Untangle and grow

A blog by Alison Maxwell

Monday, 9 June 2014

The gap between deciding and doing

Too often I find with coaching clients that the hard part is not deciding what to do (although this can be hard enough), the really hard part is taking that decision and translating it into a change. Just think of the number of New Year's Resolutions that are dust within a matter of days* and you'll know what I'm talking about!

It's easy to get into self-damming when we see yet another resolution falter - "I'm not determined enough" or "I have no will power or "We are rubbish at change management around here". However Robert Kegan (Harvard professor of Adult Learning and Education) prefers to talk about our in-built  resistance to change. Kegan reckons that we all have a change 'immune system' that helps us to repel change... even change we deeply and sincerely want for ourselves

Kegan's work has explored the idea of competing commitments. These are the (often unconscious) beliefs and assumptions that work against changes we might want to make. Kegan believes that unless we can surface and test these competing commitments changes we make in our lives are likely to be superficial or short lived at best. Food for thought for anyone serious about helping individuals and organisations to change.

He's a great speaker so here he is talking about his ideas (starts at 46secs):

* On average our New's Year's Resolutions last just 24 days