People experience many changes throughout their lives. These can cover a vast range of circumstances and situations, for instance:
Including bereavement, the breakdown of a relationship, or dealing with children leaving home.
Such as a change in lifestyle, altered sleep patterns, struggling with long-term health issues, unexpected failures (or successes), a sudden loss of confidence, getting married, having children, and moving home or relocating (due to career or family health changes).
Perhaps through changing jobs, dealing with a new boss, facing difficulties with fellow team members (if employed) or awkward clients (if self-employed), redundancy, facing the closure of your own business, taking on a mortgage, and even preparing for retirement.
INNER SELF CONCERNS
Having to cope with changes in your physical appearance (through accident, injury or illness), dealing with self-image concerns (because of comments made about you by friends or colleagues, or seeing something nasty about you posted on social media), or struggling to cope with a self-awareness issue.
How coaching helps people to deal with change
A Life Coach supports, remains non-judgmental, and allows people time to address changes in their lives; to go through the transitional period at their own speed.
While some individuals can undertake this more quickly than others, the most important element is moving through the transition period one step at a time, at a pace that enables people to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The diagram below shows a typical transition process – the “change curve” may even seem familiar to you. This is a natural process and everybody encounters or goes through some (or all) of it at different points in their lives.
Coaching people through this process broadly consists of encouraging each person to go through the transition in their own time and reflect on personal thoughts, in a structured way. Part of this includes allowing the person involved to encounter, and deal with, a range of different emotions as part of their transition journey.
Smoothing the journey
Coaching offers individuals a clearer understanding of what may lie ahead and a structured approach that provides for a smoother transition to Acceptance and Moving on. As you can see above the various phases people may go through include:
- Denial – blaming others and self
- Shock and Anger – as an initial reaction
These initial stages are often very stressful and unpleasant places to be and people may remain here for some time. If they are unable to move on for a significant period, the transitional process will take longer and may even prove unsuccessful (leaving them stuck in an awful place for a longer period than necessary, or even for life).
- Confusion and doubt may set in but this can be a good sign, as it is often an indication that people are beginning to move on
- Letting go, Trying out and Acceptance
These middle phases are generally where people stop focusing on the past and start focusing on the future. Sometimes people slide back to doubting themselves, however, they are experiencing and adapting to different and possibly new things, so time and patience is needed by everyone.
- Moving on
This final phase is the point where people begin to embrace the changes; often seen as a time for celebration to reflect where they were and where they are now.
What they have learnt about themselves, and any new skills or knowledge they may have gained, plays a huge part in gaining confidence to move on.
A time to reflect
Life does go on regardless and when people are ready for important new beginnings opportunities often present themselves from the most unexpected places. You are probably familiar with sayings such as “When one door shuts another opens” or “Every cloud has a silver lining” and this reflects the Moving on phase as people gently acknowledge that it’s time to move forward.
When someone has gone through a major change in their lives, especially not one of their own making, you may also hear the words: “That was the best thing that could have happened to me”.
For many, this is an acknowledgment that their journey has been completed and, while difficult, has been a process that has ultimately been worthwhile.
For me these words are particularly rewarding to hear as it heralds the end of a client’s transitional journey and, hopefully, one they have completed with less pain, and more quickly, because of the professional experience and support I’ve provided for them.
If you are struggling with any of the circumstances or situations highlighted at the beginning of this article please contact me for an initial, free discussion, to see how coaching can help you through the changes you are facing in your life or career.