This post was written by Natasha Dalmia, a Newfield graduate of the Coaching for Personal & Professional Mastery program.
Take this moment to notice what are the first few words that come to you when you fill in the blank in the sentence below:
‘Change is ___________.’
How you completed the sentence stem above may reflect some of your beliefs about change.
Do you fill in the blank differently if the kind of change is in a specific realm: personal, professional, and organizational change?
When was the last time you paused to observe your thoughts about change? Where did your thoughts come from?
I work with many leaders who are promoted to a new role for the first time in their career, where their views have to expand from beyond themselves to leading a team. I often hear resistance, rather than anticipation.
Soon enough, patterns emerge. More often than not, I hear people speak about change as a painful phenomenon. Many leaders experience discomfort in accepting new roles that change their relationships with their former peers and current direct reports. They name this change ‘isolation.’
Many struggle to cope with the changes the new responsibilities bring; getting tasks completed by a team. They often name this change ‘reluctant supervision,’ which includes patterns of planning, feedback or lack thereof, and micromanaging.
Digging deeper, the core beliefs about change often reflect a particular mindset. If change is pain, they begin to see their own growth as a problem that needs to be fixed.
What if we view change with anticipation, rather than with resistance?
What if we view change as opportunities for connection and communication?
What if we view change as an experiment?
I learned, along with my clients, that the power of open inquiry can allow for new leaders to rediscover their own strengths as well as others’ strengths in the face of change. Enabling leaders to declare change in their lives instead of waiting for change to happen to them is the first step.
In business as usual, leaders who consistently tested new possibilities and tried new behaviors felt that they could create change. Examples: some leaders started with changing personal habits: exercising, reading, writing, drinking sufficient water or disciplined periodic detachment from their phones! Other leaders started with initiating a meeting with a colleague, listening to others intentionally, or learning and doing something out of their comfort zone!
Anticipating bold change and declaring change as a discipline allowed leaders to be flexible and curious. They reflected a growing confidence in themselves and in their relationships with others.
Next time you think about change, reflect on the abilities you have developed because you have gone through change.
What might the quality of life be if you were to view change as an opportunity for empowerment, for growth, and for learning?