Essential Knowledge for Personal Coaches by Dean Amory - HTML preview

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One of them is boring, the other fearless. One of them is aimless,

the other determined. One of them is predictable, the other

exciting. The lesson is that, one day, the 46 years will be

consumed all the same. At the end, results will be trivial or

spectacular, meaningless or irreplaceable.

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If you don't like the outcome of your calculations, take a blank

piece of paper, draw a new vertical line, and start the exercise

again. After a few times, you will get quite good at it. At one

point, you will begin to fear boring activities more than risky

ones. If you are already there, congratulations, now you know

how to win the game.

The Art of Obstacle Removal

One of the best ways to go faster is to remove the things that

slow you down. This "obstacle removal" is an integral part of

many agile methods including Scrum and Lean. Sometimes it is

obvious where an obstacle is. There are a few small things that

can be done easily to go faster. But to get going really fast, we

need to have a deeper understanding of obstacles... and the Art of

Obstacle Removal.

What are Obstacles?

An obstacle is any behavior, physical arrangement, procedure or

checkpoint that makes getting work done slower without adding

any actual contribution to the work. Activities that do add value

to our work may be slowed down by obstacles, but are not

obstacles in and of themselves.

Obstacles and Waste

Obstacles are the causes of waste in a process. There are many

types of waste, and for every type of waste there are many

possible sources (obstacles).

Types of Obstacles

Personal

Personal obstacles are related to us as individuals. There are

several levels at which these obstacles can show up.

Outside factors in our lives such as illness or family obligations

can become obstacles to our work at hand. These obstacles are

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hard to remove or avoid. Even if we would want to avoid an

obstacle such as illness, it is hard to do anything about it in an

immediate sense. However, as part of our commitment to the

group we are working with, we should consider doing things to

generally improve our health. Good sleep, healthy and moderate

eating, exercise and avoidance of illness-causing things and

circumstances are all possible commitments we can make to the

group. Likewise, we can make sure our personal affairs are in

order so that unexpected events have the least impact possible.

This topic is vast and there are many good sources of

information.

Physical Environment

Obstacles in the physical environment can consist of barriers to

movement or communication, or a lack of adequate physical

resources. Sometimes these obstacles are easy to see because

their effects are immediate. For example, if a team room lacks a

whiteboard for diagrams, keeping notes, etc., then the team may

not be able to communicate as effectively.

Other physical obstacles are not so obvious. The effects of

physical environment can be subtle and not well-understood.

Poor ergonomics take weeks, months or years for their effects to

be felt... but it is inevitable. A too-small team room can lead to a

feeling of being cooped up and desperation to get out... and

eventually to resentment. Again this can take weeks or months.

Knowledge

A lack of knowledge or the inability to access information are

obstacles. A team composed of junior people who don't have

diverse experience and who don't have a good knowledge of the

work they are doing will have trouble working effectively. There

may be barriers preventing the team from learning. Common

barriers include over-work leading to a lack of time or mental

energy for learning. With junior people in particular, there is a

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lot of pressure to be productive and that can often be at the

expense of a solid foundation of learning.

Other times, knowledge-related barriers can be more immediate.

If a critical piece of information is delayed or lost this can have a

large impact on an Agile team that is working in short cycles. The

team may be temporarily halted while they wait for information.

Building effective information flow is critical to a team's

performance.

Organizational

Bureaucratic

procedures,

organizational

mis-alignment,

conflicting goals, and inefficient organizational structures can all

be significant obstacles.

One of the best sources of information about this is the two

books by Jim Collins: "Good to Great" (Review) and "Built to

Last"

Cultural

Sometimes the beliefs we have about how to work can become

obstacles to working more effectively. These beliefs are often in

place because they have been part of what we think makes us

successful. Cultural assumptions can come from our families, our

communities, our religious affiliation and our national identity.

In organizational culture, one thing I constantly see is a public

espoused value of teamwork, but a conflicting behavior of

individual performance reviews and ranking. This is cultural. It is

also a barrier to the effective functioning of an Agile team. For

corporate environments I highly recommend the Corporate

Culture Survival Guide by Edgar Schein.

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Dis-Unity

Dis-unity is one of the most subtle and common forms of

obstacle. Competition, legal and cultural assumption of the

goodness of "opposition" and habits of interaction including

gossip and backbiting all combine to make united action and

thought very difficult.

This is an extremely deep topic. There are many tools and

techniques available to assist with team building. If you are

interested in this topic, I highly recommend reading "The

Prosperity of Humankind".

