Last week, I spoke to a peer about how she was doing after a particularly busy period in her life. Her energy was low - I could hear it in every syllable as she managed to share a few matter-of-fact details about having a chocked full schedule and wanting to make changes. Even though we weren't face to face, I could feel a dark cloud hanging over her, bearing weight on her mood, motivation, and happiness.
Change doesn't happen over night - this is a phrase that has been engrained in many of our minds. And in many cases, it's true. Good, sustainable change, for communities, companies and sports teams, comes after deep evaluation, a well-defined approach, careful measurement and iteration after iteration. For people, this can be true as well. In many circumstances, the framework for building strategies and goals that I shared with Financial Services companies could work extremely well for an individual desiring the type of change that I was an expert on. But the thing is - it wouldn't be their change.
Much like selling a product, or getting buy-in from a leader, someone will not own the act of making change until it's theirs. In fact, the core difference in coaching versus consulting someone on something is that rather than sharing a plan and an approach to effect change, you guide someone to find their own desired destination, and empower them to build the map to lead themselves there. Empowerment is the key word here. One can only send all their good juju to another person so much - cheerleaders aren't the ones generally playing the game.
As I listened to my friend last week, I knew I needed to employ some key coaching tactics to elevate her energy, shift her focus, and help her start building waves to sea change. Below are a few quick tactics for doing the same when you find yourself with low energy around a decision or change:
Quick Tips to Empower Towards Change
- Validation brings the party to the present. You are allowed to feel. Full stop. Acknowledge your emotions when they're low. I would even encourage you to sit with them for long enough for you to determine that they are separate from you. Then you can take the power back from them. As Michael A. Singer shares in Untethered Soul, "To attain true inner freedom, you must be able to objectively watch your problems instead of being lost in them."
- Talk about what's going well. If you're in a crunch, overwhelmed or stuck, you're likely resonating at a very low frequency, which is the exact place you don't want to be in order to actually take action. Re-living your success stories or conjuring up a good moment has the effect of a smile for your inner self. After doing it for a short period of time, you may actually feel a shift in energy powerful enough to bring you to the present and help you begin to build a plan.
- Switch on the magical thinking. What would life be like once you're living that change you so desire? How would you feel? What would be doing once you are there? Even though the focus is on the present, the same tactic you would use to help an executive take ownership of a strategy can work in your personal life. Thinking about how it would feel to actually be living the change can help raise your energy to doing, and help you buy in to your own plan for getting there. Sometimes the best way to make something happen is to sell to the most important customer: yourself.