In my previous blog about how runner Paul Pilkington won the L.A. Marathon in 1994, I promised to come back and share with you how coaches can help you in each of the five stages of change. If you have not read that blog, I do suggest that you go back and read it, then come back to this blog. The title is the same (except for where this one says “Part 2” of course). In this blog, I’m going to deliver on that promise, and then, since that’s short, I’ve got a bonus for you.
To review, the five stages of change in the most broadly accepted model for change are:
- Not thinking about change
- Thinking about change
- Deciding to make a change and planning
- Take Action
- Maintain Effort
If you can identify which stage you’re in, and you’re able to understand how the coach can help you in that stage, then you’ll have a good idea of when you ought to hire a coach, what sort of coach they ought to be, and you’ll have a good idea of when NOT to hire a coach as well. If you can not identify which stage you’re in, that’s also a good time to hire a coach who can help you sort out where you are currently at with a change you’ve decided to make or are thinking about making. As you read through these, try to put a dollar value on the benefit of having someone help you streamline these processes. I bet you can’t do it.
- In stage one, “Not thinking about change”, a coach can help you make space for thinking about change, particularly in areas of your life that aren’t getting much attention, so you don’t miss the warning signs of inevitable disruption, because life isn’t static, and your equilibrium won’t last.
- In stage two, “thinking about change” a coach can help you accelerate processing of options and analysis of your capability, and help you clarify your desires.
- In stage 3, “Making a decision/planning” a coach can help you make a decision, pin down a target date and help you brainstorm through the planning process so that when the time comes to take action, you’re ready.
- In stage 4, “Taking Action” a coach can begin to provide accountability, and help you call an occasional time out from the sidelines to analyze your position. You’re taking the action like a football player, and the coach watches from the sidelines like an athletic coach. Remember, your coach isn’t ultimately responsible for your success. You’re the one who has to perform and transform your own life.
- In stage 5, “Maintaining Effort”, a coach provides encouragement, support and accountability and helps you think through obstacles. The coach or change expert is also looking for areas to provide outside perspective, particularly on things you aren’t thinking about right now (areas where you’re in Stage One — not thinking about change.)
Here’s the bonus material, for those of you who are wed or thinking about marrying, I’ll continue with some additional discussion about one of the toughest long-term goals to achieve, and one of the most rewarding: the change process involved in building a healthy marriage. And if you think that doesn’t have anything to do with the original title “having the guts to make 10x more”, check out some stats online on the financial cost of divorce…
Marriage is an easy way to note the difference between stages 4 and 5. I like to think of Taking Action as a wedding day and honeymoon, and Maintaining Effort as building a healthy marriage. How exciting it is for people to have a joyous wedding, an occasion when everyone is cheering for them! How much more difficult it is to make a smart decision about whom you will marry beforehand, and to put the pieces of a lasting marriage together afterwards! The point here is that you should be aware that Stage Five, Maintaining Effort, is where we spend most of our energy in terms of major life changes. Some changes, and most of the most important ones, require maintenance for the rest of our lives– talk to a recovering addict about that!
Pre-marriage and Marriage coaching is one of those things my wife and I love to do together, because while you may have had a beautiful wedding once upon a time, living happily ever after doesn’t always come easily, and coaches can even help you get the most out of your marriage, finding synergy together, leaving a legacy as a family. And if you can find that synergy in your own marriage, you may find a way to make 10x more out of it.
Here’s to you, dear reader, going all the way to the finish line for a win!