So, you want to know how to get people to change their behaviors? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

Let’s get one thing straight: change is hard. We all want to be better, but let’s face it, if we knew how to change, we’d already be doing it! That’s where coaching comes in – to help us identify the behaviors we need to change and those we need to repeat. But, here’s the thing: just because we’re asked to change, it doesn’t mean we will. Humans are stubborn creatures, after all.

Coaching conversations often focus on the desired outcome, but that’s not enough. It’s not like we can just wave a magic wand and poof – problem solved! No, no, no. We need to identify specific behaviors that will get us to our desired outcome. And that’s where things get tricky.

Identifying the Problem

The problem with behavior change is that it’s all about actions, right? But there are different categories of actions, and that’s where things get interesting. We’ve got visual behaviors – the things we see – and auditory behaviors – the things we hear. Let’s break it down further, shall we?

First up, we’ve got physical actions – the things we do. You know, like when you see your coworker chatting with someone. That’s a physical action. But, there’s also non-verbal actions – the way we do things. For example, if your coworker’s stance is stationary, open, and facing the person they’re chatting with, that’s a non-verbal action.

Next, we’ve got language – the things we say. You know, like when you hear your boss say, “I will definitely call you tomorrow.” That’s a language action. But, there’s also vocal delivery – the way we say things. So, if your boss emphasizes the word “definitely,” that’s a vocal delivery action.

So, how does this all tie in with coaching? Well, when we’re coaching someone, we need to evaluate their performance based on specific behaviors. We need to look at how they carry themselves, their facial expressions, and hand gestures. We need to listen to their vocal delivery and consider their language choice.

Looking at behavior from this perspective allows us to simplify our understanding of what to observe when evaluating performance. It helps us to identify the specific behaviors that need to be changed and those that need to be repeated. See the circle? It all comes back around.

Why Behavior Change Matters

Now, let’s talk about why behavior change is so important. It’s not just about hitting sales goals or being more empathetic. It’s about creating a positive work environment that inspires employees to do their best work. If we’re not willing to modify our behaviors as managers, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment. And we all know what happens when good employees leave – it’s not pretty.

So, how do we create behavior change? Well, for starters, we need to be clear about what we want to change. We need to identify specific behaviors that are hindering our success and those that are helping us achieve our goals. Then, we need to create a plan of action. We need to set realistic goals and identify the steps we need to take to achieve those goals.


But, here’s the thing: behavior change takes time. It’s not something that happens overnight. We need to be patient and persistent. We need to celebrate our successes and learn from our failures. And most importantly, we need to remember that behavior change is a team effort. It’s not just about the individual – it’s about the entire organization.

How to Coach for Behavior Change

Now, armed with a better understanding of behavior and how to evaluate it, we can start to discuss how to effectively coach for behavior change.


One effective approach is to start by identifying the behavior that needs to change. Be specific and concrete. Instead of saying “be more empathetic,” identify a specific behavior that demonstrates empathy, such as “listen actively and ask questions to understand the other person’s perspective.” By breaking down the desired behavior into specific actions, you make it easier for your employee to understand and achieve.

Provide Context

Next, make sure your employee understands why the behavior change is important. Simply telling them to change isn’t enough – they need to understand the impact of their behavior on their own success, as well as the success of the team or organization. Help them see the big picture and the benefits of the behavior change.

Create a Plan

Once you’ve identified the behavior and explained why it’s important, work with your employee to develop a plan for achieving the behavior change. This should be a collaborative effort – ask your employee for their input and ideas on how to achieve the desired behavior. Encourage them to think creatively and come up with their own solutions.

Be Patient

Remember that behavior change is a process, not an event. It takes time and effort to break old habits and develop new ones. As a coach, you need to be patient and provide ongoing support and feedback. Monitor progress and provide positive reinforcement when your employee demonstrates the desired behavior, and provide constructive feedback and guidance when they fall short.

Celebrate Wins

Finally, recognize and reward success. When your employee successfully changes their behavior, acknowledge and celebrate their achievement. This not only reinforces the behavior change, but also motivates them to continue to improve and grow.

In conclusion, behavior change is a challenging but essential component of coaching. By understanding behavior and how to evaluate it, and by approaching behavior change with empathy and a collaborative spirit, coaches can help their employees achieve their full potential and drive success for their teams and organizations. If you’re still having trouble deciding where to start, consider implementing a tool like ZIZO to help!

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