Eliminate Waste

Waste is the result of activities or environmental conditions that

prevent a team from reaching its goal. The opposite of waste is

something that adds value (more, faster or higher quality) to the

desired result.

The whole notion of eliminating waste comes from lean

manufacturing. More recently, Mary and Tom Poppendieck

applied this idea to software in their book "Lean Software

Development: An Agile Toolkit for Software Development

Managers". In this (excellent) book, the authors list the wastes of

manufacturing and the wastes of software.

As wastes are eliminated or reduced, a team will function faster

and with higher quality. However, not all waste can be

eliminated. Sometimes waste is legislated, sometimes waste is an

unavoidable by-product of work, sometimes mistakes are made,

and sometimes it takes a great deal of effort to eliminate a waste.

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Here I have summarized and generalized these types of wastes

so that they apply in any situation:

The Seven Wastes

1. waiting - caused by delays, unreadiness, or simple

procrastination

2. partially done work or inventory - caused by sub-optimal

workflow

3. extra processing or processes - caused by poor organization

or bureaucracy

4. defects and rework - caused by insufficient skill, tools,

inspection or filtering

5. movement of people or work - caused by physical separation

6. overproduction or extra features - caused by working

towards speculative goals

7. task switching - caused by multiple commitments

In order to eliminate waste, first waste has to be detected and

identified, then the underlying causes of the waste have to be

identified, and finally changes to the work environment need to

be made to both eliminate the cause of the waste and the waste

itself. Many agile work practices help with this process.

Value stream mapping is one particular tool that can be used by

a team or organization to identify wasteful activities. The team

describes the amount of time that work takes to go through each

activity in their overall work process. Next, the team determines

if each activity adds value or does not add value to the end goal.

All activities are subject to speed improvements, and activities

that do not add value are subject to elimination.

In order to determine the causes of waste, special attention

should be paid to incentives and motivations. Wasteful behavior

often exists because there is some incentive for people to do it.

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Sometimes these incentives are explicit, but sometimes they are

the side-effects of other things going on in the team's

environment. Changing the incentives can be an effective way of

reducing waste.

By eliminating waste, the team will find it has reduced

frustrations, and enabled greater productivity and creativity. The

team will also increase its speed and delivery of value, and at the

same time reduce defects.

Removing Obstacles

The ability to identify obstacles and understand why they are

causing problems is only the first step in removing obstacles. In

Agile Work, the person primarily responsible for identifying and

removing obstacles is the Process Facilitator. The Process

Facilitator has several approaches available for the removal of

obstacles. A process facilitator has similar responsibilities to a

change agent.

Direct

Deal with the obstacle directly without involving other people.

This can be as simple as getting up and moving an obstacle

impairing vision, or as nuanced as running interviews and

workshops throughout an organization to gradually change a

cultural obstacle.

Command and Control

Identify the obstacle and give precise instructions for its removal

to a person who will directly perform the removal. This can

sometimes work if removing an obstacle takes a great deal of

time, effort or specialized skills that you yourself do not possess.

However, the overall approach of "command and control" is not

recommended for Agile environments since it is disempowering.

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Influence

Identify the obstacle and suggest means to deal with it to a

person who has the authority or influence to get others to deal

with it. This indirect method of obstacle removal can be slow and

frustrating. However it usually has better long-term effects than

command and control.

Support

Offer to assist and encourage the removal of obstacles that have

been identified by other people. In many respects this is a very

effective method. It can assist with team-building and learning

by example. People are usually grateful for assistance.

Coaching

Train others on the art of obstacle removal including obstacle

identification, types of obstacles and strategies for dealing with

obstacles. Observe people's attempts to remove obstacles and

give them feedback on their actions.

Creating a Culture of Obstacle Removal

Encourage and measure obstacle removal at all organizational

levels until it becomes habitual. In many ways this is the essence

of the lean organization.

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Strategies for Dealing with Obstacles

Diagrams are a great way of communicating the essense of a

concept. Feel free to share the following diagrams with anyone

(but of course keep the copyright notice on them).

Remove

Remove the obstacle altogether. This method of dealing with an

obstacle is usually the most immediately effective, but is also one

of the most difficult methods.

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The best way to actually remove an obstacle is to get at the root

cause of the obstacle and change that. This type of change results

in the longest-lasting and most stable elimination of an obstacle.

Move Aside

Take the obstacle and put it in a place or situation where it is no

longer in the path of the team.

