Can I Change your Behaviour?

Unless you love the rain, a lot of wind and the cold, the past couple of days were not really pleasant to be outside.

Excellent weather therefore to prepare workshops and trainings for the weeks to come.
Main topic and million dollar question “how can I change somebody’s behaviour?

Even by force and violence, there are no other methods that will guarantee lasting change in behaviour than by somebody wanting to change their behaviour themselves.

However, you may influence their decision to change.

So all is not lost, you “just” need to find out what could help the other person to decide in favour of the behaviour you prefer.

One thing you will know for sure. All change causes resistance.

Even people who seem to be thriving on change, will have this short moment where they will feel resistance to the change.

And that’s logical. Change means letting go of behaviour you showed before, leaving your comfort zone, doing something differently from what you usually do…

If you want to influence somebody’s decision to change, you need to understand what kind of resistances there are and how this works for the person involved.

There are basically three kinds of resistance and you need to address them all:

1) Rational resistance

Rational resistance is the “easy” one. This is resistance caused by not having enough information or data in the topic of change.

Simply said, if you want somebody to start drinking skimmed milk, you need to inform them about the difference between fat milk and skimmed milk. Without this data nobody can judge for themselves if this difference is of enough importance to change their buying behaviour.

This type of resistance could be solved therefore by providing the correct and necessary information for the person to make the best decision. For you to find out what information is missing that is important to the decision making process.

2) Emotional resistance

Emotional resistance is the “difficult” one. This resistance is caused by emotions such as fear, embarrassment, sadness, anger…..

If you are asked to take on a new task, one you have never done before, you may feel resistance if you do not feel you have all the competences ready to use to make this task into a success. Your fear to fail could be causing your resistance.

This type of resistance is much more personal.  It can only be solved if the person is willing to do some soul searching and acknowledges emotions connected to the requested behaviour. If you are the one requesting the new behaviour, better be prepared for this type of resistance to happen and to help the other person through this process.

3) Situational resistance

Situational resistance is a “tricky” one. It is caused by the circumstances not being helpfull to make a change of behaviour.

As an example, if you want people to eat less fast-food, but one every street corner there is a fast-food restaurant, you know that it is going to be difficult to change the behaviour. If you can change the situation and diminish the offer of fast-food to the public, the change of behviour becomes easier.

Situational resistance can be solved by changing the situation in such a way, that desired behaviour is stimulated and nearly automatic. You need to understand therefore how people react to external stimuli and how you could use that to change these stimuli in a positive way.

So yes, you can influence somebody in their decision to change behaviour, but be prepared to put a lot of work in it.

The most important work is wanting to understand the people involved, what is important to them, what do they feel and think and how you can help them truly.

How do you make others change behaviour? Do you know how to influence others? Let us know what you think of this topic. What do you believe? Write a comment and share your thoughts.

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Esther Celosse



This entry was posted in Coaching on by .

About Esther Celosse

Esther Celosse has 20 years of experience in Trust and Banking. Since 2009 she works independently as a passionate executive coach, leadership trainer and consultant.She lived and worked in the Netherlands, Curaçao, Chile, Luxembourg, Belgium and France.

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