Change Takes Time
There are many thoughts on how long it takes to change a habit, from 21 days, to 40 days and longer, but there seems to be no set time it will take a person to develop a habit. People are different and what works for one may not work for another.
In a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology (2010), the range of time it took people to form habits ranged from 18 days to 254 days, the average being 66 days. As a general rule of thumb, then, two or three months is often going to be enough time for something that you repeat daily to become a habit. According to the study, missing the habit just once in that time didn’t seem to cause trouble, though more than once did.
As part of their Certified Professional Coach Program, ICA require their coach trainees to coach five people and recommend twelve sessions for each of those coaching relationships. As the researcher has experienced these relationships become very strong and hard to break. Three months together in the intimacy of a coaching session builds a very strong relationship. In the researcher’s experience as both coach and client the value of the coaching process works in a strong and intimate relationship.
Coaching and Change
The tipping point to change is past the point of resistance which is around week three to eight as already discussed. The relationship in coaching is a significant factor in effecting change for the client, because the trust built between coach and client enables the coach to help propel the client through the resistance dip and on into real change.
The Formula for Change created by Richard Beckhard and David Gleicher (Beckhard, 1969) and refined by Kathleen Dannemiller (Dannemiller, Jacobs, 1992), further supports the role of the relationship in coaching.
To ensure a successful change it is necessary to use influence and strategic thinking in order to create vision and identify those crucial, early steps towards it.
To truly be an influence in someone’s life, one needs to be in someone’s life, not merely passing through.
This Formula for Change is as follows :
- D = Dissatisfaction with how things are now
- V = Vision for what is possible
- F = First concrete steps that can be taken towards the vision
- If the product of these three factors are greater than
- R = Resistance
then change is possible. Because D, V and F are multiplied, if any one is absent or low, then the product will be low and not capable of overcoming the resistance.
In the researcher’s opinion, none of this can be accomplished successfully alone. Dissatisfaction with the status quo starts with the client, and perhaps even the vision, however even vision can be hard to see without someone else helping us to see what we cannot see. And for the steps to be taken a ‘walking’ buddy is needed to walk alongside, to encourage, to support, and to celebrate each of those steps. And when Resistance comes, without support, it can be too difficult and overwhelming to push through alone. The encouragement they receive from a coach will serve as a tremendous support that will help to keep them going even when they may feel like giving up.
Christopher Pinckley (2012) says that the very act of hiring a life coach is the beginning of change.
Much in the same way when you hire a life coach you will begin to take yourself and your life more seriously and most likely start making positive changes right away… It is kind of like saying ‘I am worth it!’ In other words, you will automatically, subconsciously begin to make and create changes in your life from the simple act of hiring a life coach. (Pinckley, 2012)
The Coaching Relationship
One of the core competencies of the International Coach Federation is the coaching relationship, establishing trust and intimacy with the client. This is accomplished by providing a safe, supportive environment for the client. The coaching relationship is built on mutual trust and commitment.
The relationship is the connection between the coach and client and is what holds the power to move the client towards change and to the accomplishment of their goals. A good coaching outcome requires a good coaching relationship between coach and client.
The coaching relationship is a unique relationship partly because of the personal nature of what is shared in the coaching conversation, but also because of the commitment that coach and client make to one another. An emotional connection is formed between coach and client, a connection that is difficult to end. It develops trust and trust is an essential element in a coaching relationship. This connection holds the power for change to occur. The coaching relationship is an important factor in effecting change in the client’s life.
Kimsey-House, H, Kimsey-House, K, Sandahl, P, Whitworth, L, (2011), Co-Active Coaching, Third Edition, Nicholas Brealey Publishing, Boston, London
Allen, J, (1864-1912), As A Man Thinketh, Classic Books, Australia
Prochaska, JO, DiClemente, CC, (1984) The Transtheoretical Approach: Towards a Systematic Eclectic Framework,
Dow Jones Irwin, Homewood, IL, USA as cited at http:// currentnursing.com/nursing_theory/transtheoretical_model.html
Lally, P, van Jaarsveld, C.H.M, Potts, H.W.W, Wardle, J, (October 2010), How Are Habits
Formed: Modelling Habit Formation In The Real World, European Journal of Social Psychology, Volume 40, Issue 6, pages 998-1009
Beckhard, R (1969) Organization Development: Strategies and Models, Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA.
Dannemiller, K. D., and Jacobs, R. W. (1992). Changing the way organizations change: A revolution of common sense, The Journal Of Applied Behavioral Science, 28(4), 480-498.
Pinckley, C.A. (2012), “What in the World do I need a Life Coach for???” International Coach Federation (2011) ICF Core Competencies http:// www.coachfederation.org/icfcredentials/core-competencies/