Five Signs You’re Coaching As A Change Agent

Are you coaching as a dynamic change agent with your clients, or marking time?

There are five signs, we’ve come to recognise in coaches who are powerful change agents.

  1. Being Awake To The Deep Vision

Change agents help others connect with their deepest visions. They hold a space for people to believe in and strive for something more. Visions can be elusive at first. Change agents bring clarity to what is sometimes a deeply felt sense or even a frustration. Meta-skills such as curiosity, enthusiasm and encouragement support people connect with their vision.

  • Are you able to help people to sense and believe in themselves and what they want for the world?

  1. Being Detached From The System

It’s important that change agents are not constrained by the current state of affairs, including their clients narrative or view of events. Instead you must be able to sit outside the system and hold the possibility for something new and different to emerge.

  • Are you able to sit with a level of detachment in the face of even the most powerful and impressive clients?

  • Are you free to ask questions that shine a fresh light on the status quo?

  • Do you take a deep dive into exploring deeply held beliefs and assumptions?

  1. Being Alert To The Forces For Change

At times the forces underpinning change will act as a welcome wind, driving and supporting dynamic transformation. For instance, market forces or public sentiment may be ideal. You can help client to recognise these elements, and to think about how best to work with them, much as an experienced yachtsman works with their sails.

Process Oriented Coaches bring a deep appreciation of those drivers of change that come in the form of disturbances. Whilst these forces have the capacity to trigger a sense of panic or crisis, we take a broader perspective on them. Deeply valuing their contribution, we harness their power as a force for change. A coach’s appreciation of these disturbers enables clients to open up to them.

  • Are you curious about the forces for change?

  • Are you able to see beyond seeming disturbances and drama?

  1. Staring Down The Challenges

Sometimes leaders, teams and individuals get distracted when the challenges of change present themselves. They water down their vision and settle for compromises instead. This is the point at which a change agent coach really earns her money. These are the moments when you don’t want to let people rationalise their way to mediocrity or race to the exit. Spot the signs of compromise early and help people to hold a steady course. Help them to understand what they really fear, what is really going on.

  • Are you able to put your finger on the core and underlying issues?

  • Are you skilled in asking questions that challenge the classic excuses that prevent change?

If so, you are a great ally to individuals, teams and systems who have embarked on a change journey. Your rigour will help them stay the course.

  1. Keeping The Change Journey Central

Exceptionally skilled coaches are able to frame the challenges confronting their clients in the context of the broader change journey itself. They understand the many facets of the transformational journey.

Listen to your client’s narrative from multiple perspectives. Hear the immediate content of the story your client is telling you and listen for the deeper story of change within it. Understand that they are working in a landscape of shifting beliefs, behaviours and dialogue. See and hear everything that is happening against this backdrop. This in turn influences the questions you ask and the perspective you support others to adopt.

  • Are you able to frame core challenges as part of the change journey itself.


At the Global Coaching Institute we are fascinated by the change journey which individuals, teams and systems embark upon. If you’d like to understand this journey and how to facilitate change for powerful results, please join our next GCI Coaching Roadmap program to learn about the dynamics of change in depth.

Learn more about our approach to coaching for change and working with emergence. Link to GCI 101 or Coaching Fundamentals

GCI 102 (Australia)
GCI Coach Training Intensive (Japan)
GCI 101 (Australia)
Harnessing Team Power and System Potential (China)