help you understand what we do as a company and how we may be able to help you. So, let me tell you a little of our story.

The Change Gym grew out of some work I was doing over a decade ago. I had been working in the NSW correctional system running programs to help inmates engage in positive personal change. Over a period of 7 years I coached about 3000 men.

This experience helped me understand that even if you had the best programs in the world, they won’t work for some people. Some people resist change no matter how you try to engage them. And yet for other people, mediocre programs can be effective. Now, it’s obviously better to have good programs, but on their own, good programs aren’t enough.

I guess most program deliverers know that programs work better for some people than for others. That’s a kind of insider knowledge – if you deliver change programs you know what both engagement and resistance look like. But it’s much harder to know what’s going on inside the heads of people who receive the programs. What causes them to engage or resist and, more importantly, what is it they bring to programs that makes them effective?

I didn’t really have answers to these questions, but I wanted to know. I wanted to know because, if I could identify what the secret ingredient was, then perhaps I could make better use of it and help people develop more of it. So, I went back to university, enrolled in a PhD program and 6 years later I had some answers. The Change Gym was born out of a desire to share these answers with others.

We are involved in the management of personal and organisational change, but we are not primarily a management company. We certainly have strengths in developing and implementing change programs, but our main strength relates to what happens in the minds of people who will be most affected by the changes. No matter how good your programs are or how skilled your change managers, stakeholders must be ready to engage with change programs if they are to succeed.

They say that knowledge is power. I’m here to tell you that knowing how to unlock change fitness and change readiness is the secret to powerful and effective change programs. This is what we know most about, and we have developed pathways to help you gain the knowledge you need.

Remember this: you need great programs, but you also need great people to make those programs work. Learning about change fitness and change readiness helps you discover who those people are, and how to help others become those people.

When you apply change fitness and change readiness principles to your change projects, you can expect to see more engagement, less resistance, and improved change outcomes. You can expect to see more agile and adaptable employees and an organisational culture that accepts and embraces change.

So, that’s who we are, where we’ve come from, and what we do. And we’d love to be part of your future. When change-fit and change-ready stakeholders engage with great change programs, the future is worth getting excited about. So, if you’re ready to say good-bye to change fatigue, disengagement, and resistance, why not check out what we’ve got to say?


Are You an Essential Worker?

By |2020-04-19T19:48:44+10:00April 19th, 2020|Categories: Change Fitness|

This sign has appeared outside London Tube stations and speaks to the realities of life during a pandemic. A few people get the green light to travel and everyone else goes home.

But life has never been much different in some ways. Some people travel along life’s tube getting green lights all the way, while others don’t get far. Everywhere they turn they encounter one red light after another.

Are you one of the lucky ones who travels with green lights? Or do you constantly encounter red lights no matter how hard you try?

There’s something real and unreal about getting green lights. The unreal bit comes from observer bias. It’s easy to look at another person and imagine how easy life is for them when everything keeps going so well all the time. But we don’t really know how they experience reality, or what struggles they deal with. Maybe they do have it good, but maybe they’ve overcome a lot to get there.

The real bit is that some people know how to turn disadvantage into advantage. It may look like life is one series of green lights for them, but what you don’t see are all the red lights they enounter and manage to find ways around. They don’t let failure stop them. They are flexible and prepared to change course. They look for good opportunities. They seek out all the green lights they can find.

Perhaps some are just lucky – born in the right place at the right time. But many are change fit. They have disovered the success pattern of change and are good at making change work in their favour.

Bertrand Piccard is a Swiss adventurer who circumnavigated the world in a balloon. He learnt an important lesson from this experience. You can’t control which way the wind blows. But whether you succeed or fail has a lot to do with how you respond to the wind. It has a lot to do with the choices you make given the winds that blow. Change fitness helps people respond to the winds of change in ways that open new pathways for them. They navigate towards green lights.

