You might be wondering what’s different or new about change fitness coaching? Is it what you’re already doing, or is it something completely different?
Let’s explore this idea.
In the tradition of…….
Innovation is never entirely new. It may involve a new way of seeing reality, or new ways of doing things, but it is always informed by ideas that already exist. In other words, it flows out of some sort of tradition. New approaches to coaching also flow out of some tradition. For example, neuroscience coaching is a relatively new perspective, but it comes out of the ‘hard sciences’ tradition, which has existed for thousands of years. As our ability to understand the brain has increased due to modern technology, we have become more aware of how the mind/brain connection works, and more able to understand human behaviour.
Change fitness coaching is a newcomer to the coaching world, but it too comes from a preexisting tradition. It is based on the tradition of evidence-based psychology, particularly positive psychology. Positive psychology focuses on what’s right with people as opposed to some other forms of psychology that focus on what’s wrong with people. Change fitness coaching is concerned with the psychological factors (the internal landscape of our minds) that enable us to be successful at the change process.
We all experience change, and we can’t avoid it. It comes to us in hundreds of different forms – growing up, growing older, entering or ending a relationship, starting a business, starting a family, getting a new job, or entering retirement. These are just some of the changes, but there are many others driven by technology, the economy, the market, competition, globalisation, AI, and many other factors. But here’s the important thing to note: although there are many different expressions of change, they all share something in common. They are all expressions of the change process. They all have some fundamental things in common. If you can get good at handling those fundamental things, you are more prepared to handle all of the ways you will experience change in your life.
A new perspective….
Change fitness coaching is unique because it is based on an understanding of what those fundamental things are, how to identify and measure them in people, and how to help people develop more of them. These fundamental change fitness resources affect 3 areas of life. First, they affect how well people handle change. That’s pretty important, because your clients seek your help to make change. The more you can help them do that, the more successful they are likely to become.
Second, they affect a person’s leadership capacity. Leadership is not about managing the status quo. It’s about moving forward to achieve valued goals and a shared vision. It’s fundamentally about leading people through change. Leadership and change fitness are intimately connected.
Third, they affect an organisation’s change readiness. If an organisation’s members are poor at handling the change process, the organisation is not ready for change. There are other factors involved, but change fitness is a major one.
Change fitness coaching is based on a new perspective on how people succeed at change. It’s based on the understanding that people are more likely to succeed if they have high levels of change fitness. In other words, there are some essential psychological resources people need if they are likely to succeed at change – especially difficult change. No matter how good the coach is, or how well-trained they are, the client’s level of change fitness has the greatest influence on outcomes.
Change fitness coaching has the goal of helping the client to strengthen these essential psychological resources so they are more successful in making the changes they want to make.
A scientific approach….
The change fitness concept was originally conceived of as individual change readiness. The individual change readiness concept was explored in PhD research in the early 2000’s by one of The Change Gym’s founders, Steve Barlow. At that time, Steve was exploring why some of his coaching clients made great progress, while others, having similar needs and given the same opportunity, made very little progress. Having coached over 3000 people, Steve discovered that the ones who were most successful at change had similar patterns in their psychological landscape. He was able to identify what these patterns were, and how to identify people who had them.
Working independently, Stephanie noted that some of her clients also had patterns that helped them succeed at change. They collaborated and these patterns are what we now call ‘change fitness’.
Over the last 7 years Steve, Stephanie, and The Change Gym team have developed many resources to train coaches in change fitness coaching, to measure change fitness in clients and identify areas of strength and need, and programs help people build more change fitness. They have also developed programs showing the connection between change fitness and leadership, and change fitness and organisational change readiness.
Steve and Stephanie Barlow also lecture in change fitness to Masters students at the University of Tasmania.
A framework and an ecosystem….
What we offer coaches is much more than information about change fitness. We offer a fully-functional framework to guide coaching practice. This framework guides what to do, why to do it, when to do it, how to do it, and tools to do it with. Coaches undergoing our training end up with unique skills and knowledge, and a host of resources and programs that are easily executable in their practice.
The programs we offer form an ecosystem that extends from the individual and their personal change fitness, to change fitness and leadership and connections between them, and finally to the change fitness of the group and the change readiness of the entire organisation.