Tip #1 to galvanize climate action: belief is the secret sauce of change

To celebrate the launch of our book Climate Change Coaching: the power of connection to create climate action series, we have created this series of 5 actionable ways to galvanise your and others climate action.

If you’ve ever had a conversation about climate change with another person, it’s highly likely you’ve heard someone say “what’s the point in me changing if governments/big companies aren’t doing anything about it?” It might even have been you. Immediately the air goes flat, motivation plummets. How can we possibly make a difference in the face of such a huge, complex systemic problem? Is it even possible?

This is the voice of disempowerment, that talks us out of change, even in the face of an existential threat like the climate crisis. 

“It’s not fashionable to believe in things. It can sometimes feel that we’re supposed to be cynical or to expect to be let down….. despite the fact that belief is the secret sauce of change. People arrive into our coaching practices all the time asking for help with changes that they are easily capable of making on their own…[but] they are smart enough to know, that when left to their own devices, their minds intervene and start protesting: “You’ll never manage this. This change isn’t for you. What was wrong with the old way?” 

To make change we have to dial down doubt and dial up belief. The power of the mind to subvert change is the reason that data alone doesn’t change behaviour. “

– Except from Climate Change Coaching – the power of connection to create climate action


So how do we bolster a sense of belief – in ourselves, in others, in the world – that change is possible?

Using coaching skills, there are many ways to do this. Here are 3:

  • Notice in yourself and in others how much you care or how committed you are and acknowledge it out loud “I can really see how much you care about this stuff”.  Acknowledgement is another word for recognition and helps us get in touch with what really matters to us, dialing down our doubt and helping us to connect with what we’re capable of.
  • When we’re lacking belief in the system itself, look for examples where the world has been able to change against huge odds. Scaffold your belief with the myriad of examples of where humanity has done the right thing.
  • If someone is adamant that things just are this way and there’s no point, try asking “What if it were different?” – this question can help access the dreaming, creative part of their brain that can help them to move beyond a stuck perspective.

When we can quieten the voice of disempowerment, and turn up the volume on our belief that change is possible, it’s amazing the kinds of solutions that become available to us.