When coaching a new client I assume they are healthy, mature and responsible until they prove themselves to be otherwise. Most people are willing to step-up and learn, grow and develop. Some simply aren’t. Without sounding insensitive and lacking compassion, I’ve come to realize that some people simply won’t change or accept help to develop themselves and it’s best to not work with them. Forcing them to change is the equivalent of banging your head against the wall – you’ll get a headache or worse. What I have also discovered is that rather than trying to change a person, which generally isn’t effective, I will work with those that are open and willing to grow.
Here’s a list of some “truths” I’ve discovered through coaching others. They may help if you are trying to coach an employee or if you are thinking of getting a coach yourself.
Coaching Won’t Help If…
Everyone else has a problem except for them.
- People that think the world would be a better place if everyone were like them not only are mistaken but also have a blind spot. Diversity and alternative perspectives are incredibly valuable. We don’t have to agree but we should be willing to consider others opinions to expand our horizons.
The person has no interest in changing.
- Think of a time you have tried to change a spouse, child, friend or significant other who had no interest in moving from their position or attitude. Was it a waste of time? You likely were incredibly frustrated, or even angry, and the outcome was a damaged or broken relationship where the chance for future interaction and ability to assist may have ended.
Their goals or values are not aligned with your organization.
- If they’re in the wrong environment and there is not a fit on intrinsic values, beliefs and ethics, it won’t work. Unless they are willing to make major changes regarding values and behaviours, permanent change is not possible.
The person is in the wrong job.
- I call this the “round peg / square hole” syndrome. Some people are simply in the wrong job or at the wrong company. They should be coached to find a different job or do something that best suits their skills, strengths, traits, and passion.
It’s hard to help people who don’t think they have a problem and it’s almost impossible to change someone who thinks someone else is the problem. You can’t change a person’s behaviour, only they can. Focus your efforts on coaching those that are willing to do the hard work required.
“No man is capable of self-improvement if he sees no other model but himself.” ~ Conrado I. Generoso