Last time, we looked at how important it was to be ready to change. You will not change if you are not ready. In this post, I want to show you some aspects that will influence the likelihood of the success of your change programme. There are external and internal aspects. You may not need to consider all of them but during your coaching journey, your coach should help you identify which of these aspects may be at play when you seem stuck and not able to implement the changes required to achieve your goals. There are no right or wrong on any side of these aspects but it will be helpful to know how they influence your ability to be successful at changing and evaluate if you need to change some unhelpful influences to increase your likelihood of reaching your objectives.
1. Self-resilience to carry out action plan agreed during coaching
This is a purely external factor. During coaching, you will define actions to carry out between sessions. Each of these actions should bring you closer to your goal. These actions must be as much as possible in your control to complete. Ideally you want to be able to carry out these actions fully on your own. This way you can plan exactly how and when to do them. The more heavily actions depend on other people, the less control you have and the less likely it will be that they are carried out and that you will achieve your goal. Design your action plan so that it relies mostly on you.
Now we are going to look at internal factors, how you see yourself succeeding and being in control. There are three main factors I want to discuss: self-efficacy, locus of control and self-esteem.
Your self-efficacy is your own belief in your ability to carry out a task and be successful at it. It is a completely personal judgement. It is related to self-confidence. If you are a person who relies on others’ appreciation of you, your level of self-efficacy may be influenced by the level of feedback you receive. However, how you decide to react to this feedback is still yours, which is why self-efficacy is fundamentally an internal trait. It has been shown that a high level of self-efficacy leads to be able to sustaining more effort that when well-oriented, will lead to more successful outcomes.
3. Locus of control
Feeling that we are in control of a situation increases the likelihood of success. The locus of control describes how much we feel we are in control. Some people tend to think that what happens in their lives is dictated by external events (external locus of control) and others tend to think that internal forces control what happens to them (internal locus of control). We are all somewhere on a continuum between the two extremes. Your locus of control is related to your self-efficacy: a more internal locus of control is usually correlated with higher levels of self-efficacy. There is no right or wrong side to it. However, studies have shown that having a more internal locus of control leads to higher success and less anxiety.
Your self-esteem is your personal subjective evaluation of your own worth. Everybody has an idea of their self and self-esteem is your rating (positive or negative) of this self. This rating is a combination of the beliefs you hold about yourself and your emotional states. It will be important to identify early in the coaching journey if your self-esteem may be an issue as then the coaching approach should vary according to your level of self-esteem. It may well be that in cases of extremely low self-esteem, coaching may not be the answer and a coach may well decide to refer a client for counselling or psychotherapy instead for instance.
Are you in a process of changing something in your life? Where are you on the four aspects discussed here? Do you see how they influence how you fare in this change?