In a team's physical environment, this may be as simple as

changing the tools that the team is using. For example, if the

team is all in a room together, move computer monitors that are

blocking team member's views of each other. If there is a useless

checkpoint that work results have to go through, get

management to eliminate it.

Shield

Build a shield or barrier to hide the obstacle so that it's effects no

longer touch your team.

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If a team is distracted by noisy neighbors, put up a sound barrier.

If a team is unable to see their computers due to late afternoon

sunlight, put up window shades. If a manager is bothering the

team with meetings or tasks unrelated to the work of the team,

then put yourself between the team and the manager (or get

someone in upper management to do that).

Shielding is excellent for immediate relief, but remember that

the obstacle is still there and may become a problem again if the

shield cannot be maintained.

Transform

Change the structure or form of the obstacle so that it no longer

affects effectiveness.

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In general, this method requires a great deal of creativity and

open-mindedness. This is one that works particularly well on

people who are obstacles: convert them into friends of the team!

For example if the team needs approval of an expert who is not

part of the team, this can cause extra work preparing

documentation for this person and long delays while the expert

revies the documents. If the expert becomes part of the team,

then they are well-informed of the work being done and can give

approval with very little overhead.

If done well, this can be a very long-lasting method of dealing

with an obstacle. Make sure that the transformation is true and

that it takes hold... and beware that the obstacle doesn't revert

back to its old nature.

Counteract

Find an activity that negates the effects of the obstacle by

boosting effectiveness in another area.

As a coach or Process Facilitator, this is what we spend our time

in early in a team's adoption of Agile Work: we get them to work

in the same room, use iterations and adaptive planning, we focus

them on delivering work valued by the stakeholders as defined

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by the Product Owner. All these things are enhancing the team's

ability to get work done without actually directly dealing with

any obstacles.

Watch out for barriers avoided this way to come back and bite

you later on.

Removing Obstacles and Learning

Organizational learning, as well as adult learning have a strong

relationship to obstacle removal. Organizational learning can be

either single-loop or double-loop learning. Adult learning can be

either normal or transformative. We can approach obstacle

removal from a surface level where we only deal with the

immediate symptom, or we can work at a deeper level where we

deal with the symptom and its chain of preceding causes. One

effective method for examining the deeper causes is the 5-why's

exercise

Obstacles Inherent in Agile

Agile methods do not perfectly eliminate all obstacles. Some

obstacles that are inherent in agile methods include overhead

due to planning meetings at the start of iterations, the use of a

dedicated process facilitator. As well, the use of iterations can

become a barrier to certain types of work items: repeating items,

investment in infrastructure, one-off tasks that are not directly

related to the work at hand.

At some point, our teams will have matured to the point where

agile methods are no longer necessary and we can pick and

choose what parts of agile we use.

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4.2.2 DEALING WITH RESISTANCE

There's old wisdom that advises that we can only lean against

that which resists.

This suggests that there might just be something good, or at least

useful, about resistance. Discovering what this is and learning to

work with it is key to understanding reluctance to change.

After all, change often occurs as a direct result of resistance.

Great men, such as Nelson Mandela, are testimony to this.

Resistance can be viewed as alternative, negative, or wrong. But

we need to balance this with a healthy view of resistance which

points to positive processes rather than placid acceptance.

Benjamin Franklin valued this, telling us that questioning

authority is the "first responsibility of every citizen".

It helps to understand that resistance is a normal response and

that trying to avoid any resistance is futile. Accepting this

immediately allows a different response to resistance in which

we anticipate it and work with it.

Why people resist change:

 Don’t see a need to change

 Needs are being met

 Invested in what they have now

 Don’t know how to change

 Poor communication regarding change

 Change comes from an external source and they haven’t

embraced it

 Fears: losing control, failure

 Don’t know why they should do it

 No negative consequences

 New situation worse than existing one

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There are in fact many

reasons people resist

change, most of these

reasons however have a

common source. Fear.

Most of us hold a deep

fear of change and our

ability to adapt. Many of

the reasons for people's

reluctance or refusal to

change are related to the

fear of change.

These fears can also be

related to loss associated

with the change. All

change involves loss at

some level and this can be

difficult to contemplate.

Loss associated with change can be very practical such as loss of

work, colleagues, or office environment. Or it can be less obvious,

relating to concerns about loss of status, self esteem, or ability to

perform new work.

Fear of change can leave us feeling lost, confused, and torn

between the need to take action and doing nothing.

