Derived from ‘meta’, the Greek word for ‘change’, the term ‘metathesiophobia’ describes a common condition (Bozman, 2007). The fear of change is pervasive across all walks of life, and has been associated with a basic human aversion to uncertainty (Copeland, 2018). In many cases, this aversion can have a paralyzing effect, miring personal and professional development.
Fear of change is a common sight for life coaches, with clients looking to break negative routines and progress to the next step, often in their academic and professional lives. Coaches can help clients with change management, empowering them to exercise greater control over uncertainty—and make more personally-enriching choices (Connelly, 2018).
Here is a closer look at the fear of change, which considers background factors, common cases, and possible avenues for life coaching.
Fear of Change Is Traceable to Fundamental Brain Functions
Feelings of anxiety around change and uncertainty are traceable to natural brain functions. According to a 2010 study, human beings are naturally inclined to prefer something longstanding and reliable over a more recent equivalent (Eidelman et al., 2010). When it comes to persistent aversions, the fear of change is likely a combination of biological predispositions and external traumas (Brozman, 2007). This combination can shape fears from person to person, often determining which scenarios pose the most anxiety.
Some Environments Can Pose Specific Challenges
An estimated 62 percent of people say they dislike change that leads them out of their ‘comfort zone’ (Murphy, 2016). While no two people fear change in quite the same way, some environments are a particularly common source of anxiety. After life coach school, coaches are likely to encounter clients who fear change in their professional lives. From new positions to company restructuring, work environments often provoke negative expectations of job loss and failure (Reh, 2017).
Few environments are more subject to change than school. For children and adolescents, new learning opportunities are often beset by fears of change and the loss of a known routine, and may be a factor in ‘school phobia’ or ‘school anxiety’ (Logsdon, 2017; Grande, 2017). School-related fear may also extend into adulthood as students prepare for the next step in higher education. This is especially common among ‘mature’ or returning students, whose fear of change might be directed toward a new lifestyle, potential exclusion, and new learning technologies (Meitz, 2016).
Professional Coaches Can Offer Crucial Help After Life Coach School
After becoming a life coach, understanding fear of change is a crucial professional asset. The first step for coaches is helping clients identify the source of their fear, encouraging them to express specific worries, personal histories, or behaviour patterns. Since a fear of change may come with broader mental health conditions, life coaches can also help clients take a larger view of their wellness.
In many cases, mitigating a fear of change means interrogating and modifying negative thought patterns—focusing on the opportunities most changes represent. Mindfulness and positive motivation can also be helpful tools, empowering clients to move beyond an aversion to uncertainty. Encouraging clients to make plans and break down big changes into their composite steps, coaches can help cultivate a sense of control and personal satisfaction (Compass Coaching, 2014).
Are you hoping to help future clients overcome their fear of change?
Contact Rhodes Wellness College to know more about our life coach training course.
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Connelly, M. (2018). Create the Change You Need. Change Management Coach. Retrieved from: https://www.change-management-coach.com/
Copeland, L. (2018). Why are we afraid of change? The science of uncertainty. Unstuck Advice. Retrieved from: https://www.unstuck.com/advice/afraid-change-science-uncertainty/
Eidelman, S. Et al. (2010). “Longer is better”. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46 (6): pp. 993-998. Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022103110001599
Grande, C. (2017). 12 ways to help kids cope with school anxiety. USA Today Networks. Retrieved from: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/08/10/12-ways-help-kids-cope-school-anxiety/554908001/
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Logsdon, A. (2017). Is Your Child Afraid to Go to School? School Phobia and Ways to Address It. Verywell family. Retrieved from: https://www.verywellfamily.com/is-your-child-afraid-to-go-to-school-2161922
Meitz, A. (2016). Overcoming Your Fear of Going Back to School. DuPage At Work. Retrieved from: http://www.worknetdupage.org/blog/2016/04/27/overcoming-fear-going-back-school/
Murphy, M. (2016). The Big Reason Why Some People Are Terrified Of Change (While Others Love It). Forbes. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/markmurphy/2016/08/14/the-big-reason-why-some-people-are-terrified-of-change-while-others-love-it/#64e5ff82f635
Reh, F. J. (2017). Managing Change: Managing People’s Fear. The balance careers. Retrieved from: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/managing-change-managing-people-s-fear-2275302