Jan 19 2016

Immunity to Change (ITC) Model and the X-Ray Map

head-1058432_1280In my last post, I explained how to create an Improvement Goal that will provide the focus for over-turning your immunity to change. In this post, I explore the second step of the process and its importance in the overall coaching arc. The coaching arc is a series of exercises that aim to over-turn the immunity, effectively removing the brake that is stopping achievement of the goal. The recipe for change is a mixture of self-reflection, observation and experimenting.

The ITC coaching process starts in earnest with the creation of an “X-Ray Map”. The map, like an X-Ray, makes visible what has previously been invisible.

A core element in the ITC process is “making the Subject, Object”. In short, this means that we are often “subject” to unconscious behaviours, in the sense and they have a power over us that we cannot see. During the ITC process, the initial focus is on making the unconscious thoughts and feelings you have in relation to your Improvement Goal, more visible to you so that you can begin to work with them consciously. You move from being “subject” to the thoughts to making them “object”.

The first step in turning the improvement goal from subject to object is to create an audit of:

  1. all the things that you are doing that directly work against you achieving your improvement goal
  2. all the things that you are NOT doing that you know could help you move towards your improvement goal

For example, if your Improvement Goal is to be more organised and productive then allowing others to constantly interrupt you may be hindering your progress. Alternatively, there may be things that you’re not doing such as sorting your email inbox so you are constantly looking through over 1000 emails to find the one you want.

The aim of this process is to create a clear and real understanding of your starting point as you embark on over-turning your immunity to change around your Improvement Goal. It is a process of “telling on yourself”. It is a kind of confession during which you can name, see and not avoid the behaviours that are getting in the way of improvement BUT without chastising yourself or feeling guilty for the behaviours. The process can create an enormous sense of relief as you vent about actions, thoughts and feelings that have been held in for a long time.

As we know, the turning point in making change is the calm acceptance of the issue at hand. Making the subject more object by getting real about the history and impact of counterproductive or avoidant behaviour, is a crucial and powerful first step in over-turning challenging, adaptive (mind set) change.

When making an audit of what you are doing and not doing, be as specific as you can. For example:

“I don’t prepare for meetings” could be better expressed as “I don’t look at the agenda before the meeting” and “I don’t reflect on what I think about the issues we will be talking about” and “I think winging it is the best way to approach it” and “I don’t prioritise what I want to get from the meeting” etc.

The process of creating an audit like this can often have the by-product of generating new ideas and actions that might achieve the Improvement Goal, but they are rarely enough to overcome the immunity to change. So next week’s post will consider what additional steps can help.


This post is one in a series written written by our Coach Trevor Cousins and the previous ones can be found here:

Immunity to Change – a model to support personal insight and change

Immunity to Change Model – working on adaptive change

Immunity to Change – creating an “Improvement Goal”

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