How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Influencers vs. Facilitators: essay on enabling change congruently
Guest articles > Influencers vs. Facilitators: essay on enabling change congruently
by: Sharon Drew Morgen
Many learning tools and programs provide tools for Influencers - coaches, sellers, negotiators, leaders managers, and consultants â to help Others make the changes they seek. NLP codes the Othersâ internal processes to enable practitioners to understand the proposed problem and âget inâ to make the change. Coaching programs teach how to recognize what the client is âreallyâ saying and offer the best techniques to help. Negotiators seek the BATNA. But all tools have one thing in common: they assume that the Outsider can, and should, be the one leading the change.
But I believe weâre focusing on the wrong outcome. I believe that because of everyoneâs unconscious, subjective biases and identity-based beliefs, and our inability to know for certain whatâs going on in anotherâs unconscious, itâs a risk for Outsiders to attempt to effect congruent change in Another; I believe itâs possible to enable people to manage their own change by facilitating them down their own route, using their own time frame and unconscious drivers, and their own identity-based criteria. Instead of Influencers, letâs be Facilitators - neutral navigators who enable Others to discover their own unique brand of excellence. But we need an additional skill set and focus. Let me explain.
OUR SUBJECTIVITY IMPEDES SUCCESS
The problem with outside Influencers is twofold: our subjectivity causes potentially erroneous paths to discovery and outcome (1-4 below); the outside-in approach covertly makes us Consultants/Experts/Leaders who run the risk of stripping our clients of their own capability and self-leadership (5):
I know Iâm stepping on toes here, and many of you are thinking âI understand how to help my clients and how to help them! Iâve been doing this for years!â I canât tell you how many hundreds of conversations Iâve had with leaders and coaches and managers who believe everything Iâm saying â for another person. But we canât know what clients mean when theyâre not even aware of the role of their unconscious drivers that passionately fight to maintain themselves, or with the best will in the world, try valiantly to âdoâ (behave) what we suggest, only to fall back on old patterns after weâre gone.
Behaviors are the action, and formal representation of, our Beliefs: without reorganizing the intricate system of beliefs, criteria, history and rules that have created the problem, any behavioral change runs the risk of being temporary. Having a dialogue or session based on content or need or problem solving â all behavioral - cannot effect change without constant pushing against the status quo.
But Behaviors will automatically change once the Beliefs change: When I shifted my Identity to become a Healthy Person, going to the gym (I hate it) became the Behavior that was one of the actions of my Belief; when I want to sleep in I ask myself, âAre you a Healthy Person today?â and if the answer is âNoâ I happily sleep in. Thankfully, itâs almost always âYesâ. If I had started out thinking I needed to go to the gym because my coach and I agreed it was healthy, I certainly would have stopped going after a while because there was no systemic buy-in or unconscious driver. Change comes from the unconscious; Behaviors are merely the manifestation of the change, not the focus.
WHATâS OUR JOB
Facilitators can help Others make their own unconscious changes that are permanent, congruent and happily accepted. Let me respond to the original list above:
I know that Influencers take pride in understanding anotherâs needs. But let me suggest that no matter how good you are, youâre not good enough for every situation: your current skill sets only work on those who show up with beliefs, values, ideas, and change-capability similar to yours, and whose unconscious is readily accessible; those whose beliefs differ or cannot get to their unconscious drivers wonât achieve long-term success. This is where/how you lose clients, or your implementations fail.
People canât accept information that doesnât match the way their unconscious system functions. Letâs teach them how to recognize and recalibrate their own system so it can be congruent, adaptive, and seek excellence.
HOW FACILITATION WORKS: CASE STUDY
Facilitators hold different beliefs than Influencers:
Hereâs a simple case study. I recently got a call from a coach friend Joe who works with companies to help their staff be âbetterâ. Joeâs client Susan retained him to help Louis who, with a long history as a terrific employee, couldnât seem to do his newly assigned job although he knew heâd be fired if he didnât comply. She wanted Joe to coach Louis in an attempt to save his job.
After 3 months of working together, Joe had the same non-compliance problems with Louis â heâd promise to do something and then not do it - and before getting him fired he figured weâd talk to see if there was anything he missed. We agreed to do a role play, with him playing Louis. I asked that he take on Louisâs personality using the data heâd gleaned from their coaching, and use his best guesses as to how Louis would respond if I posed different questions than his. Here was our role play.
SDM â Hey Louis. Before we begin, Iâd love to know how you feel about Susan assigning me to coach you without your consent. [Note to Influencers: having clients who are prisoners, who have not agreed to the process, sets up automatic resistance.]
LOUIS â Well, I would have loved to have chosen my own coach, but Iâm aware Susan is unhappy with me, and Iâd like to keep my job, so Iâm happy to comply. I realize everyone wants to help me.
