Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Intentional Change, Authentic Coaching

Helping People Change: Coaching with Compassion for Lifelong Learning and GrowthHelping People Change: Coaching with Compassion for Lifelong Learning and Growth by Richard Boyatzis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you want to be a more inspiring person or a better leader, if you want to attract—and keep—the millennial generation in your workplace, this science-backed book is the replacement for the ultimately ineffective One Minute Manager of the last century. But organizations, therapists, coaches, pastors, and helpers who counsel others will also find a valuable resource in these 200 pages. It also works as a self help book. In fact the authors point out that in order to help someone else to enable lasting change, you need to do the same self care and homework that you encourage your clients, family, or staff to do.
The research (including functional MRI brain scans) shows that in order to make behavioral change lasting, you have to accentuate the positive over the negative; people shut down when they feel blame and judgement from the rational mind, and it’s the emotions that rule behavior. Instead of triggering the stress hormones that come from the rational mind and the sympathetic nervous system, you need to engage the parasympathetic nervous system—the creative mind—and engage the hormones of creativity more often. It's not a balance of equals: the carrots must outnumber the sticks, the praise must come more often than the threats, or change won't last.
It’s still a version of threats and rewards, fear and love, carrots and sticks, but now we know they work better if they’re inner driven, not imposed. You can’t motivate from the top down, or force people to change from the outside in, as sages have been saying for millennia—and now there’s research to prove it.
For a university press book, there’s surprisingly little jargon, though the aforementioned carrots and sticks are called Positive Emotional Attractors and Negative Emotional Attractors. (Obligatory acronyms of PEA and NEA.) There are helpful sidebars and anecdotal stories, with plenty of science cites in the notes. Anyone willing to do the work of reading and inner investigation will come away knowing how to engage with people on a core level in order to truly help—though you’ll have to do the action steps in order to be effective. Highly recommended.

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