"........When Change is the Challenge."
"Two Steps Forward,
One Step Back."
"I'm really scared. A friend asked me if I really want
to be here. He meant if I really wanted to be in this new
job and this new lifestyle, but what I thought about was if
I really even wanted to be on the planet. I'm afraid I've
made a really big mistake." Andrew, who had just made some
major changes in his life, was calling between our regular
In an extra session a few hours later, we explored what
was happening to him. He loved his new job, his new house
had some problems but was generally delightful, and people
were welcoming him to his new community. Everything was
going even better than he had anticipated. Why the sudden
panic when nothing was really wrong?
We both recognized his fear and uncertainty. When we
started our coaching relationship we had seen it frequently,
but as he clarified his goals and carried through the steps
to make them happen, his self-confidence had grown. Now he
was regressing. When I explained that regression, going back
to earlier (negative) feelings, was a normal reaction to
major change, he began to relax.
Regression is a natural response to progression. It is
how we all learned to explore the world when we were
children. Babies crawl away from their parents, try new
things, suddenly discover they are alone, hurry back for a
refueling hug, and crawl off again. The cycle is repeated
over and over again. Adults feel the same way, but usually
think it is a sign of weakness to need the equivalent of a
parental hug. It isn't! Noticing needs, and making sure they
are managed is necessary for growth.
When I asked what support he needed to resolve his
regression, he remembered pushing aside sad feelings about
leaving his old friends. He decided to take time from
organizing his new home to make some calls and catch up with
his friends. Three days later, during his regular call, he
was feeling great.
Coaching Tip: When a client seems to be
regressing, ask these questions. "What is the big step
forward that led to this regression?" "What kind of support
do you need to feel okay again?"
Copyright 1999, Empowerment Systems. May be
transmitted or reproduced in its entirety only, including
this copyright line.
Jonathan B. Weiss, Ph.D. and Laurie Weiss, Ph.D. have
helped thousands of people make significant changes in their
lives. Working together at Empowerment Systems for 28 of
their 39 years of marriage, they maintain a coaching,
consulting, and psychotherapy practice in Littleton,
· Colorado · 80120
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"Committed to helping people use all of
their inner resources
to create satisfying and fulfilling