pair of hiking boots

Steve, what is a change fitness coach?

I have been asked this question many times, so I thought I would write down my answer. I will make my answer simple but bear in mind that behind this simple answer lies a depth of abstract concepts and academic research.

A change fitness coach is an experienced and highly skilled coach who has undertaken further training to help their clients develop change fitness. You probably understand all of that except for the change fitness bit. What is change fitness?

Change fitness

Change fitness is a simple term that refers to a complex psychological reality. Here’s the idea in a nutshell. Over 40 years ago, two researchers helped us understand what the change process looks like – they mapped out the nature of change, describing it in 5 simple steps. However, simple doesn’t mean easy. Some of the changes we try to make are extremely difficult and we struggle with them or give up on them. These changes follow the same 5 steps as changes that are easy. So, why are they hard?

The change process

They are hard because each of the 5 steps makes lots of demands from us. They require us to put more into them – more energy, more commitment, more focus, more time, more passion. Where do we get this ‘more’ from? It comes from inside us – from our set of resources that we allocate to the change process. These resources are what we call ‘change fitness’.

What happens if we run out of resources before we get to the end of the change process? We get stuck, get exhausted, lose hope, and quit. We fail, not because change is too hard, but because our change fitness is too weak.

Change fitness coaches have learnt about the nature of the psychological resources that empower us to change. They have learnt how to assess their clients’ change fitness, including what their strengths and limitations are. They have learnt how to help their clients build these strengths, so they have more internal resources to meet the demands of change.

Climbing higher mountains

Change fitness coaches help clients become change fit. As a client’s change fitness grows, they become more able to reach their goals and succeed at things that matter to them. They develop the fitness to climb higher mountains.

One final point. If you are an experienced, skilled coach and you would like to learn how to become a change fitness coach, the door is open to you. Reach out to me and I’ll walk you through the process.

Also, let me know if you have any questions.

Written by Dr Steve Barlow