How to Effect Change in Someone
Showing Grace by Effecting Change in People (Helping People Become Better)
As growing Christians, we will frequently be called to help someone grow and become better in a particular area. That’s called coaching. Our Christian faith is a faith that is lived in community with other believers. We do this by serving and supporting each other.We are called to come along side other believers to help them move ahead in an area where they are week. Jesus was a great coach and when he left, he sent us another person, the Holy Spirit to come and help us. He is called our Comforter. The Greek word used to describe the Holy Spirit in John 14:16 is “parakletos”. It means a person who comes along side another, to one’s aid to provide counsel and help. The same word was used to describe Jesus. We also, are called to come along side our brothers and bear each other’s burdens and be able to help them.
When we step in to help someone that is going through a difficulty or doesn’t know how to walk well in a particular area, we must be careful to do it in love. We must also do it prayerfully. We must be praying for God to help them and also help keep us from falling into the same mistake. It should never be to judge them. Another thing we must remember to do is to keep things secret. Do not gossip about what they tell you. When you do, it breaks trust. Besides that, it’s a sin and God doesn’t want us to gossip.
Here are three steps that can help us to coach someone.
Focus : Focus on a SMART goal. The SMART goal should be a specific behavior. Do not try to change the whole person. Focus on helping them accomplish only one goal at a time. So set a SMART goal. SMART is an acrostic that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant/Rewarding, Time-bound. Your goal must be specific (and not broad). It must also be something that both you and the person you are helping can measure so that he can be encouraged by success when he attains it. That will build momentum to move forward and achieve more. Because of that, the goal must be attainable. It should also be relevant and rewarding to the person you are coaching. Finally, set a deadline to work toward. Be careful not to set the time to be too short or too long. If you set the time too short, your coaching may fail because of lack of time and then discourage the person you are coaching. If it’s too long, then you never really attain anything.
Feedback : Give feedback. The goal of feedback is changing future behavior, not past behavior. Some people prefer to call it “feed-forward”. The only thing to do with past behavior is to forgive them and learn from them. I once heard someone say that forgiveness is defined as “giving up all hope of a better past”. That is a very astute definition. When you give up all hope for a better past, you should then build up all hope for a better future. In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul says love always hopes. Talking about Abraham, Paul said “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed…” ( Rom. 4:18 NIV). That’s faith! And remember that every thing we do must be done in that kind of faith otherwise it’s not pleasing to God.
Facilitate : Facilitate the change. Provide help and other support to help the person succeed. If you are coaching the person to fast, fast with him sometimes to teach him and be a support for him.
Remember that you should always sandwich your criticism by using the Encourage, Exhort, and Encourage formula. “Encourage” is when you say something they are doing good. Exhort is when you tell them something they are not doing right that they could improve. Tell them how to improve it. Don’t just tell them the problem, suggest a solution. Then end with encouragement by restating the areas in which they are doing well.
Don’t forget that prayer is the key to all this. Why? Because ultimately, God is the only one who can change a person. You can’t change someone else. In fact, we can’t even change ourselves! Only God can change a person, and prayer relies on him to do that as we go along side our friends and loved ones to help them.
That’s how you can effect change in someone. Now go out and start looking out for opportunities that you can effect change in people you love.