How to recognise resistance

There are a number of behaviours that are signs and symptoms

of an adverse reaction to change. These include:

 Aggression and anger

 Unusual flare-ups of emotion

 overt resistance

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 Coachees portraying themselves as innocent victims of

unreasonable expectations

 Insensitive and disagreeable behaviour

 Not meeting key performance areas (missing meetings , failing

assignments, not responding to emails, for example)

 Late arrival

 Not responding, not listening, seems disinterested

 Active attempts to disrupt or undermine the project

Of course, each of these do not necessarily mean that people are

opposing change. They might be indicators, but could just as

easily be indicators of other issues in the person's life.

Real resistance usually occurs after people's uncertainties and

questions regarding change have not been adequately answered.

How to deal with it

The best laid plans and systems fail if the people side of change

management is ignored.

Resistance to change is a normal response, so plan for it, expect

it and accept it. Resistance does not mean that the change is bad,

or that the management of change has failed. Nor does it mean

that those resisting change are 'bad seeds' that need to be

weeded out!

Rather anticipate resistance and direct your energy to facilitating

what Kurt Lewin would refer to as the Unfreezing and

Change/Transition stages.

Kurt Lewin's Force Field Analysis is a powerful strategic tool to

help you analyse aspects of the change that may lead to

resistance.

Assessing resistance to change is an important part of a change

impact assessment that should be conducted very early in the

process.

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Even if you're introducing small changes don't assume that that

these will be easier for people to accept - especially if they

already feel threatened or have low trust in the process.

If you're aware of any indicators of resistance to change then

you'll need to take some time out to listen to people's concerns.

Yup, listen. Don't talk, just listen (or get someone else they trust

to listen).

The clue to overcoming resistance is understanding that you

cannot avoid resistance, but you can manage it.

Remember that people experience change in personal ways.

Addressing people's values when you encounter resistance to

change can reduce any negative impact of resistance.

Changing your attitude towards resistance is what's needed to

ensure successful change. Anticipating resistance to change is

part of a successful change management strategy and will help to

keep people motivated and positive about change.

Here are some great tips:

1. Let your client speak his peace and/or vent if necessary. Give

him space to express himself. If you react emotionally and try to

stop him, argue, or immediately explain why he is off base, you

will just fuel the fire. Sometimes letting off steam is the first step

to opening to a healing path and moving in a more positive

direction.

2. Reflect back to the client what you heard her say, so she knows

that she has been listened to. “Wow, you are really angry at your

boss, and you don’t see any other option but to retaliate.” Or

“Your daughter won’t move out and support herself, and you are

completely frustrated.” Or “I’m hearing that you are disappointed

that you haven’t made more progress in coaching thus far.”

When your client feels heard and acknowledged, he may lighten

up and be willing to see and explore more healthy options.

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3. Reflect back to the client behaviors that might be a sign of

resistance, of which the client may be unaware. “You’ve been

[late to your sessions] [cancelled] three times now. Is there

anything going on that you are having a hard time with that may

be uncomfortable to look at?” Or “You’ve had the same situation

going on with your last three jobs. Do you see any connection

between what’s going on out there and what’s happening inside

of you?”

4. Dealing with “Yes, but. . . ”s: “I’ve made three suggestions for

reframes on your situation that could help you feel freer and

move beyond what is troubling you, and you’ve answered “Yes,

but. . . “ to each of them. Are you really ready or willing to get

beyond this?”

5. Illuminate cost and payoff. “What do you think is the payoff for

you continuing to feud with your ex-? What is the cost? What

would be the payoff of harmonizing? What would be the cost?”

6. Direct approach: “I have been working with you on this for

_______ length of time now, and it sounds to me like you have a

pretty strong investment, for whatever reason, in this situation

continuing. Is there any way you can see yourself shifting on

this? I hope you will. If not, let’s not talk about this anymore, and

let’s turn our attention to issues you’d rather make progress on.”

You may even tell the client that you do not see anything more

you can do for her at this point, and if she wants to continue

coaching, you will need to see some movement.

7. Tune into your intuition. The above suggestions may all work

in different situations, yet every coaching situation is unique. If

you sincerely ask inside yourself, you will receive guidance as to

how to deal with a particular form or moment of resistance.

Sometimes you may need to be gentle and soft, and other

situations may require a firmer stand or compassionate

confrontation. Set your intention that your sessions will be

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resistance free, and if any instances of resistance come up, you

will know how to deal with them and move on.

8. Check in with yourself as to what beliefs, feelings, attitudes, or

expectations within yourself that your client may be reflecting.

