Wouldn’t it be great if we could just snap our fingers and all that we don’t like about other people would suddenly change? But while you are snapping your fingers at them, other people are snapping theirs trying to change you!
There’s good news though—if you understand what motivates people to change, you can have a positive influence on other people and be a catalyst for change.
Maybe you have tried to get others to change by being demanding and authoritarian, hoping people will change by brute force. This approach – the way of the Persecutor in the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™ – may achieve short term results, but long term sustainable behavior change will most likely not occur.
Another idea is that people will change if they suffer enough. Over the years, Donna was sure her teenage son’s grades were going to improve if he was scared enough about not getting into the college of his choice. That strategy did not work well either (although he’s now doing great as a young adult).
Researchers who study why people stop smoking were sure they would stop smoking if people knew the gruesome health facts. That didn’t work either.
Long term change simply does not occur if suffering is the motivation to change. People do not change because of pain and suffering.
Change occurs when people connect with an intrinsic value—something they deeply care about. When they get in touch with what matters most to them, they will invest in personal change efforts. This is the way of a Creator!
Here’s the challenge: many people are very practiced at knowing what they don’t want. Few people are really clear about what they do want. When you support them in focusing on what they do want, it evokes their deep passion and connects them with their cherished vision.
Here are a few suggestions that support a person who is considering – or is challenged to make – a change in their behavior:
- Help others see that change is a natural phenomenon (just observe nature and how change is always occurring). Learning to be comfortable with change, in general, will assist someone who is resisting personal change.
- Empathetic relationships are more effective in supporting change than judging and disapproval. In TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)™, a conscious and constructive Challenger acknowledges that change is uncomfortable.
- People who have a support system that believes in them and inspires them to change are more likely to succeed. You can lend that support as a Co-Creator, a Coach or a Challenger.
- What people think about the change process is important. This is a strong predictor of successful change. Therefore it is important to monitor your own thoughts and words and genuinely believe the change effort of the other will be successful.
- Ask yourself, “What’s in it for them?” Reflect upon what is motivating them and what they will gain from the change effort. This must be based upon what they really care about, not what you have told them they should care about.
Humiliation, shame, guilt and suffering are not the prime motivators of sustainable change…..period. To support and encourage change in others, consider what inspires them, what is their cherished vision and what they most hold dear.
When you help evoke that awareness, a desire to grow and change will naturally follow.