A Coaching Power Tool Created by Dane Sacree
(Life Coach, UNITED STATES)
A power tool is an instrumental technique in switching one’s perspective to something that provides more benefits in facing a situation. When thinking about resistance and growth, many ideas come to mind. However, in this description of the power tool, resistance and growth are considered perspectives that a person has to a particular situation and challenge. These mindsets are hugely influential in providing or taking away from our possibilities, and the transition from one to the other is momentous in shifting the outcome. This paper will explore resistance and growth, noting where they come from and what they are based on. These elements provide strength as to why helping a client shift from resistance to growth can change their experience of a challenge and their situation.
What is resistance?
When I first think of resistance, I am taken back to my physics lab and how it influences all equations I had to do. It was always to be aware of; however, outside of the class and the books, it was not a concept widely spoken. Maybe passing glances, utter phrases, and confusing situations but never fully acknowledged until I started looking deeper. What was causing that one excellent student to fail? What was causing many athletes to succeed and others not to? What was the difference between the elite and those who were always searching for it?
It hit me one day like a ton of bricks. I watched a video of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson training, and something he said interested me. He referred to resistance and how the only way through is to move past it. Interestingly, all that stood out in the sentence was “resistance.” I realized that what causes so many people not to succeed, not to achieve all they want was the resistance they faced in the problem. They identified with the difficulties of being an athlete. The difficulties of studying long hours. The difficulties of working to your full potential. They were resistant to their growth. They experienced a resistant mindset to their challenge. At that moment, I searched for a definition to share this phenomenon with others. This search was difficult as many individuals noted a fixed mindset that leads to resistance. Therefore, it is essential to differentiate. A fixed mindset is defined as “a mindset where qualities are fixed traits and cannot change. You are born with a certain amount of skill and intelligence cannot be improved” (Dweck, 2006). A resistance mindset can be defined as “a psychological defense mechanism wherein a patient rejects, denies, or otherwise opposes the efforts created” (Merriam-Webster, 2020).
To deny, object, and oppose a concept beautifully describes the reluctance that a person experiences to change. They believe one thing only for their actions to do another. They want change, but they genuinely do not believe it is possible for them and therefore resist it. This resistance differs from a fixed mindset as there is a possibility for change, just no awareness of what is stopping the change yet. It is a mindset where there are space and possibility for the person to change their beliefs if they know-how. As a coach, this is where the challenge is for your client who wants to change and become all they can dream of. This want is where the power tool requires shifting to something useful in allowing the person to reach what they want. This led to the other side of the power tool, which is growth.
What is growth?
The perspective described so far has led to the power tool’s expected outcome to be a growth mindset. However, I do not believe this mindset is enough to change the resistance completely. A growth mindset can be defined as “when students understand their abilities can be developed” (Dweck, 2014). This is a beautiful mindset to have, but in reflection, I do not believe it is enough to create change in an individual that experiences resistance. When resisting, there is a belief that you are opposed to the change. Having a shift in mindset may help this but will not cause the belief to change and will not eliminate the resistance. The opposite end of resistance for this power tool is growth. A person who can experience growth, especially in something they did not think they could before, leads to a vast perspective shift giving the power tool its influence. However, to ensure extreme clarity around growth, it can be defined as “progressive development” (Merriam-Webster, 2020). It can be experienced in multiple ways, from a small win to a complete overhaul of the person’s experience. It is truly a powerful technique to move a perspective.
When growth occurs in any area of a person’s life, they can experience the joy it brings with other emotions. If showing someone growth is possible, showing them that they have grown in the past or giving an example of growth, it becomes tangible that the resistance is not needed. It becomes a possibility. With this possibility, the coach can use the person’s own experience to guide how they see the situation and their outcome truly. With awareness around their growth and a perspective shift to growth, the action moving forward becomes one of choice. Either choose to stay in resistance or change to grow and accomplish what they set out to achieve.
Growth also encourages a change of beliefs. As people shift and grow through their experiences, what they once held might no longer be accurate. Through growth, you can provide a perspective of reflection. “Look where you were and see all you have accomplished, those beliefs you held are no longer true.” This encourages further growth of the person and can effectively teach them how to self-coach when facing a problem that they are experiencing resistance in.