Are you worried about having a resistant client? Do you question

your ability as a coach? Do you have judgments about something

that the client is reflecting? Why have you attracted this person

or this moment with this person into your experience? The

clearer you get about your intentions, your purpose, and your

confidence, the clearer your clients will get about the situations

and energies they bring to your practice.

9. Sometimes resistant clients can become your biggest success

stories. At the first retreat I presented, a woman bucked me and

the program at every turn. On the last day of the program

something clicked for her and she came to me with a big smile

and proclaimed “I finally got it!” Her healing and transformation

were as powerful as her resistance had been. She ultimately

came to many more programs and was a “star student.”

Excuses the coach will hear for tasks not being accomplished

Trying: “I implemented a numeracy strategy and it didn’t work,

but I did what the consultant said to do.”

Blame: “Manny said he’d have the data reports ready last Friday

but he didn’t get them to me until yesterday.”

Doubt: “Group projects never work in math classes. Students

need to be held individually accountable.”

Reacting: “You expect me to find time to add something else?”

Delay: “It’s a good idea, and I’ll get to it as soon as I finish the

work on next month’s science fair.”

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INQUIRY –A Best Practice

Ask Questions that Promote Discovery for the Other Person

Ask Questions that Focus on the Person Being Coached

Powerful Questions

Invite clarity, action, and discovery at a new level

Create greater possibility for expanded learning and fresh

perspective

Powerful Requests

Powerful requests are ways to cause change; to stir thought

forward and cause action.

“I request that you . . .”

“I have a bold request for you.”

The Power of Story Listening

Stories make sense of experience in ways that integrate emotion

and meaning –facilitating movement, direction, and purpose.

Stories evoke power.

FEED FORWARD instead of feedback.

Is there a problem with feedback?

Feedback focuses on a past, what has already occurred –not on

opportunities in the future. Not fun.

Feedforwardlooks at future actions, is fun as well as not

negative.

Some Powerful Coaching Questions

(adapted from Co-Active Coaching by Whitworth, Kimsey-House

& Sandahl)

What do you think will happen?

What’s you back-up plan?

How does it look to you?

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How do you feel about it?

What do you mean?

Can you say more?

What do you want?

How will you know that you have reached it?

What will it look like?

How does this fit with your plans/values?

What do you think that means?

May we explore that some more?

What are your other options?

Would you like to brainstorm this idea?

Will you give an example?

What would it look like?

Will you tell me more about it?

Is there more?

How can you make it be fun?

If you could do it over again, what would you do differently?

If it were you, what would you have done?

What have you tried so far?

How is this working?

What is the action plan?

What support do you need to accomplish …?

What will you take away from this?

What are the possibilities?

What’s moving you forward?

What’s stopping you?

What resources do you need to help you decide?

What action will you take? And after that?

Where do you go from here? When will you do that?

What are your next steps? By when?

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Powerful Coaching Inquiries

(adapted from Co-Active Coaching by Whitworth, Kimsey-House

& Sandahl)

An inquiry is a type of powerful question that is not meant to be

answered immediately, but instead, offers the “coachee” an

opportunity for reflection, discovery and learning.

What do I want?

What am I tolerating?

Where am I not being realistic/practical?

What is the difference between a wish and a goal?

Where is my attention?

If my whole attention is focused on producing the result,

what will I have to give up?

What is working for me?

What will it take to keep me on track?

What am I willing/unwilling to change?

What am I settling for?

What is it to be creative/passionate/focused/a leader?

What is it to speak/act from my heart?

What does it mean to be proactive/centered/optimistic?

What is present when I am at my best?

What motivates me?

What am I resisting?

If I were at my best, what would I do right now?

What are my assumptions?

Where do I limit myself?

Where do I hold back?

What are my expectations?

How can I have this be easy?

Who can I get to play with me on this project?

What have I learned about myself?

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Kurt Lewin - Change Management Model

Kurt Lewin emigrated from Germany to America during the

1930's. Lewin is recognised as the "founder of social psychology"

which immediately points to his interest in the human aspect of

change.

His interest in groups led to research focusing on factors

that influence people to change, and three stages needed to

make change successful.

Unfreeze, Change, Freeze

Kurt Lewin proposed a three stage theory of change commonly

referred to as Unfreeze, Change, Freeze (or Refreeze). It is

possible to take these stages to quite complicated levels but I

don't believe this is necessary to be able to work with the theory.

But be aware that the theory has been criticised for being too

simplistic.

