The Stages of Change

The Stages of Change

Prochaska and Velicer broke down the process of behavior change. Behavior change is often the goal of coaching. Creating focus, awareness, and motivation are vital for success.

According to Prochaska and Velicer in the American Journal of Health Promotion, there are six stages of change. The fThe Stages of Changeirst stage is pre-contemplation which means humans consider change way before it is even talked about, perhaps even realized in the conscious mind. Contemplation is when the idea begins to show up in conversation and thoughts. Preparation is when a client is researching how the change may take place or in other words—what are the options are. Action takes place when the client has decided which direction, with the “how to,” along with movement. Maintenance is keeping the new program in place. And the final is, termination, when the change has taken place. In the world of coaching, maintenance can be on-going because new behaviors are to be nurtured.

Examples of Questions:

  • How long have your been considering this idea?
  • What research are you looking into? Coaching, in part, is understanding where a client is in terms of readiness in order to support their process.
  • What are the options?
  • What community support exists for this change?
  • When will you make this happen?

Using these markers as part of understanding clients improves retention and progress according to the applied research of Prochaska and Velicer. In other words, knowing where your client’s readiness is improves the process and therefore the success.

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