You’ve prepared well. You know about the levels of communication and the art of asking powerful questions. You have patiently walked them through the coaching model and they have maybe even identified the next step. But will they actually do it? Time and again we have experienced people we minister to not taking the very action that THEY identified they should take. There is something we have no control over. They need to be ready to change. Sometimes I find out how ready they are by a simple question. After they share their action step, I ask “On a scale of 1-10 how sure are you that you will take this step?” Their answer can be telling, and no matter what it is you can ask to follow up questions to unpack possible hindrances or uncertainty about moving forward.
Readiness to change is complicated. First, there is a personality component, because some people are more open to change and some even need it to function. Others are resistant to change by the very nature of how they are wired. This can be found in the 5-factor personality model like OCEAN or as Prepare/Enrich calls it, SCOPE.
In addition, there are stages of readiness to change originally made popular by Prochaska. I love this design showing the stages people walkthrough. Look at this image and identify where one of your clients is not heir path toward readiness.
As you continue to understand the stages, I recommend this thorough blog from pro-change. How do you move people forward in the stages? Slowly, patiently, by asking questions. Challenge them and help them visualize a picture of what will be on the other side. Break it down into manageable chunks. Wait. Draw boundaries. Help them understand the stages and identify where they are. What NOT to do? Don’t do it for them, don’t own the action step, don’t push too hard, don’t guilt and shame. If you pray, pray for them! And if you have to cut them off until they are ready to actually move forward, sometimes that is appropriate too.
We believe in you as you walk alongside people who are not ready to change. Continue to navigate your way, and recognize there are big things you have no control over.