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.

Trust

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.

Purpose

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.

Anxiety

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.

Identity

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.

Change: The Learning Zone

By |2019-11-15T13:59:07+10:00November 15th, 2019|Categories: Change Fitness, Coaching, Programs|

In a previous article, I made the claim that humans are hard-wired for change. My argument there was that, since we have managed to survive and thrive in virtually every ecological niche on the planet (or at least in a diverse range of ecological niches), we are, as a species, very adaptable and not only adaptable but also able to adapt the environment to suit our purposes. Since this is arguably true of modern humans in general, it is logical to assume that deep neurological structures give rise to this capacity.

Hard Wiring

This neurological hard wiring may not have developed for the singular purpose of making us good at change. We understand from the Transtheoretical Model that change involves a great deal of analysis, visioning, planning, and problem-solving. These are all basic survival skills for a creature with a big brain but without many of the ‘mechanical advantages’ of other competitor species (we can’t fly like a bird, run like an gazelle, climb like a monkey, balance like a mountain goat, or swim like a dolphin). But we are very good at analysing our environment and planning our next moves.

We could explore this idea at greater depth and even debate whether big brains are an evolutionary advantage or a probable cause of ultimate demise. However, leaving such issues aside, we should understand that being hard wired for change is no guarantee of being able to use that neurological inheritance to much practical advantage. This is because being good at change requires more than hardware (neurones). We also need the right software (information).

Software

In general, humans all inherit the brain structures that enable us to analyse, vision, plan, and problem-solve. But we don’t all have access to the same information about how to do those things. In other words, there are differences in how well people have learnt to do those things.

And it’s even more than learning how to do things. It also involves developing the psychological strength to do those things and keep on doing those things when there is a psychological, emotional, or even physical pain associated with doing them.

So, being good at change requires us to have the neurological hardware (which, generally, we do) and the right kind of cognitive, emotional, and psychological software. And what cognitive, emotional, and psychological software is the right kind?

This is a complex question and we can’t go into details here. But we can make some broad statements.

Cognitive Needs

On a cognitive level (what we need to know), we need to understand how the change process works. We must understand what’s going on and what we should do to succeed at change. In other words, we need to understand the process we engage in. That might sound simple, but many people don’t really understand how the change process works and what is normal about it.

The second thing we need to understand on a cognitive level is what personal change fitness means. Change fitness refers to a set of psychological capacities that empower us to succeed at the change process. But in addition to developing these capacities, we need to understand what they are and why they are important.

The third thing we should understand on a cognitive level is the system in which we operate. This system (family, workplace, community, national, global) exerts pressure on us as we do on it. We need to have some understanding of this system so we can manage change within it.

Emotional Needs

On an emotional level we need emotional intelligence. We need to be able to regulate our emotions so can best utilise them to our advantage, and the advantage of others. Much has been said about emotional intelligence, so there is no need to say anything more here.

Psychological Needs

On a psychological level we need to understand ourselves and how we function in the world. We need to work on developing more of the change fitness capacities that give us the psychological strength to meet the demands of the change process. And we also need to understand the deep-rooted immunity to change forces that keep us trapped in current realities.

How Do We Do This?

The easiest and most direct way to tune up your change software is through change fitness coaching. Unfortunately, many of the things people learn about themselves and about change make them less likely to succeed at it. How our minds are programmed often leads us to be afraid of change, to resist it, and to run away from it. That is unfortunate because we have the hardware to be better than that. We just need to unlearn some unhelpful lessons and relearn some better ones.

And that’s where change fitness coaching fits in. It targets the most important cognitive, emotional, and psychological issues you need to focus on the reprogram your mind and help you get better at change. And the best place to start is with the Personal Change Fitness Program.

Perhaps, though, you’re not ready to engage in a coaching program. Maybe you would prefer to put your toes in the water first and test it out. You can do that too. You can start with a self-paced, online learning program that doesn’t involve coaching. A good place to start is Understanding the Change Process. This will give you some of the cognitive information you need. And if you decide you want coaching as well, you can always add it on later.

If you need any further information or help, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Written by Dr Steve Barlow

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"The Personal Change Fitness Program will not only make you change-fit, it will really change your life."

