How do I make a change?

This is a central theme when I work with my coaching clients, and in my own life. So it’s a question I think a lot about.

The other day, I was reflecting on my process. Mostly I was having fun playing with ideas and words and the letters in my initials! Here’s what I came up to simply describe the arc I follow when I making a change in behaviour, thought, or action.

Making a change

  1. Irritated. I get annoyed with something or feel off about a circumstance and my desire for change grows.
  2. Inspired. I see someone or many someones who are/have/express what I want for myself. This can feel like admiration or envy or anything in between.
  3. Investigate. I look into what it would take to shift things. I explore the various pathways that could lead to that desired state I yearn for.
  4. Initiate. I take action.
  5. Invest. I contribute mental, emotional, intellection and other energy towards the change.
  6. Intentional. I reflect on how things are going and make course-corrections as needed.

A work-related example

In addition to being a career coach, I work as an educational developer. Below I describe a recent change-related process using my “ii” (i x 6!) way:


In my educational development identity, it bothers me that I am not engaged in scholarship. My scholarly activity has diminished significantly since I completed my PhD more than 10 years ago and this has been a source of mild and ongoing frustration.


I coach research active faculty members and I work part-time at a research-intensive university. As such, I am constantly surrounded by people who are actively involved in doing research and publishing. I read about my educational developer colleagues’ work through various channels.


“Being scholarly” is a broad concept that I’ve (unhelpfully) limited to meaning doing research and writing. I have imposed rules about what counts as being scholarly and being “legit” as an educational developer. They sound like this:

I’m a good educational developer only if I…

  • publish
  • do research on my work
  • read peer reviewed publications in the field of educational development (do occasionally)
  • share my work (do occasionally)
  • share at conferences or other public events (have not done since 2020)
  • engage with theory (barely)
  • am part of my professional body (yes)
  • review papers (yes)
  • am known

Once I surfaced these rules, it was easier to question them and then to come up with my own definition of what constitutes scholarly for me, given my values, interests, and “reality”. I decided that being scholarly means: reading and learning in educational development (books, blogs, podcasts, peer reviewed publications), sharing my work, creating resources, and writing (but not in peer reviewed publications as I don’t have the stamina for that right now).

Initiate and Invest

Action usually flows easily once I’ve made decisions: I am currently creating resources on the topic of peer review of teaching and writing a piece for University Affairs.


I’m content with my current actions but want to make more time for more reading educational development books and blog posts. Sometime in the next 6-8 months, I’d like to revisit the research and (peer reviewed) publication “issue” as this still niggles away at me.

Making a change: Resources

I mentioned above that the central theme in my work as a coach is supporting people to make the changes they want. As such, I read extensively about change. Here are a few books I can recommend on the topic:

Looking for a change?

If you’ve been trying to implement a change (that could be in habits, career, ways of being, etc) and are facing resistance, contact me to find out how coaching can support you!

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