So, what kind of lights do you tend to get? Are you frustrated because the lights are often red? Are you waiting for more favourable winds? Well, change fitness can give you the power to respond to change in ways that advantage you.

There are green lights waiting for you. Go find them.

Written by Dr Steve Barlow

Marketing and Sales: The Secret of Stuck

By |2020-03-07T11:15:10+10:00March 6th, 2020|Categories: Leadership|

Marketing and Sales: The Secret of Stuck

This is the third article in a 3-part series on marketing and sales. In the first article, we considered marketing and sales as engaging in the first two steps of the change process. In the second article, we considered the importance of good communications to help prospects make forward progress through the two steps. In this article, we consider how to help prospects who get stuck.

Stuck Is Normal

You should understand that getting stuck within a step of the change process is not uncommon and it’s quite normal. We will consider some of the main reasons for it in a moment, but you should understand one thing.

Stuck threatens your sale. If you can’t help prospects move out of stuck, they will not convert into clients – at least not yet. So, do what you can to get them unstuck.

Reasons for Stuck

There are 3 main reasons why a prospect might get stuck in one of the 2 steps of the change process. These are:

  • Low trust
  • Fear
  • Confusion

Let’s consider these one by one.

Low Trust – the prospect doesn’t trust you enough and this becomes an obstacle to them. If they don’t trust you, they may not like you, warm to you, feel connected to you, or listen to what you say. They may feel like you want to take advantage of them, or that you’re trying to sell them something that’s good for you, but not for them.

You really need to work on this.

Fear – even if prospects trust you, they may not trust themselves. People have a lot of performance anxiety. Can I do this? Am I good enough? It’s okay for him, but I’m not like him. What if I spend a lot of money and fail? What will other people think? I’m not confident enough to put myself forward. 

Everyone has fears, and it’s okay to have them. But we need to understand what to make of them. Most of the time our fears are based on our imaginations rather than the facts of our circumstance. We fear things we haven’t done yet and we fear what might happen. We undersell ourselves, question our ability, think negatively, and worry too much about what other people will think of us. Other people are probably too busy thinking about themselves to care much about us.

You need to help the prospect handle these fears. Tell them you’ll be there to offer support, or tell them where they can find support elsewhere. Offer them a full refund if they decide that working with you was a bad idea. Do things to help take away their fear.

In reality, what they should be more afraid of is getting stuck and staying stuck.

Confusion – some prospects get confused because their heart says one thing and their head says something else. Or they get too many facts and then get confused. You job is to cut through the confusion and to bring clarity.

You first need to understand why they are confused. Don’t guess – ask them. And then think about how to overcome their confusion in ways they can understand. Remember your audience.

If you find there is a lot of confusion with your prospects, you may well have a communication problem, or perhaps you are not sure what you’re offering. If you come across clear and confident, it’s less likely your prospects will be confused.


Expect to get some objections. If you don’t handle objections effectively, your prospects will get stuck or go elsewhere. Here are some common objections:

  • It’s too expensive
  • I need more time to think it over
  • I want to talk it over with a friend
  • I need to look at other options

Some people are more risk averse than others, and this could be why they make these objections. But ask yourself these questions. Do they know what they really want? Do they see that your solution will give it to them? Do they trust you? Do they have a sense of urgency about the solution? Do they fully understand how good your offering is?

Often, objections like these say more about you than about the prospect. They say you need to do a better job of leading the prospect through the two steps of change.


I don’t want to be too hard on you – it’s not easy. Believe me, I know this stuff, but that doesn’t mean I actually do it all the time. I do it some of the time, and when I do, it works.

I want to help you understand that marketing and sales are about helping people change. You can think of them in terms of the psychology or marketing or sales, but I prefer to think of them in terms of the psychology of change. To change in a way that advantages them – and you too. There’s nothing wrong with a win-win.

I hope these ideas help. If so, drop me a line and let me know.

