Intentional Change Theory

A practical model to increase self-awareness and develop successful habits.

Having read a lot of Richard Boyatzis’s work on Emotional Intelligence I was surprised that I had not come across Intentional Change Theory until recently, thanks to Maria Ryan from Brand New Horizons and a lecturer from the University of Limerick.

Richard Boyatzis is a professor from Cape Western Reserve University who has over twenty published works on ICT, Emotional Intelligence, Change Management, and leadership.

I am always delighted to discover a new model that I may find helpful as a coaching resource and I found ICT particularly practical.

The Model as you can see in Figure 1 focuses on 5 main areas.
  1. The ideal self, or what you want out of life and the person you want to be—leading to your personal vision.
  2. The real self, or how you act and are seen by others; the comparison of the real self to the ideal self, which results in your strengths and weaknesses and a full assessment of them.
  3. Your learning agenda. How to build on your strengths and reduce your weaknesses.
  4. Experimenting with and practicing your new habits. Experimenting with new behaviours, thoughts, and feelings.
  5. Developing and renewing close personal relationships to build support and trust. This is your support network to ensure you stay on track.

Why is this model so useful and how can you use it to change your own life?

Let’s look at the ‘why?’ first.   We have all experienced a year of profound change.  We have been forced into situations we could never have anticipated.  Those who had the awareness of self and how to implement good habits fared much better.  That’s why this model is so useful. Until you make a comprehensive study of both your real self and your ideal self, change is challenging if not impossible.  We have to be able to measure where we want to get to and who we aspire to be.

The Intentional Change Theory Model gives you an excellent road map for doing that.

It also incorporates habits – an essential part of change.

On to the ‘How?’

Simply work your way around the model.  Write a personal balance sheet – divide it in two, put your real self on one side and your ideal self on the other side.  Note down all the characteristics of both.  Then write down an action plan to become your ideal self.

The next step is the learning agenda.  Note your strengths and weaknesses and incorporate that into your action plan if necessary.

Step four or Discovery four, as Boyatzis calls it, is one of the most important aspects of ICT in my opinion.  Experimenting with and practicing your new habits.  Habits take time to become embedded and a degree of flexibility is required here.  Journaling or a habit tracker app is an excellent way to ensure you stay on track.

Finally, as the saying goes ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’  You will need support on this journey. Developing good personal relationships is one of the most important things you can do for every aspect of your life.  Leadership is about developing good relationships.

Create a vision for your ideal self that inspires you.  Wouldn’t that be a more productive, more satisfying way to get into 2021?

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