Competence

10 March 2022

3 min.

Supporting someone through change: how to do it right?

Let’s face it: change is a proven source of stress! If, when faced with the unknown, some people will be immediately enthusiastic about this new step to take, no matter what kind of change it is, many will be destabilized by the novelty.

This is completely normal and completely human!

In this context, it is quite possible that you will be called upon: a person who is experiencing a difficult change generally needs to feel seen and listened to, and to have a space where they can express what is stressful about the situation. It doesn’t matter whether you are a manager or a colleague: you can play an important role in supporting the other person.

First, listen…

When someone calls on us to help them when a change is causing them a lot of stress, we must first take the time to understand the situation with this person. In other words, we need to listen.

What does this mean in practical terms?

  • Be present for the other person, and pay attention to what they are expressing, both with their words and with their non-verbal cues.
  • Be sure to let the other person speak, without interrupting, even if it means leaving room for moments of silence.
  • Accept what the other person is communicating, without judging or expressing your own point of view.
  • Rephrase what the other person is saying to make sure you understand and encourage them to continue.

This simple exercise of naming aloud what the person is feeling can already clarify things for them, and indicate certain avenues that will allow them to better apprehend the change to come or in progress.

… and then ask the right questions

As in any coaching situation, the key is not to offer solutions yourself but to give the other person the necessary keys to enable them to discover for themselves the solutions that will suit them best. Essentially, you adopt a coaching approach: through your questions, you help the other person to clarify their thinking by asking them to identify their fears and needs.

As the other person opens up and begins not only to name what is going on inside them, but to see possible solutions, you not only help them to continue their process, but you also create or deepen the relationship of trust between you.

And by letting the other person discover their own solutions, you provide them with the support they need to reduce their own resistance to the change that is causing them stress. Who knows, the exercise may even allow them to seize the various opportunities related to change and see it in a more favorable light!

Above all, do not minimize!

It is important to remember that each person experiences change in their own way and that even if a situation is not stressful for you, it doesn’t mean that it is the same for the other person!

By recognizing potential or existing sources of stress, both for yourself and your colleagues, you are better able to work on boosting the wellbeing of the entire team!

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