Transforming Perspectives

Understanding Change

In order to foster lasting and meaningful change, it is helpful to understand the types of change.

As adapted from the National Academy for Academic Leadership, first order change is doing more or less of the same. Second order change is "doing something significantly or fundamentally different from what we have done before. The process is irreversible: once you begin, it is impossible to return to the way you were doing before."

For example, Prism Coaching works to evolve the practice of coaching by transforming perspectives. This means that we focus on changing the underlying assumptions, beliefs, and perceptions of what coaching is and how it works, so that it can be more effective and accessible. Prism Coaching seeks to create second order change that moves us to a new paradigm, in which culture is an essential aspect of each human being and cultural awareness is embedded in the practice of coaching.

While first order change makes adjustments within an existing structure, second order change creates a new way of seeing things.

While there can be many barriers to lasting change, one of them can be operating from mistaken cultural assumptions. A case study by Adriana Diaz, Certified Professional Coach, describes an example of how a shift of cultural assumptions was necessary to work effectively as a coach to help her client create second order change.

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