The Power of “In Here” Change

Change is essential in life. Growth is change, so is decline. There’s no avoiding change. Most people try to change things “out there”, but real power comes from “in here” change.

Goals and problems can be approached from different directions. Some approaches seek to change things “out there” and some to seek to change things “in here,” that is, inside us. The real leverage are “in here” changes.

Richard was completely overwhelmed with emails, reports, and project details. He wanted coaching to find a way to get organized. I quickly realized he didn’t need any ideas, tips, or planning systems – he had tried them all. I asked Richard, “what inside you is holding you back?”

“My disorganization,” he replied.

“Ok, imagine yourself organized. What does that look like?” He described it. Then I asked an important question, “What needs to change in you to allow that state of organization to happen?”

He closed his eyes and listed off the changes, “I need to let go of things. I need to be happy with other people’s ways of doing things, and to only 80% of my satisfaction. I need to stick to my main tasks and not have my hands in everything. I need to be willing to equip others to do things, rather than just doing the tasks myself.”

We coached around these “in here” changes over the next few months. Richard struggled through and made huge progress.

Reaching challenging goals or solving sticky problems can only be done through “in here” transformation. Once we change “in here”, the “out there” changes can be implemented.

“In Here” Approaches

An “in here” approach to a goal or problem is to generate new ways for the coachee to think or act. This approach assumes that there are attitudes, beliefs, values, as well as hang-ups in us that cause us to limit our thinking or even sabotage our own change efforts. Until we make internal changes to our thinking, we often cannot achieve the results we want to have.

Look for “in here” solutions by asking questions that direct the coachee to look internally for solutions.

  • What inside you is holding you back?
  • What changes must take place in you?
  • How do you need to think and act differently to accomplish this?

In practice, a combination of internal and external approaches are helpful. Often we begin by exploring the external factors and then move to internal ones.

Once Richard realized how his ways of thinking were holding him back, he was much more successful in implementing many of the ideas he had previous tried. Without the internal changes, the external changes wouldn’t have been effective.

Our thinking limits us. By changing the way we think, we can change the way we behave. It’s amazing how quickly we see progress.

More and more, I am realizing that the changes that are needed to fix something, need to begin in me.

Question: What is your experience with “in here” change? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

    Keith is President of Creative Results Management. He helps busy leaders multiply their impact. Keith is the author of several books including The COACH Model for Christian Leaders.

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