2018 May Coaching Report - Institute of Coaching

2018 May Coaching Report

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2018 May Coaching Report
2018 May Coaching Report - Institute of Coaching

Our Readiness for Change


Or more apt here, when the client is ready the coach will appear. 
This ancient quote is also a reminder that most of us aren’t ready to change most of our behaviors at any given time.
What determines our readiness to change? Thanks to the eminent psychologist James Prochaska, his collaborators at the University of Rhode Island, and more than 1,000 studies that led to the creation of the Transtheoretical Model (TTM), we now have a map of the five stages of change and the two common underlying drivers. 
Here are the five stages:
  1. Pre-contemplation - No way!!! Very low confidence, or defiance
  2. Contemplation - On the fence. Maybe...
  3. Preparation - Getting ready, anticipating
  4. Action - Actively engaging in new behaviors and mindsets while still wobbly and vulnerable to lapses
  5. Maintenance - Behaviors and mindsets become automatic
The below graph, based on a meta-analysis study, tells the story about the readiness drivers in a simple fashion. The conclusion: Our readiness to change a behavior is determined by decisional balance—the balance of the pros for change (motivation) and the cons or barriers to change (which reduce confidence). 
The meta-analysis showed that the change process is consistent across 48 health behaviors and reasonably extrapolated to other behaviors. 
The underlying drivers of change shift as you spiral (drivers don't shift in a straight line) through the stages of readiness:
  1. Pre-contemplation - Barriers to change far outweigh the motivators to change. 
  2. Contemplation stage - Cons and pros are equally balanced, which leads to feeling stuck or ambivalent. 
  3. Preparation and action stage - Motivators improve while barriers decline  
  4. Maintenance stage - Low cons (or low barriers to change,) generate high confidence, and high and stable pros or motivators for the behavior. 

Another important message for coaches from the Prochaska team’s experience is that roughly 80% of us are in the pre-contemplation or contemplation stages for any given behavior.

I often describe motivation and confidence as the twin engines of change—both engines need to be fully powered up to move forward.
Some years ago I developed a tool, for physicians, that maps motivational interviewing rulers to stages of change. This tool helps patients quickly select behaviors, that are ready to move into action. The tool asks patients to score (1-10) for confidence, and again for motivation.
It’s important to select behaviors where the score, on both dimensions, is at least six or seven, and help clients increase both scores by a point or two. This approach might help us set more promising New Year’s resolutions and avoid the risk that we aren’t as ready as is needed—both motivation and confidence need a boost before getting into action.
In their new and updated book on the TTM, Changing to Thrive, Jim and Janice Prochaska explain that each stage of change needs a different strategy and coaching tools. It's important to match coaching tools to these stages and recognize that the change—work is different for earlier and later stages. 
Early stage change—work is more cognitive and focused on mindset, including improvements in motivation and confidence. 
Later stages represent a more tangible approach and focus on engaging and supporting new habits and practices.This work is invaluable to coaches and anyone using coaching skills, leading IOC to honor Jim and Janice Prochaska with the 2017 IOC Vision of Scientific Excellence in Coaching Award. 
Are people really ready for coaching if they are not ready to change? 
As the expert, we often assume that people are ready to hear and act on our advice, even when they are not. As I recently explained in an IOC blog titled: The Expert's Dilemma, the truth is that most people are ready to change something, although often not what you or others think is the priority. Hence, coaches should meet clients where they are and help them find the thing they are ready, willing and able to change.
So when is the client ready? When the coach is ready to focus on what the client is ready to change.
Margaret Moore, aka Coach Meg
Note: If you missed the 2017 Coaching in Leadership and Healthcare Conference, we have a lot of resources related to the TTM for you:

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