SDM â If you find you donât like working with me let me know and weâll find you someone youâre more comfortable with.
LOUIS â Thank you. I appreciate it.
SDM â So I hear that Susan asked you to take on some new tasks that youâve agreed to but so far havenât yet achieved successfully. [Presumptive Summary] And given your history of being an excellent employee, Iâm sort of surprised. What would you need to know or believe differently to find it easier to do this new job, or discovery clarity where you find yourself resistant? [Facilitative Question that avoids blame, confines the two ends of the possibility spectrum, points him specifically to where to seek the corresponding beliefs and unconscious drivers in his brain, begins to get him into his Witness place to see the situation from above, and avoids judgment.]
LOUIS â Iâd need to know what success would look like. I don't feel any resistance - Iâm happy to do it, but no one has shown me what it would look like if I was achieving success as well as I do in my current job. I was hired originally to do X because I do it well. Now theyâre asking me to do stuff I canât do as well. What if I fail? Iâm not competent in this new job. They say it doesnât matter for a while, but what does that mean? What if I take too long? Plus will the person taking over my current job do it as well as I do it?
SDM â It sounds like youâve made promises to do the new job without understanding what doing them at your preferred level of excellence would look like, or what failure looks like. And I hear how important an excellent job performance is to you â especially your discomfort at leaving your current job to someone who might not do it well. And you certainly donât know the expected time line for you to be excellent. [Presumptive Summary.]
LOUIS â Right. I guess when I promised to do the new job I meant it. But I just realized I have no picture of what âgood jobâ looks like, or the time frame Iâve got to get good. [The problem is his lack of vision of excellence and fear of failure, not willingness.]
SDM â And it sounds to me like this is not a conversation youâve had with Susan or I'm sure she would have happily complied. [Presumptive Summary] What has stopped you from telling Susan youâd need to better understand what âexcellenceâ looks like, her expectations for your learning curve, and how to leave your current job in good hands? Or even to ask for someone who now does the new job excellently to coach you through your daily activities? [Facilitative Questions mixed with summary statement and information he needs.]
LOUIS â If I ask her what a good job looks like and her expectations of my learning curve, tell her Iâm afraid I wonât initially be as good at the new job as I am with my current job, and my need to have my current job handled well, we could set up stages of learning and timelines for me and Iâd be comfortable moving forward and possibly failing.
This dialogue would have occurred as our first coaching session, and might have only needed a quick follow up. Joe was surprised at the outcome, and the differences between our outside-in/inside-out approaches. He certainly was surprised at how much data he had unconsciously gleaned from Louis during his conversations but hadnât known to use.
âI concentrated on helping him âdoâ what Susan wanted him to do, and never considered helping him figure out how to manage the problem his own way. The answers I found myself giving you were a surprise to me, even though I suspect they were pretty accurate.â
In his session, Joe had concentrated on finding out why Louis wasnât compliant and creating time lines of activity â the doing â without helping Louis recognize and manage his own unconscious beliefs and drivers which biased his behaviors. But I didnât need to know why or why not he didnât do what he promised â itâs all subjective, and ultimately a guess. I enabled him to find the place where he made decisions to act/not act â the real problem - and then lead him through to his own action plan that he would obviously be congruent with.
Hereâs the question: do you want to lead the change? Or enable the change to happen congruently? Youâd need to trust that the best outcome would be achieved â most likely different from the one you envisage - and put aside your ego, your need to be The Problem Solver and professional tools for a bit. If you want to truly serve, help Others discover their own path.
Serving Others is an honor. Letâs use our position to enable Others to change in their own ways and be their own Teachers. They do indeed have their own answers if we can help them find where they are stored. We might think we have an answer for them, and sometimes we do. But thatâs not the point. Letâs become Servant Leaders.
Sharon Drew Morgen is the visionary behind Buying FacilitationÂŽ - a change management model that includes learning how to Listen for Systems, formulating Facilitative Questions, and understanding the steps of systemic change. For those of you wishing to learn more, take a look at the program syllabus. Please visit www.dirtylittlesecrets.com and read the two free chapters. Consider reading it with the companion ebook Buying FacilitationÂŽ
Sharon Drew is the author of the NYTimes Business Bestseller Selling With Integrity, as well as 6 other books on helping buyers buy. She is also the author of the Amazon bestseller What? Did you really say what I think I heard? Sharon Drew keynotes, trains and coaches sales teams to help them unlock situations that are stalled, and teaches teams how to present and prospect by facilitating the complete buying decision process. She delivers keynotes at annual sales conferences globally. Sharon Drew can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org 512 771 1117
Contributor: Sharon Drew Morgen
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