Where does change fitness coaching fit in?

By |2019-05-23T10:37:15+10:00May 23rd, 2019|Categories: Change Fitness, Coaching, Managing Change|

We base a lot of what we do and teach on the model shown below.

You get coaching clients because they have a change project. This is the problem they want to overcome or the opportunity they want to grasp, and they want your help to get there.

But there are 4 areas you both must pay attention to.

Four key areas

The first is the change process. Your client will only succeed if they progress successfully through every step of the […]

How should we understand change fitness coaching?

By |2019-05-15T14:10:07+10:00May 15th, 2019|Categories: Change Fitness, Coaching|

We know there are different types of coaches: business coaches, life coaches, executive coaches, career coaches, etc.

So, what’s a change fitness coach? Is it a new type of coaching, or is it something else? This is what we consider in this article.

The real goal

Before we go any further, we must discuss something very important. As coaches, we all have our preferences and our individual pathways through life. Some of us choose to become life coaches, some business coaches, and […]

THE HOW AND WHAT OF CHANGE FITNESS COACHING

By |2019-02-27T13:40:32+10:00January 12th, 2019|Categories: Change Fitness, Coaching|

To a greater or lesser extent, many coaches do their work in the applied psychology space. In other words, they are interested in what goes on in the mind of their clients. So, it is important for coaches to help their clients develop a mindset that enables them to achieve what they value.

When we examine what coaches do, we notice two important issues. The first is HOW THEY WORK with clients, and the second is WHAT THEY WORK ON.

How […]

HOW CHANGE FITNESS COACHING WILL HELP YOU

By |2019-02-27T13:41:14+10:00January 9th, 2019|Categories: Change Fitness, Coaching, Programs, The Change Gym|

This article will help you understand the value of working with a change fitness coach.

HIGH VALUE OUTCOMES

Success.

Have you ever watched a master at work? A master makes it look easy. However, becoming a master is anything but easy. It takes dedication, commitment, and years of practice. Becoming successful is not easy.

Becoming successful involves change. The master wasn’t always the master.

Success doesn’t make people successful. Success is what happens when we grow and learn and make the most of […]

What’s So Special About Change Fitness Coaching?

By |2019-02-27T13:42:38+10:00January 8th, 2019|Categories: Change Fitness, Coaching|


What’s So Special About Change Fitness Coaching?

What’s so special about change fitness coaching and why could it interest you?

Coaching is an exciting industry and there is scope to specialise and find your niche. But whatever your niche may be, all coaches have something in common: they want their clients to make positive change in their lives.  It is therefore important to have a clear understanding of how people succeed at change.

Different ‘Types’ of Clients

You don’t need to […]

How to Manage Client Accountability in Coaching

By |2019-02-23T14:43:53+10:00October 29th, 2018|Categories: Coaching|


Accountability

We are all accountable for what we say and do because we are part of a system. Our behaviours affect others, and their behaviours affect us. This accountability takes many structures – such as accredited training, reflective practice, and on-going professional development. These structures are not hoops to jump over so you can call yourself a real coach. They are part of an accountability framework by which you prove you know what you’re doing and “the coaching profession” […]

How to Manage Expectations in Coaching

By |2019-02-22T11:45:08+10:00October 23rd, 2018|Categories: Coaching|

We all have expectations. Coaches should make those expectations explicit at the outset of the coaching relationship, and they should insist on them throughout the relationship.

It is important to be very clear about these expectations. The client should understand exactly what you expect of them, and what they can expect of you. You must remain true to these expectations – you lead by example.

What you should expect from the client

You should expect the client will:

  • Take responsibility for their […]

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT TRAINING FOR COACHES

By |2019-02-23T15:36:38+10:00October 14th, 2018|Categories: Change Fitness, Coaching|

We provide International Coach Federation accredited professional development training for coaches in change fitness, change leadership, and change readiness.

Our training will equip you to better understand your clients’ change journey and how to help them build their capacity to succeed at it. There are pathways leading to certification as a change fitness coach, and licensing opportunities. There are also pathways leading to post-graduate studies at the University of Tasmania. These pathways are available to self-employed […]

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