I started thinking about clients that have a particular problem with change.  They are in a work situation which is OK. They are making a living but not happy with what they are doing.  Or they are just scraping by and living at a lower standard than is comfortable.  So, we start with identifying the change that needs to happen to get to the next step in resolving their situations.  This includes the goals(steps) that we both agreed would increase their chances of getting to where they want to be.

There is usually a bit of excitement when the person sees that something positive can be done and may start to plan how to make the changes that will produce results.  Then the period of slowdown comes.  The client loses momentum and slips back into the “safe but uncomfortable” place they were before we started.  Action Tasks don’t happen.  Appointments with me are missed.  In essence, the person is sabotaging their growth.

spiral staircase with red carpet for a dizzying ascentAll for a very good reason.  They have something to go back to which is less uncomfortable than what they are pursuing. Human beings will frequently accept a lot of discomfort because it is a known discomfort.  Unknown discomfort is scary.  I see this frequently in clients who have jobs that are low paying, not satisfying or downright abusive. But,they are making their bills.  They feel like they are on a hamster wheel but can’t seem to get off.  We do good solid planning which has a high degree of success attached, but they can’t follow through.  The dissatisfaction is enough to consult a coach with the intention to change but they turn their back on that resource.  So what is holding them back?

My job is to encourage clients to keep moving on the path that they have agreed will help them meet their goals.  This is a collaboration.  But coaches need to have the trust of the client that this will be hard but have great results.  Coaches are like guides in the forest.  We try to keep the client out of the line of landmines while pushing constantly forward.  The reasons behind the resistance can be many and individualized for each client. We can try to uncover the reason but sometimes just encouragement to keep on the planned path is the most worthwhile effort.  Seeing results (which unfortunately might be some time in coming) is the best incentive to keep up the work.

Sometimes success is scary.  If I make more money than my friends will they be jealous?  Do I have to force myself to get a new job in which the outcome is unknown?  Will I be supported in what changes I need to make?  Will I just fail?  All of these are very good questions but hold lawyers back from being their highest selves.

Does any of this ring a bill with you?  Let me know what you think.  Are you stuck right now?  You have a big crowd of similarly stuck people you can surround yourself with or you can start to rub shoulders with those lawyers who have moved forward.  Your choice!