Changing People Who Don’t Want to Change

Changing people who don’t want to change? Is it even possible? Here are some options if you are stuck in a situation where changing people is hard.

don't want change

I want to sort this out, but (insert name here) just doesn’t want to do anything.

It would be great if we could just discuss the situation, but (insert name here) doesn’t want to talk about it.

I try to be reasonable, but (insert name here) is just so difficult.

So, mediation isn’t an option, is it? Is there anything you can do to help me?

Yes, actually, a large part of my work is teaching individuals and groups how to manage difficult people and tricky situations. But changing people, particularly people who don’t want to change is hard. There is hope. Even if the other person is resistant or uninterested, you can take steps to resolve problems.


The first thing is to work out what the problem is, and whether I can help. I offer an initial exploratory chat which is confidential and complimentary. Then, if I can help, we book some sessions, either over the phone or via a secure online platform (Zoom). Usually, one or two sessions are enough. The sessions help you clarify what you want, what can be done and how to do it. One client wrote, “I feel as though something inside of me has shifted”. Another said, “I feel as though a weight has been taken off my shoulders and I can move on.”

When we change our own perspective and actions, other people are more likely to change. A great example of this is shown in this 5-minute video Changing People Who Don’t Want to Change.

Training  people who don’t want to change

I tailor the training to the group and the situation. Behavioural science and real-life testing provide the basis for the tools I use and the courses I design. Often, the participants on a course feel resentful or that it is a waste of their time. As a mediator, I know the first step is to listen and discover out what they need and want. More tips on managing difficult people.

A real-life example

After restructuring, the factory workers were so unhappy about the way the supervisors were treating them that the union approached management to get training for the supervisors. The supervisors were very defensive and resistant. Senior management despaired of changing people who didn’t want to change.

In the first session, I asked the supervisors what they struggled with, what would help them the most, and where the difficulties were. The main issues were setting and maintaining standards .  Next, we explored their individual styles and strengths, building rapport and engagement.

In the second session, we looked at ways of communicating and setting standards. I then shared some research-based tools and strategies that were practical. We discussed how these could be put in place and adapted to fit their own personal style. We also came up with a list of some steps management could take to make everything work better.

Finally we talked about how to manage poor performance and maintain standards. All the sessions were interactive. The skills the supervisors learned were those felt they needed to deliver what the management required. One of the supervisors was severely dyslexic, so instead of notes, I created picture cards as a reminder.

A month later, I visited the factory. At all the supervisors’ workstations, I saw the cards.  They said it was a secret reminder of what they had learned. Morale had improved dramatically, as had productivity.

If you would like to know how I can help you work with people who don’t want to change, contact me to arrange a free, confidential exploration of the best way forward.