Understanding how clients react to challenges in life is very important to coaches. O’Conner and Lages (ref 1) have come up with a Transition Model that helps explain the stages clients go through in handling change.
The client starts with a Dissatisfaction or Challenge. They may feel that they want to be happier, but they probably don’t know what they want to do or where they want to be instead. This leads to a fear of change, as they can become frozen and unable to react to the challenge. This builds up frustration and leads to further dissatisfaction. The client can go round and round this loop until they get so frustrated or the situation gets so bad that they break the loop.
Coaching can help get clients out of the initial loop, and help them progress from Frustration to Action . This transition model is about double loop coaching. The coach supports the client to work on Actions which take them through Transition.
Once past Transition the client can move on to new Beliefs, take new Learnings on board and Change their Habits. This will lead to new Challenges and the cycle starts again.
Francis was in his early thirties and felt overweight and unfit. His sales job meant he was in the car most of the day driving from client to client. When he got home to his wife Mary in the evening he was just too tired to do anything other than eat is dinner. He knew he should do something but didn’t know what. Then he was given a bigger territory to manage. This was a real struggle and his sales figures started to drop. He started going to the pub each evening to drown his sorrows, which upset Mary. Things got worse and worse until one evening he bumped into an old friend Michael in the pub and started talking about his problems. He said “I now I need to exercise and eat healthily but don’t know how to start”.
Michael persuaded Francis to meet him on Sunday morning in the park for a walk. Each Sunday they would walk for 1 hour around the park. Francis began feeling better almost immediately. By the third week he could even talk while he walked. They discussed lots of different topics but Michael kept asking questions about what Francis ate, and why he ate what he did. Slowly Francis lost weight and with support from Michael, started walking on Saturdays and during the week. He found he did have time to do stuff, and after 12 months, he’d lost 14 lbs and increased his sales figures.
Then Mary became pregnant, and his boss made him Regional sales Manager. Two more Challenges to deal with.
Ref 1 Coaching with NLP – Joseph O’Connor and Andrea Lages