Growth is a beautiful perspective to shift to as it encompasses a growth mindset but provides evidence for why the resistance being experienced is not true. It is a powerful perspective that shifts beliefs about the person and their current experience.
Why do we see change with resistance?
When looking forward, we often think of the long and big picture. This can be truly daunting for the person to experience and not create enough evidence that they can achieve the goal they want to accomplish. It is like looking at a new world without guidance on how to achieve it. At this moment, we start to notice our resistance. “I want to achieve that, but I am not smart enough. I cannot get my act together. It just seems too hard.” These are entirely valid sentences for someone who is in resistance to the change they want.
This perspective at this moment is compelling. The person relies on their beliefs because it is safe, and often the challenge set forth is difficult to do. It is precious, however, for a person to experience this. Without this resistance, there is an awareness that the change is not truly a reach for the person. With no resistance, the challenge is within their comfort zone and allows them to move slowly but not change in the way they want. With resistance comes emotions, experience, and carefulness, which are useful tools to create even more powerful growth.
Application of growth in change
There are multiple ways to move through resistance and experience growth as a perspective. To provide a better application, it has been separated into two sections: Self-application and coaching application.
When experiencing resistance as an individual, you must identify the core belief and reason for why you are approaching change with this perspective. To discover that, you can ask yourself the following questions:
- What are you scared will happen?
- What is difficult to change right now?
- What would you need to be able to change with ease?
- What will be different if you do change?
- What do you think about when you think of the change?
In reflection of these questions, there will be patterns, and the answers can create awareness of why you are experiencing your resistance. Through this awareness, it is then necessary to think of similar situations where you were challenged and move through it.
- What worked?
- How do you feel moving through that challenge?
- Was it worth it?
- What made it successful?
As you answer these questions, there will be elements that will connect to the understanding you learned through the first round of questions. This understanding is essential as it is “why it is possible for you” and the evidence of why you can move through any resistance.
Once you have your evidence as to why it is possible for you and you know you have achieved growth before, it is essential to act on it and make the perspective stronger. To do this, create a small goal that will be easy to achieve and moves slightly towards the experience you want, the experience you are resisting. Once you have completed this goal, stop for a moment, and reflect on how you have just grown to complete the task. Feel how with one task completed, you can do the next, and through this awareness continuously boost the growth perspective that will make your resistance seem insignificant.
The coaching application to providing a shift in perspective is very similar. The coach is required to determine what beliefs the person has about the situation. This can be done through a variety of techniques:
- Questions: Using questions, you open the client up to a different form of thinking that requires a deeper understanding of the situation and themselves. Through this depth, perspective can be created and used to ensure the transition from resistance to growth. By creating this shift, the person will experience a complete version of themselves moving towards their goals.
- ABC Method (Ellis, 1957): This method allows awareness to be created around beliefs and what we associate with a situation causing our outcomes. By creating awareness, the individual begins to choose their beliefs and therefore change their situation. By changing the outcome, the person sees and experiences growth, which allows a shift from resistance.
- Visualization: Visualizing growth allows the brain to experience growth before it occurs. By experiencing growth, the person then knows what to expect and how to move forward with that expectation moving past resistance and wanting more growth.
- Creation of goals: By setting short-term goals that are easy to achieve, the person can experience growth quickly and see the visible change, which will help reduce the resistance to the bigger goal and help create a new mindset with less resistance.
Through this variety of techniques, the perspective shift can be created for your client. In each case, however, the goal is to provide the feeling of growth for your clients so they can pull on that experience, create a more profoundly valid perspective of growth and use it as fuel to move forward in their life and their situations.
Resistance is a vital part of any challenge, but it can become a hindrance without movement towards growth. There are multiple ways for a new perspective of growth to be created, drawing strength from the person’s experience and intuition. Growth built into a person’s belief system will help move them forward through future challenges as well.
Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset: The New Psychology to Success. New York, NY: Ballantine Books.
Dweck, C. (2014). Carol Dweck: The power of believing that you can improve.
Ellis, A. (1957). Rational Psychotherapy and individual psychology. Journal of Individual Psychology, 13: 38-44.
Merriam-Webster (2020). Growth.
Merriam-Webster (2020). Resistance.