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. 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?

2. Being Detached From The System

It’s important that change agents are not constrained by the current state of affairs, including their client’s 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?

3. Being Alert To The Forces For Change

Skilled coaches help their clients to recognise the optimising forces of change. For instance, market forces or public sentiment may be ideal. Yet sometimes business owners miss these opportunities. Force of habit and the demands of business as usual, may distract your coaching client from the bigger picture. Hence it is critical that coaches keep shifting their client’s focal point – that they notice the typical pattern of their client’s thinking and enquiry and seek ways to expand it.

Once the potential is recognised, you might support leaders and their teams discover how best to work with these forces for change.

4. Staring Down The Challenges

Sometimes leaders, teams and individuals lose heart or second guess themselves, when the challenges of change start to present themselves. They water down their vision and settle for compromise instead.

This is the point at which a change agent coach really earns her money.

These are the moments 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 maintain 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 embarking on a change journey. Your rigour will help them stay the course.

5. Keeping The Transformational Journey Central

Exceptionally skilled coaches are able to frame the challenges confronting their clients in the context of the broader change agenda itself.

Listen to your client’s narrative from multiple perspectives. Hear the immediate content of the story your client is telling and listen for the deeper story of change within it.

When coaches understand that clients are working in a landscape of shifting beliefs, behaviours and dialogue, they see and hear everything that is happening against this backdrop.

These insights will influence the questions you ask and the perspective you support others to adopt.

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


At the Global Coaching Institute we are fascinated by the transformational journeys 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 transformation.

Learn more about our approach to coaching for change and working with emergence.

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