The Coach-Approach and Changing Habits

I was recently asked “What does coaching have to say about dealing with emotional responses when trying to transition away from old habits?”

Below (while I realize now it doesn’t really answer the question fully/directly) is what I wrote in response.

Whether or not it’s a complete or elegant answer to the original question, I think it’s useful to consider:

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First and foremost, “coaching” would ask, not “say” 😉

But to answer your question, more usefully, I hope, let me say that looking at habits and the difficulty of change, through a coaching “lens” would be about some of the “come-froms” (CFs) of coaching. And questions (Q). Lots and lots of questions.

Stuff like:

CF: You are whole, complete and capable.
Q: What’s getting in the way of that here?

CF: The perfect solution, for you, in this particular situation, exists.
Q: If you knew what it was, what would it look like?

CF: Deep-down, you know what the right path is for you.
Q: What are you choosing instead?

CF: Everything we do serves us, in some way (whether it’s really good for us or not).
Q: What is the “utility” for you in continuing as you are?
Q: What small change, in the direction of what you truly want, do you think would be possible/manageaable?

Habits are an interesting thing. That they are hard to change is both wonderful, and frustrating. Wonderful when they are good, resourceful habits. Not-so-wonderful when a habit doesn’t support the life we truly want.

I would say a key to making a change, in regards to a “bad” habit, is:

1) get really, really clear on what you want to create instead – and why;

2) start small in regards to making the change, maybe only changing part of the routine; and

3) track your progress (at least daily, likely you’re better off “checking-in-with-yourself” multiple times every day) and know how you’re going to celebrate when you’re done – and celebrate whatever progress you’ve made (sometimes it’s enough just to have “tackled” the issue, and you may need to “try again,” more intelligently).

Another way to approach the “solving-of-the-issue” is to look at what belief is creating the situation in the first place and adopting a new, resourceful belief. Often times, a “foundational” belief is out-of-date and in-accurate – updating it, authentically and intelligently, will transform the situation.

I hope that helps get your thinking stimulated. Feel free to ask follow-up questions.

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