Written By Steve Barlow

Steve is a change fitness coach and change readiness trainer and consultant. If you would like some help with any of the ideas presented in this blog, please book a free consultation with Steve.


Marketing & Sales: The Secret of the Stories

By |2020-03-07T10:51:42+10:00March 6th, 2020|Categories: Leadership, Uncategorized|

Marketing & Sales: The Secret of the Stories

This is the second article in a 3-part series on marketing and sales, taken from the perspective of change and change readiness. In the first article, we considered that the two steps of the marketing and sales process and the goals of each step. In this article, we examine how to use communication to move a prospect towards becoming your client.

In the previous article, we considered the imperative to move prospects into greater awareness of their needs and desires, and then move them towards making the decision to work with you. We noted a list of things prospects do in these two steps of the change process. Your job is to help them to move forward and one way you can do that is through targeted communications. Here are some ideas.

Be Clear About Your Prospects’ Needs and Desires

You need to think this through and do some research. What problems do your prospects have and how do these limit them? What does it feel like to have these problems? If they could change their current reality, what would they change it to? What would they eliminate?

If you aren’t clear about issues like these, your communications will be ineffective, and no one will pay attention to you.

Be Clear About How You Can Satisfy Their Needs and Wants

Your product or service may or may not provide a total solution, but it may go a long way towards one. But you must be clear about how it does that. Again, if you are unclear of this, your communications will suffer.

Craft Your Messages

Here are some guidelines to help you with that:

  • Audience – who is the message intended for? You need to speak to a clearly defined avatar, not some general notion of a ‘good prospect’.
  • Purpose – what outcome do you want from your message? Are you raising awareness? Answering a FAQ? Trying to persuade? Asking the prospect to take some action? If you’re not clear about the purpose, the message will be random, and you won’t be able to evaluate its effectiveness.
  • Vocabulary – you need to use words that are relevant to your intended audience. Use words they would use. If you don’t know what that is, do some research.
  • Register – we’re talking about how formal or informal you should pitch your language. This needs to be appropriate to your intended audience.
  • Tone – this refers to your attitude towards your audience and the topic of the message. It could be respectful, sensitive, playful, satirical, cynical, professional, etc. This will come through your message, so make sure you get it right to impact your audience in the way you want.
  • Content – these are the ideas you want to communicate. What do you want to say to your audience? Be very clear about this. Make sure your message ends up saying what you want it to say.
  • Medium – how will you communicate your message? Through a blog post, a Facebook ad, a video on YouTube, a page on your website?
  • Structure – This is how you shape your message through the medium you choose. Make sure the structure of your message is appropriate for the medium. For example, if it’s a blog post, structure it in short sections with multiple headings.

Position Your Solution

Think about how to get across the idea that you have the solution to the prospect’s problem. What makes your solution better than others? Why should they pick you rather than someone else? What unique features can you offer? What are the key features and benefits of your solution?

Think of how you can communicate these messages to your prospects.

Empower Your Language

You want your prospect to believe you have the right solution and they can be successful at it. So, use language that builds up their confidence and belief in themselves. Be realistic about it – if your solution is that good and you can see how it would work for the prospect, let them know it. People often second doubt themselves, but you can help them make a firm decision.

Focus on Benefits

The solution you’re offering may cause some anxiety to the prospect. Remember, if they knew how to solve their problem on their own, they wouldn’t be coming to you. So, in addition to using empowering language, get the prospect to focus on the benefits of your solution. Get them to think about how great it will be when clients are lined up waiting to do business with them, or when they are travelling to an exotic destination.

Support Your Prospect

Support the prospect, but don’t smother them. Lead them towards a decision to work with you, but don’t make them feel like you’re pushing them.

Ask Lots of Questions

Lots of open-ended questions. Ask them what they want to achieve, how much they want it, when they want it, how much they intend to spend, when they want it by, etc. If you ask, they will tell. If they don’t tell, there’s a problem with trust and you need to work harder.


