This is a provocative question, especially because the short answer is “no”. But read on, coaches and coaching clients alike, for all is not lost!
The concept of Change Fitness, or the idea that all individuals have strengths and weaknesses in seven key psychological resources for the change process, has been studied in depth by Dr. Steve Barlow of Australia. Dr. Barlow created a psychometric test with which we can get a snapshot of anyone’s Change Fitness strengths and weaknesses. The test was given to 1000 Australians so that results can be scored on a bell curve against the general population. Dr. Barlow has now given the test to many coaches. He finds that coaches, as a subset, have scored 50% on average. This tells us something we already knew: coaches are human. Some have good change fitness, others are weaker than average. That’s just what average means!
There’s hope! Dr. Barlow also has designed a change “fitness” program which has proven time and again to help people become stronger in these seven psychological resource areas. Just like going to a gym for 3 months to exercise seven groups of muscles, anyone who does the “workouts” consistently will find that they have strengthened their muscles for change, which means that the next time they work with a coach, they’re more likely to succeed, and they can maximize the usefulness the coach offers. A professional athlete who comes to training camp out of shape can only do so much with the coaching on techniques, until they get fit first! If you need to make changes in your life, getting fit first can really help. Here’s where it gets really interesting. The world is changing faster and faster all the time, technology advancing at exponential levels, while humans tend towards incremental growth. This means the people living in it will need more and more to be fit for change than ever before. Your change fitness level will directly impact your ability to adapt as the world turns. I believe that you need it in an evolving job market. You need it for raising kids. You need it if you want to thrive.
The reality is that many coaches get into coaching precisely because they struggled with change at some point, got help from a coach, and decided that they also wanted to be able to help others gain clarity, achieve goals, etc. And indeed, through their training, they learned the methodology, made paradigm shifts in their head and heart, and can do these things for others. But, by definition, coaches cannot give themselves outside perspective. They continue to be human. Their training doesn’t always make them more psychologically fit for change. In fact, well-trained coaches are very good at helping others grow and succeed, so long as the client has good change fitness (regardless of whether the coach personally has good change fitness.) The skill set to help others grow has very little to do with the coach’s own ability to make and sustain changes for themselves. The upshot is that hiring a coach can be very helpful, so long as the client has enough change fitness to sustain the changes.
For clients, it’s important to understand that a coach can still help you if the coach isn’t particularly “change fit”, so this should not worry you. But –they can help you even more, if you yourself are change fit.
We are looking for more coaches who are interested in becoming certified Personal Change Fitness Practitioners. There’s tons of room in the space, and there’s 24 ICF-approved CCEU’s available (21 in core competencies). The great hope the Personal Change Fitness Program offers is that anyone, regardless of personality type, background, etc., can develop greater fitness for change.
To take the assessment and go through the Personal Change Fitness Program, or to get involved as a facilitator, contact me at [email protected] and I’ll be happy to tell you more about it.