How Not to Change – 11 Strategies for Staying Stuck

Photo courtesy of @NiniBaseema http://theformofbeauty.tumblr.com/

More often than not, Solution-Focused Brief Coaching boils down to helping clients getting unstuck.

Bill O’Hanlon‘s latest book, Change 101 – A Practical Guide to Creating Change in Life or Therapy offers a very useful overview of change strategies for life, therapy and coaching.

As a change facilitator, I do have my ideas about which change strategies work best.

Having said that, I did find amusing Bill O’Hanlon’s list of 11 strategies for staying stuck, which you can find at the end of his book.

Whenever we feel change is hard, it is very often because we are “trapped” in one or more of these useless behaviors:

  1. DON’T LISTEN TO ANYBODY
  2. LISTEN TO EVERYBODY
  3. ENDLESSLY ANALYZE AND DON’T MAKE ANY CHANGES
  4. BLAME OTHERS FOR YOUR ACTIONS OR PROBLEMS
  5. BLAME YOURSELF OR PUT YOURSELF DOWN REGULARLY
  6. KEEP DOING THE SAME THING THAT DOESN’T WORK
  7. KEEP FOCUSING ON THE SAME THINGS WHEN THAT FOCUS DOESN’T HELP
  8. KEPP THINKING THE SAME THOUGHTS WHEN THOSE THOUGHTS DO NOT HELP
  9. KEEP PUTTING YOURSELF IN THE SAME UNHELPFUL ENVIRONMENT
  10. KEEP RELATING TO THE SAME UNHELPFUL PEOPLE
  11. PUT MORE IMPORTANCE ON BEING RIGHT THAT ON CHANGING

Got change? :-)

Update: On the “getting unstuck” side of the equation, Bill O’Hanlon also sends out each week a free email with tips about how to create positive change. Just send a blank email to: PossiBill0228-192380@autocontactor.com

Switch: don’t solve problems, copy success!

switch

Dan & Chip Heath wrote a book that I love: “Made to Stick”.

It is a pleasure to read. It is very informative. It is science-based.
Moreover, it is congruent: the way the book is written and organized reflects what the authors preach.
That, my friends, is a very rare thing.
The insights contained in the book are one of the cornerstones of my Persuasive Communication workshop.

Now there is even more exciting news: Dan & Chip Heath discovered Solution-Focus!!
They wrote a new book about Solution-Focused practices and Positive Deviance – the book is called Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard and goes on sale on February 16.

Fastcompany.com published some excerpts.

Here is one, introducing Solution-Focus Therapy:

Consider the story of school counselor John Murphy and one of his students in Covington, Kentucky. Bobby was a ninth grader who was constantly late for class, rarely did his work, was disruptive, and sometimes made loud threats to other kids in the hallways. Bobby’s home life was just as chaotic; he’d been shuffled in and out of foster homes and special facilities for kids with behavioral problems.

In a traditional counseling session, the therapist digs around for explanations — why are the patients acting the way they are? But Murphy was no traditional therapist. He practiced something called Solutions-Focused Brief Therapy. During his sessions with Bobby, he ignored the child’s problems and focused instead on how to remedy them. Here’s a brief exchange from one of their sessions. Notice how Murphy starts by trying to find a bright spot.

Murphy: Tell me about the times at school when you don’t get in trouble as much.
Bobby: I never get in trouble, well, not a lot, in Ms. Smith’s class.
Murphy: What’s different about Ms. Smith’s class?
Bobby: I don’t know, she’s nicer. We get along great.
Murphy: What exactly does she do that’s nicer?

Murphy wasn’t content with Bobby’s vague conclusion that Ms. Smith is “nicer.” He kept probing until Bobby identified that Ms. Smith always greeted him as soon as he walked into class. (Other teachers, understandably, avoided him.) She gave him easier work, which she knew he could complete. (Bobby is also learning disabled.) And whenever the class started working on an assignment, she’d check with Bobby to make sure he understood the instructions.

Ms. Smith’s class was a bright spot, and as we’ve seen, anytime you have a bright spot, your mission is to clone it. Using Ms. Smith’s class as a model, Murphy gave Bobby’s other teachers very practical tips about how to deal with him: Greet Bobby at the door. Make sure he’s assigned work he can do. Check to make sure he understands the instructions.

Over the next three months, Bobby’s rate of being sent to the principal’s office for a major infraction decreased by 80%. He also made striking progress on day-to-day behavior. Before solutions-focused therapy, his teachers typically rated his performance as acceptable in only one or two out of six class periods per day. After solutions-focused therapy, he was rated as acceptable in four or five of the six periods. Bobby is still not a model student. But he’s a lot better.

Read more excerpts here!!

I can’t wait to get the book!

h/t: Paul Jackson

Science / Psychology Books: my top 5 for 2009

Inspired by a tweet from Coert Visser, which mentioned “great books published in 2009″, here is my top 5 list of books that I read in 2009 and that I most enjoyed.

  1. Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine and the Search for a Cure by Paul A. Offit MD
    Very well researched, a treat for lovers of science, engrossing like a thriller – essential resource for debunking the anti-vaccine movement

  2. Positivity: Groundbreaking Research Reveals How to Embrace the Hidden Strength of Positive Emotions, Overcome Negativity and Thrive by Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D.
    Good introduction to the concept of the Positivity Ratio and some useful guidelines for a well-balanced life from one of the pioneers of the field of positive psychology.

  3. Mindset: the New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck, Ph.D.
    Classic. A simple yet powerful idea. My thoughts on it in a previous post.

  4. 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widesprad Misconceptions about Human Behavior by Scott A. Lillienfeld, Steven Jay Lynn, John Ruscio, Barry L. Beyerstein
    Yes, I am for evidence-based practices. This book was sheer pleasure and a breath of fresh air: in 50 easy-to-read short chapters, the authors use science to debunk popular myths about how we behave – myths like “most people use only 10% of their brain power” or “playing Mozart music to infants boosts their intelligence”. All in one volume.

  5. What Intelligence Tests Miss: The Psychology of Rational Thought by Keith E. Stanovich, Ph.D.
    I am still reading this one, and so far it is great: finally a framework to make sense of recent research regarding IQ & genetics, the Adaptive Unconscious and biases in human rationality.
In a stand-alone category, here is a little gem of a book for SF coaching practitioners:
  1. Coaching Plain & Simple: Solution-focused Brief Coaching Essentials by Kirsten Dierolf, Daniel Meier, Peter Szabo
    In the spirit of “less is more”, this book embodies the idea that “perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”
    -truly the essence of SF coaching
Not making the top 5, but still great books to read:
In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing by Matthew E. May
- How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer; my take on it in a previous post.
Again, Happy New Year!

Summer Readings

Summer for me is always a time to regroup.

To think.

To read and keep up to date.

To plan.

… and to transform all of this newly acquired knowledge in useful behavioral strategies for my clients!!

Since June 18th, here are the books I read: