The Nature of Change

 
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Sometimes I'm asked how many coaching sessions are needed before change happens.

This is a difficult question to answer.

Therapists and coaches can't answer this question accurately. Even if there are a limited amount of sessions because of financial constraints, or insurance (for therapy), there is no guarantee that change or any goals will be met. It's a risk and vulnerability to take that leap.

>>>Well, that sucks.

Yes, it does. It's uncomfortable not to have a clear timeline with how long it should take to get the results you're looking for. It can be frustrating having to pay for a service where "nothing is happening." This is where communication as a client, and having the openness and trust of the professional comes in. 

It is my job as your coach to instill hope and optimism for change.

It takes trust if we are to create change together. I have to earn your trust.

It's my job to gather information to see where we can start to work on the goals that you've identified as the client. This is a dynamic type of relationship. Sometimes we need to have trial and error. Sometimes we have to see where life is at the moment to see which skills or goals are the most foundational, or significant. It is my job to see how you learn or grow best, by asking questions, giving assignments, and observing. 

My job is to give evidence of change. This can come from practicing interventions, but also explaining them in a way that makes the most sense to you. I have to learn how to speak your language and honor your experiences. When you know I seek to understand and have a certain level of understanding of your world, there is a stronger connection for us to build on. 

To give ourselves permission to change slowly, think about how long we've been alive, and how long these behaviors have existed. This isn't an easy process, and it involves cycles of small changes and success. 

Baby steps & comparisons:

Many of us are guided by perfectionism or feelings of being an imposter. With these lingering thoughts of never being good enough, it makes sense that starting out with change doesn't seem like a big deal; it's not the finish line. We barely started and other people are closer to the goals than us. Why didn't we start earlier? Or if we've been doing this for years, how come it's taking so long? We can start sabotaging ourselves because it's been part of our lives for so long, and the discomforts of comparisons and imposter syndrome start to consume us.

Please, take this into consideration: 

You are your own person, with your own story. No one can know entirely what you've gone through, and no one can tell you how to live your life. When you are ready, you are ready.

Some of us make small changes over large time spans. Some of us can change over night. We each have different circumstances and motivations, and access to support with change. These factors make it nearly impossible to compare our stories with others'. Change can be an uncomfortable process. Baby steps are to be celebrated. 

What if we get stuck or go backwards?

It's probably going to happen. If you look back on your attempts and successes with change in the past, maybe you've noticed when things made it difficult for you to maintain healthier or more positive types of behaviors. A common factor is stress or sudden changes in life. When we're really stressed out, we tend to gravitate towards comfort and past habits, even if we know they're not the best for us. We sometimes pair using our default patterns as failing. And that's the message we get from the greater culture. We get told we have to be perfect. We have to get it done 100% or it's considered a failure. 

That's not realistic. That's not fair. And, it's not being a human being. We make mistakes, and we have hardships with maintaining change all the time. That's the reality of being a human being. We are going to slip up, and default to our old ways every now and then. That's where a skilled coach can come in (a therapist if we are dealing with anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns) to educate and support you through these stages of change, because ambivalence and maintenance part of it. 

Being stuck is very common, and having this "stuckness" honored can actually create momentum to move forward. Many times people have their own agendas for how someone else is supposed to live, and instead of supporting change through encouragement, resistance is created by telling people to do stuff when it's not the right time to do so. 

Will other people see your change as quickly as you do?

This is complicated, too. Imagine having to work through changes in how confidently you feel about an area of life. These are internal changes that may or may not be large physical changes in your life. Some people may be more attuned with your habits or mannerisms, and can more quickly notice your changes or process of change. Other people can have their own barriers with seeing change. 

This is an added layer of systems psychology and maintaining change: It is one thing to start changing as an individual. It is another difficult layer to maintain change around others who may have sabotaged you, or expected a certain role (types of behaviors) from you in the past. Some people don't want to see the changes you've worked hard on. They want to pick and choose what they see, so they might try to sabotage or dismiss things. This is where habit, changes in environment (people, places, etc) can help maintain the positive changes you've worked so hard on. 

Open communication about these environmental factors  can help your coach or therapist with offering guidance or asking questions about how to prepare for these situations. Tools and education can be offered with how to create a layer of protection between you and negativity or sabotage you may face. 

Our relationship is the most important factor with change. 

I hope that my role is to be a guide, teacher, and resource. I can see your strengths, and hopefully, we can get to a place where you can see them, too. This involves hope, education, practice, and working through the ups and downs of building new habits. Coaching is interactive; I value and expect openness to discuss. We can talk about your thoughts on the pace of change, roadblocks, small victories, and any areas we need to focus on. 

Each one us of has a different relationship with change. It can be really scary doing this alone. It is scary for me at times, too. Changing and transitioning during parts of my life, I thought being alone was the brave thing to do. I was wrong. Having a mentor, or even friends to check in made the process easier. Knowing this, I hope to honor the unique situations each person has and walk with them on their journeys of change. 

We can work together to meet larger goals by having smaller successes over time. These deserve to be celebrated and witnessed.

Boonie (949)381-1894  |  organizedmesses@gmail.com

(I have openings AM and 3-7 Mondays )

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