A lot has changed since the theory was originally presented in

1947, but the Kurt Lewin model is still extremely relevant. Many

other more modern change models are actually based on the

Kurt Lewin model. I'm going to head down a middle road and

give you just enough information to make you dangerous...and

perhaps a little more to whet your appetite!

Let's look at each of the three stages:

Stage 1: Unfreezing

The Unfreezing stage is probably one of the more important

stages to understand in the world of change we live in today.

This stage is about getting ready to change. It involves getting to

a point of understanding that change is necessary, and getting

ready to move away from our current comfort zone.

This first stage is about preparing ourselves, or others, before

the change (and ideally creating a situation in which we want the

change).

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The more we feel that change is necessary, the more urgent it is,

the more motivated we are to make the change. Right? Yes, of

course! If you understand procrastination (like I do!) then you'd

recognise that the closer the deadline, the more likely you are to

snap into action and actually get the job started!

With the deadline comes some sort of reward or punishment

linked to the job. If there's no deadline, then the urge to change is

lower than the need to change. There's much lower motivation to

make a change and get on with it.

Unfreezing and getting motivated for the change is all about

weighing up the 'pro's' and 'con's' and deciding if the 'pro's'

outnumber the 'con's' before you take any action. This is the

basis of what Kurt Lewin called the Force Field Analysis.

Force Field Analysis is a fancy way of saying that there are lots of

different factors (forces) for and against making change that we

need to be aware of (analysis). If the factors for change outweigh

the factors against change we'll make the change. If not, then

there's low motivation to change - and if we feel pushed to

change we're likely to get grumpy and dig in our heels.

This first 'Unfreezing' stage involves moving ourselves, or a

department, or an entire business towards motivation for

change. The Kurt Lewin Force Field Analysis is a useful way to

understand this process and there are plenty of ideas of how this

can be done.

Stage 2: Change - or Transition

Kurt Lewin was aware that change is not an event, but rather a

process. He called that process a transition. Transition is the

inner movement or journey we make in reaction to a change.

This second stage occurs as we make the changes that are

needed.

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People are 'unfrozen' and moving towards a new way of being.

That said this stage is often the hardest as people are unsure or

even fearful. Imagine bungey jumping or parachuting. You may

have convinced yourself that there is a great benefit for you to

make the jump, but now you find yourself on the edge looking

down. Scary stuff! But when you do it you may learn a lot about

yourself.

This is not an easy time as people are learning about the changes

and need to be given time to understand and work with them.

Support is really important here and can be in the form of

training, coaching, and expecting mistakes as part of the process.

Using role models and allowing people to develop their own

solutions also help to make the changes. It's also really useful to

keep communicating a clear picture of the desired change and

the benefits to people so they don't lose sight of where they are

heading.

Stage 3: Freezing (or Refreezing)

Kurt Lewin refers to this stage as freezing although a lot of

people refer to it as 'refreezing'. As the name suggests this stage

is about establishing stability once the changes have been made.

The changes are accepted and become the new norm. People

form new relationships and become comfortable with their

routines. This can take time.

It's often at this point that people laugh and tell me that

practically there is never time for this 'freezing' stage. And it's

just this that's drawn criticism to the Kurt Lewin model.

In todays world of change the next new change could happen in

weeks or less. There is just no time to settle into comfortable

routines. This rigidity of freezing does not fit with modern

thinking about change being a continuous, sometimes chaotic

process in which great flexibility is demanded.

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So popular thought has moved away from the concept of

freezing. Instead, we should think about this final stage as being

more flexible, something like a milkshake or soft serv icecream,

in the current favourite flavour, rather than a rigid frozen block.

This way 'Unfreezing' for the next change might be easier.

Given today's pace of change this is a reasonable criticism. But it

might help to get in touch with what Kurt Lewin was actually

saying. In 1947 he wrote:

A change towards a higher level of group performance is

frequently short-lived, after a "shot in the arm", group life soon

returns to the previous level. This indicates that it does not

suffice to define the objective of planned change in group

performance as the reaching of a different level. Permanency of

the new level, or permanency for a desired period, should be

included in the objective. (Kurt Lewin, "Frontiers of Group

Dynamics", Human Relations, Volume 1, pp. 5-41)

Lewin's concern is about reinforcing the change and ensuring

that the desired change is accepted and maintained into the

future. Without this people tend to go back to doing what they

are used to doing. This is probably what Kurt Lewin meant by

freezing - supporting the desired change to make sure it

continues and is not lost.

More modern models of change, such as the ADKAR model, are