Short cut behaviour change with this simple mind trick

I know that I’m always talking about how behaviour change occurs gradually over time; how it needs continual focused attention to make the change stick, and this is still true. But sometimes, knowing what the new behaviour needs to be can be just as tricky as knowing how to make it stick.

Jordan* was looking to take on better time management habits. He felt frustrated by his perfectionist tendencies and wanted to improve the speed of his work and just get on with it. Rather than working through practical time management strategies and working on changing his mindset to enable him to take on the new the behaviours over time, we did something a little different.

I asked him to think of a role model for time management. Who does this really well? Who’s voice does he hear giving him great advice and paving the way with great results?

My boss!

Great! What advice are you hearing? What do they believe about managing their time? What strategies do they use to get work done? How do they look as they go about their day? How do you imagine they are feeling?

Oh I get it. It’s so clear to me. I know exactly what she does, how she thinks and what she says when it comes to time management. She’s been trying to help me for ages. I’ve been watching her work efficiently and effortlessly for the past year.

When we explored Jordan’s boss’s mindset in this context, knowing what behaviours and strategies to adopt suddenly become very clear and very simple. When you can step into someone else’s mindset and take on their persona and beliefs in that context, the behaviours; the words; the actions; all flow on from there. This makes it much easier to make changes, as you are not having to work things through on many levels at once, you simply begin with the way you think, and let the rest roll out as a result.

Coaching tips:

  • What new behaviour do you want to adopt?

  • Who does this really well and gets the results you want?

  • Ask them the modeling questions in the article above.

  • Then try it on.

  • When you catch yourself in your old behaviour, ask ‘what would my role model do, think, or say right now?’

I’d love to hear what other tricks you use to implement new behaviours or what your experience is with role modeling others. Leave a comment or question on the blog.

*Jordan is a real client but his name has been changed for the purposes of this story.