Powerful communication is a tool to keep prospects moving forward through the two steps of change. In the next article, we consider what to do if they stop moving forward.

Written By Steve Barlow

Steve is a change fitness coach and change readiness trainer and consultant. If you would like some help with any of the ideas presented in this blog, please book a free consultation with Steve.


Marketing & Sales: The Secret of the Steps

By |2020-03-07T10:35:25+10:00March 6th, 2020|Categories: Leadership|

Marketing & Sales: The Secret of the Steps

This is the first article in a 3-part series on marketing and sales form a change perspective. If you’re in the early stages of building a business, chances are you have some marketing and/or sales challenges. Even if you’re employed by someone else, I bet you are still involved in marketing or sales in some ways.

Full disclosure: I am not a marketing or sales professional. And you won’t hear what I’m about to share with you from most marketing or sales professionals. Not because they don’t know it, but because they haven’t thought about it in the same way.

I don’t think about marketing or sales like a marketer or salesperson. I think about it as a change specialist. And that makes a lot of difference. Let me explain.

Marketing and sales are two distinct disciplines. They are areas of expertise practised by subject-matter specialists. But they are also a means to an end. A business doesn’t really want a great marketing campaign or a top gun salesperson. What they want is more customers, more clients.

So, if we want more clients, we must recognise what that means. First, it means we need to find good prospects. What’s a good prospect? It’s someone who has a need that your product or service will satisfy. And second, it means getting that person to change from what has been normal – not being your client – to what is new, becoming your client.

And it’s that change journey that interests me.

In this article, I want to help you understand how to lead a prospect along that change journey by knowing the goal of each step. In the second article in this series, I want to show you how to move a prospect along the change journey through targeted communications. And in the third article, I want to show you how to lead a prospect along the change journey by overcoming obstacles that can get them stuck.

The Change Process

You need to understand that the change process has 5 steps. We are only interested in the first two steps – those are the two that are most relevant to marketing and sales. Before we consider the different goals of the first two steps, we need to think about what is possible for a prospect on each of these steps. There are three possible outcomes for each step.

  • The prospect can complete a step and then move forward to the next one
  • The prospect can get stuck on a step, unable to make any progress
  • The prospect can find a step too challenging, give up, and go backwards

In the broadest sense, your job is to help the prospect achieve the first of these three possible outcomes.

The Goals

Let’s think about the goals you should have for the prospect in the first two steps of the change process. The goal of the first step is to lead the prospect towards awareness. The goal of the second step is to move the prospect towards commitment. These should be your goals because these are what the first two steps of the change process are all about.

Towards Awareness – the prospect needs a growing awareness of their need. It could be that something is no longer working for them and they are increasingly out of step with their lived reality. This might cause them pain – either physical pain or psychological pain. They might have a sense that something’s wrong, or things aren’t quite right.

The prospect needs to become aware that there’s a better reality out there, waiting for them. This better reality may be expressed as something they want, something that will put them back in sync with their lived experience. Something that will remove that unnerving feeling that something is wrong.

Without an awareness of need, the prospect can’t make any further progress with change. Your job is to help them become aware of their need with as much clarity and emotion as you can get from them. Get them talking about what’s wrong and how it impacts their life. Ask them to think about life without this problem – how would it be better, what would they be able to do, how would they feel, etc. Help them get in contact with these two realities – the unsatisfactory nature of their current reality and the wonderful reality that will unfold once the problem has been solved.

I think it is fair to say that creating awareness of problems and solutions is largely a marketing task. You put out messages designed to relate to the needs and desires of your target market. Good prospects are people who relate to those messages – “Yes, that applies to me. That is exactly how I feel, and I want those things you describe.” And because they relate to those messages, they are naturally inclined towards what you have to say.

