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Coping with Change



Title: Coping with Change

Exercise Type: Change management
Time Required: 30 minutes
Group Size: Small: 3-12, Medium: 12-20, Large: 20-50
Suggested Age Group: Children, Adults
Activity Level: Light
Keywords: coping, change
Materials Needed: Writing materials
Venue: Typical Room, Conference Room  

Purpose/Outcome: Help participants identify their typical patterns in dealing with change.

Activity Description: This is a multi part activity.

1. Ask participants to write for 3 minutes their response to, “How does change typically effect you?”

- 90 seconds into exercise, ask students to write with their other hand.
- Upon completion, ask participants to write a discovery statement on 3x5 card about change based on this activity.

2.Ask participants to draw their experience of change. What does change look like to you?
- 90 seconds into exercise, ask students to close their eyes and continue to draw.
- Upon completion, ask participants to write a discovery statement on a 3x5 card about change.

3.Ask participants to get out of their seats and walk out of the room backwards, out through one door, down the hall to some predetermined position and back into the room and into their seats. Ask them to do this slowly and deliberately, at half their normal walking speed, being very conscious of their body and their movements. 3:28-3:30
Write discovery statement on 3x5 card about change.

- Upon completion, ask participants to write a discovery statement on a 3x5 card about change.

Debrief/Facilitator Notes: Have participants share their discovery statements. Help students uncover their habitual patterns in dealing with change. Here are some questions that may help.

- How did these changes make you feel about yourself? Other participants, the staff?

- Did you ask for help when you were going through stress caused by changes?

- What thoughts came up as you experienced these changes?

- Do you feel that you were able to adapt quickly or more slowly to the changes that you were asked to make?

- Were your responses to these exercises typical of how you respond to change?

- What worked for you? What didn’t?

Learning Points:

Observations about Change

-Discomfort with change is a normal reaction. Expect to progress through stages of disorientation, adaptation, functioning, and peak performance.
- You always have a choice over how you will react to change, both “inner” and “outer.”
- You can be reactive or proactive.
- Change may feel like a loss of control, and depending on your temperament, this can effect you to a greater or lesser degree.

Coping with Change

- You can reframe change as opportunity, as creative tension, as enlivening.
- If the need for order in your life is strong, change will have a greater impact upon you, be a bigger challenge. You will need more support, but most likely be less able to ask for it (MBTI).
- If you are highly open to change and seek it constantly, be unhappy with any routine, that can also be negative in terms of lack of accomplishing your goals. There is a need for balance here. (MBTI)
- Create change-free zones--safe spaces and structures for yourself that don’t change.
- No change leads to stagnation. Too much change leads to insanity. Discover your own healthy level of change.
- Do nothing and wait to see what happens. Most changes don’t require immediate response. Wait until you must take action.
- Does the ringing phone run your life? Create space and time in your life. Simplify, eliminate excess clutter, meaning excess stuff in your environment and excess activities in your life.
- Take extra good care of yourself. Set strong personal boundaries about what you will and won’t do or accept. Put your basic physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs first. Sometimes you can just say “no” to change or to others’ requests.
- Check in with yourself daily. Ask yourself, “what do I need right now?”
- Be OK asking for help. Create and maintain support systems for yourself when you
are going through major changes.


Write down at least one intention statement that will help you become more adaptable or better able to cope with changes in your life and work.

Find a partner to check in with weekly to see how you're doing with your intention.

Resources: Coping with change handout: www.facilitatoru.com/handouts/copingwithchange.pdf

About the Author: Steve Davis, M.A., M.S., is an Facilitator's Coach, Infoprenuer, and free-lance human, helping facilitators, organizational leaders, educators, trainers, coaches and consultants present themselves confidently, access their creativity, empower their under-performing groups, enhance their facilitation skills, and build their business online and offline. Subscribe to his free weekly ezine at www.MasterFacilitatorJournal.com or visit www.livingmastery.com to learn more about him and his offerings.

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