Supporting change in a client can be difficult. Many goals—from pursuing a dream to self-discipline to overcoming sinful behaviors—involve giving up a short-term pleasure for long-term fulfillment. The “Three R’s” are three simple tools a coach can use to support the change:
Supporting change starts by replacing an unhealthy pleasure with a healthy one. If the client is fasting from TV, what can he do to replace that activity with a different one that is also fun? An example is that he could go out for the evening with some good friends. Getting out of the house and filling the time with good company is much more likely to keep him on track than sitting at home alone, with no planned activities, and no company, willing himself not to watch TV.
Supporting change is aided by finding a way to remove the temptation from his life, or at least from his sight. Help him out by unplugging the TV and carrying it out to the garage or some other part of the house where it is not easily accessible. That way, for him to watch the TV he would have to go out of his way to fail at his goal.
Supporting change is reinforced by rewards. Suggest that the client establish a reward for succeeding at his goal. “If I make it through the week without turning on the TV, I’ll treat myself to dinner at Angelo’s.” Make sure the reward is something that the client really enjoys participating in, and that the client will be motivated to change his behavior to obtain. Even better is to have an accountability partner participate in this process: “If you get through the week without the tube, I’ll treat you to dinner at your favorite restaurant.”
Supporting your client’s desire to change by replacing unhealthy pleasures with healthy ones, removing temptation and rewarding them for their success will go a long way in helping them attain their desired goal.
Tony Stoltzfus is a master coach, author and coach trainer and director of the Leadership Metaformation Institute. More of his writings on the disciplines, skills and heart of a Christian coach can be found in his book, Leadership Coaching.