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Coaching recognizes people cannot be changed, but they can be redirected

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It has long been debated whether or not people can truly be changed. The reality is very clear – people cannot be changed. Therefore professional coaches know that in lieu of trying to change somebody they must take the individual and redirect their attention. Surprisingly this redirection gets rapid results.

Consider someone that smokes. When I first learn they have lung cancer they will give up smoking cold turkey. Sometimes a smoke-free period of their life will last forever but in other cases it only last a few days or weeks.


Because the patient did not change. It took him a lifetime to get the way they are hour-long coaching session will not change who they are – no matter how many times it is repeated.

Ask yourself what would’ve happened if instead of telling the patient they had lung cancer they were going to die the doctor had said “let’s see what we can do that you can see her grandchildren grow up”?

The redirection from their own health issues to the desire virtually every grandparent has been a part of their grandchildren’s lives would have caused change.

The person did not change with the second approach, they were redirected to a more powerful goal. The smoker will look at the grandchildren and be reminded how badly they want to see them grow up as opposed to thinking about being deprived of the cigarette for health reasons.

Coaches, if they are good, recognize the need to effectively redirect one’s attention and thought processes to a goal that will change the outcome even though the person has not changed.

© Max Impact, used with permission.

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