When I speak to coaching colleagues, they often share experiences with clients where the client KNOWS they need to change, but they still cling on to current situations and behaviours. This is even though they are fully aware that these are not good for them, may be getting in the way of their dreams and are creating issues in their work and private lives.
Why is this? Nobel winning Psychologist Daniel Khanemann would describe client behaviour as exhibiting loss Aversion and Status Quo Bias. Simply put, this is about change. People appear to focus more on the negative aspects of change rather than the positive benefits, irrespective of their current situation and the circumstances that gave rise to it or the significant pluses of change. Viewed in this way it means that clients stay where they are because of fear of where change will take them. This is often expressed in terms of impact of them changing on other people… such as, my friends may not like me anymore.
You cannot change the past, the future isn’t here yet, so all you can deal with is the here and now. Approached in this way, a client may talk to their friends about change and gain some really interesting perspectives. They may also be pleasantly surprised that their friends cite qualities that they are admired for, that the client was unaware of. This would certainly take the fear of change head on with the client taking responsibility for themselves. The alternative is that the client is a passenger in their own life, watching events unfold and wondering why they feel powerless to make a better future for themselves.
When change knocks, forget what lies behind and embrace the possibilities of what lies ahead. If opportunity doesn’t knock…. you know what to do… build a door!