Written by Telana Simpson
If you have that uneasy feeling, that something just is not right, and that a change is needed, then the question to ask yourself is:
- What kind of change do I need, and am I ready for that change now?
Another question it then ask is:
- Can I create this change in my life on my own?
- Or would it be easier and more enjoyable if I had a structured process to work through the change?
Coaching is all about change, where the coach is the change agent providing the structured process to generate positive change, and you, the client, experience the actual change. That is why coaching is very client-centric, in that we as coaches don’t decide on the change, we just understand how to create change, and facilitate the process for you.
Areas where you might want to experience change in are very broad, and have resulted in coaches focusing on different kinds and categories of change. The outcome is you have access to a wide choice of coaches, who focus on executive coaching, life coaching, spiritual coaching, relationship coaching, communication coaching, self esteem coaching, etc.
Personal Life Coaching
Personal Life Coaching covers many areas of your life, because life is so multi-faceted. Life Coaches work usually with people in their private capacity, on areas in their lives like finding work/life balance, starting or ending relationships, enhancing existing skills, improving performance at work, setting goals and achieving them, health and fitness, and working through life changes, to name just a few.
What is interesting is that even within all these “topics” and focus areas of change, there are levels of actual change. A Meta-Coach is trained to not only understand the change process, but also to recognise the level at which the change needs to take place, for it to be sustainable for you.
Levels of Change
In Meta-Coaching we refer to Gregory Bateson’s model explaining the levels of change and learning. As the levels of change increase, so the level of complexity in understanding the process of change increases too, and yet we also have more ability to work effectively with creating changes.
The first level of change – Change0 – is actually where there is no change. You keep doing the same thing, over and over, sometimes maybe hoping for a different result, but not ever getting it. This is the realm of habits and programmed responses to triggers. There is no learning, and no thinking about the stimulus, and so your response stays the same.
Only when you are tired of getting the same results, and can acknowledge that your programmed, automatic responses are not working, and you are willing to do something about it to change, do you tend to then seek out a solution.
In the solution, you learn something new. Now the possibility of a different response becomes more likely, and you have a choice in that instant to change your response to a trigger. Here at the second level of change, or Change1, you modify or expand your behaviours. You respond in a different way and adapt your responses.
This is the level where you become more skilled, you expand your ability, tweak your performance at something that you’ve been doing already. The difference is that from the learning, you then alter what you do in incremental steps that gets different (and better) results. This is when you would seek out coaching which focuses on Performance.
Then there comes a time when your expanding, adapting and even modifying of your existing repertoire of responses doesn’t work. Something in the world outside changes, and you need to learn a totally new set of behaviours in order to get results. You then step into the next level of change, being Change2.
At this level, doing more of the same from your existing set of behaviours in this different context, has more of a detrimental effect. So in order to succeed, you need to step out of that repertoire, and learn a totally new set of behaviours. You move from incremental changes to discontinuous changes, where you are developing a whole new category of responses. In effect, you change the previous change. This is where you would look for some training and teaching in the area you want to develop.
As you go along making these developmental changes, you keep bringing new things into your set of learnt responses, and at some point you take a leap up in that “Aha!” moment. The gestalt of all the incremental and discontinuous changes becomes something more, and even your sense of yourself is affected. You then change again the way you’ve been changing, and Change3 appears.
You move from growing your beliefs, ideas, values and the resulting behaviours, to changing your very sense of self, your identity even. You evolve into a new person – you yourself change, not just your behaviour. This level of evolutionary change is the domain of Developmental Coaching.
As you’ve moved from not only changing what you do and learning new behaviours, but then to changing who you are, you are affecting your being. As your being is changed, so we can get a glimpse of the next possible level of change: revolutionary change. At Change4 you alter the world or even the universe you live in. When a whole paradigm shifts, your whole view of the world changes, and also your direction and way of living in that world is impacted. Profound awakenings can result in what seems like drastic changes at this level. People can step out of entire systems or structures, redesigning new empowering systems that they then step into. This is the level where Transformational Coaching is an option.
Different levels, Different Coaching
As Inner Coaches, we can facilitate change in many content areas, and also at any or all of these levels.
- Do you know which level you need to make a change at?
- Are you aware of what level of change you need to develop, in order to reach the goal you’ve set for yourself?
If you want to create mostly small changes in your behaviours and skills, you may find that Performance Coaching would suit you best. Examples of this kind of change would be to delegate at work more, lead others more effectively, manage stress, become more flexible in relating to others, even to do that project you’ve always wanted, like write a book or learn the guitar.
If though you sense that you need to work on yourself more, in the areas of self esteem, emotional intelligence, beliefs and values, spirituality, thinking styles, and even to manage your varied roles and identities, finding balance and more purpose and meaning in life, you’ll find more of a fit with a Developmental Coaching approach.
If you are ready to make the big decisions in life like changing careers, relationship status changes, moving countries, starting or leaving businesses, and changing world views, the level of coaching you are looking for is Transformational Coaching.
Whatever the level of change, they are all needed, and often, lead from one to the other. The key to mastery in Life though, is being able to step outside the box we find ourselves in, in order to recognise what we are dealing with. Knowing which level of change is needed, and then being able to step outside of your programmed responses to gain a new awareness, is where the magic of coaching lies.
You then have more choice, as often the solution you need cannot be found with the same thinking that created the problem (as Einstein postulates).
To find out which level of change you are at, consider a Readiness Session with our coach.
Hall, L. Michael & Duval, Michelle. (2004) Meta-Coaching. Volume 1: Coaching Change. Clifton, USA. Neuro-Semantics Publications. Hall, L. Michael.
Telana Simpson is a dynamic, transformational Personal Coach who specializes in communicating and relating. She is fascinated by consciousness evolution and goes on adventures to push her boundaries and preconceptions. She offers coaching and training programmes to help individuals develop their ability to express themselves, and their potentials. She is also the anchor host of the online TV show “Let’s Talk Possibility“.