Home Concepts Decison Making & Problem Solving Promoting Change Through a Lens of Personal History Part 2: Schemas, or Models

Promoting Change Through a Lens of Personal History Part 2: Schemas, or Models

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In order to facilitate change in coaching, an understanding of what needs to change is important. Creating awareness of existing schemas from the client’s personal history may be a rich resource from which to draw upon, especially if behaviors derived from an existing schema are not productive. However, in the spirit of facilitating change and moving forward, it may be more important to encourage the client to explore new, more effective schemas than trying to change old ones. As the client designs actions and carries them out based upon one or more schemas, they will understand this schema better and will be able to adjust the schema and consequent behaviors to greater effect.

Calls to Action

  • What unconscious schemas have you been operating out of today?
  • When have you last asked a client about the possibility of needing a new schema?
  • When have you seen a client uncover a new schema and carry out actions based upon this new schema that had a profound impact on the client’s life or career?

Further Reading

  • Coultas, C. W., & Salas, E. (2015). Identity construction in coaching: Schemas, information processing, and goal commitment. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 67(4), 298-325.
  • Engle, E. M., & Lord, R. G. (1997). Implicit theories, self-schemas, and leader-member exchange. Academy of Management Journal, 40(4), 988-1010.
  • Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1977). Causal schemata in judgments under uncertainty: Technical Report PTR-1060-77-10.



This article was originally published on the ICF Blog.

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