Towards Commitment – this is the Step 2 goal and I believe it is largely a sales goal. To be effective, it’s important to understand what people do in Step 2. Here are some of the things they do:

  • Weigh whether the solution is worth the effort 
  • Consider whether the solution offered is the right one for them
  • Consider the pros and cons of the offered solution
  • Decide whether they have the capacity to make it happen
  • Deal with feelings of uncertainty and insecurity
  • Talk to someone who realistically understand their anxieties and will help them come to a decision
  • Assess who they can trust to guide them
  • Get excited about a future where their problem is solved

This is what people do in Step 2 – they think through the offered solution and decide what to do about it. Some can do this well, and others struggle with it. But, at the end of Step 2, the prospect will decide (make a commitment). They will decide either to accept your solution, or to reject it.

An Example

John began his coaching business 6 months ago and is yet to attract his first fee paying client. He is aware of his marketing problem and he is very worried about it. He worries he won’t be able to pay his bills and his business will fail. But he can also imagine himself as a successful coach. He can picture a waiting list of clients, being busy every day and feeling he is really making a difference. He can imagine having the lifestyle that goes with success – taking holidays to exotic locations, driving a nice car, providing good things for his family.

John is lucky because he knows what’s wrong. Some people haven’t identified that yet. Either way, your job is to help them get connected – emotionally and rationally – with their present reality and the reality they long for.

Let’s say in this example that you operate a marketing business helping coaches get more clients. You create a piece of content and John sees it. This content speaks directly to John’s problem. You sound like you might have a solution that could help him. The result is that he emails you.

The fact that John has emailed you means he has moved from Step 1 into Step 2. He has moved from simply being aware of his reality to wanting to think through the solution you offer. Never underestimate the magnitude of that step.

Now that John is in Step 2, your job is to help him move towards becoming your client. But to do that, he needs to trust you and to know you understand him. He needs to be sure your solution will work, and you need to help him overcome his concerns and answer his questions. If you can do all those things, he is likely to become your client. Step 2 is largely a sales role.

How can you help John along this process? Ask questions, explore, dig. Ask ‘why’. And keep asking. And when you think the prospect is fully aware of and in touch with their problem or opportunity, move them through Step 2.

In Step 2 you move the prospect towards commitment. Commitment towards solving their problem and grasping the opportunity. And commitment to letting you help them do that. At the end of Step 2 you want them to make the decision to become you client.


In this article, we have considered the first things you need to understand about marketing and sales. For your prospect, they mean engaging in the first two steps of the change process.  The better you understand exactly what that means for the prospect, the more likely you are to convert them into a client. If you need help exploring what your prospects need to do and how you can help them do it, reach out to me and I will help.

In the next article in this series, we consider how you can use effective communications to move the prospect through awareness and into commitment.

Written By Steve Barlow

Steve is a change fitness coach and change readiness trainer and consultant. If you would like some help with any of the ideas presented in this blog, please book a free consultation with Steve.


Change Management Toolkit Benefits

By |2020-03-11T20:04:16+10:00January 29th, 2020|Categories: Managing Change|


  • Based on best-practice change management processes
  • Leverages the natural structure and flow of the change process
  • Guides you through each step of the change process
  • Helps you ask the right questions at each step of the process
  • Practical
  • Easy-to-use
  • Scaleable
  • Apply to any change project
  • Copy and use the toolkit for different change projects
  • Based on 20 years of research and development


  • Based on best-practice change management processes
  • Leverages the natural structure and flow of the change process
  • Guides you through each step of the change process
  • Helps you ask the right questions at each step of the process
  • Practical
  • Easy-to-use
  • Scaleable
  • Apply to any change project
  • Copy and use the toolkit for different change projects
  • Based on 20 years of research and development


  • Builds in the latest understandings in the psychology of change, change fitness, and change readiness
  • Includes a change management dashboard to track your progress
  • A detailed electronic toolkit containing step-by-step guidelines, tips, and watch-outs
  • A comprehensive set of templates to help you manage your project
  • A printable version of all the guidelines and templates you can use on the fly
  • This is a 21st century toolkit for managing change
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