An Expert Lens on Transformation

As we move through our lives, it is often the challenges, transitions, and milestone moments that shape how we see ourselves. And how we view the world. That’s why understanding the stages of adult development is so important. We can transform those challenges into opportunities when we learn how to navigate trauma healing and foster personal growth. 

And that is not work you need to undertake alone. A transformational coach can guide you, and many experts have already illuminated the path forward. Today, I offer you words of wisdom from three experts: Robert Kegan, Lisa Lahey, and Shirzad Chamine. Each has significantly contributed to a body of work that empowers individuals to evolve and thrive. 

Robert Kegan 

Kegan is a highly-regarded psychologist and Harvard professor best known for his work on adult development theory. His research centers around the concept of “constructive developmental theory.” This theory proposes that adults progress through distinct stages of cognitive and emotional complexity. 

In “The Evolving Self,” Kegan outlines five stages of adult development, each characterized by different ways of understanding oneself and the world, as follows: 

  • Stage 1: Impulsive mind – early childhood.
  • Stage 2: Imperial mind – adolescence, 6% of the adult population.
  • Stage 3: Socialised mind – 58% of the adult population.
  • Stage 4: Self-Authoring mind – 35% of the adult population.
  • Stage 5: Self-Transforming mind – 1% of the adult population. 

Kegan’s model is a veritable roadmap for personal growth and transformation. If we can identify our current stage and recognize the possibilities of growth beyond it, we can cultivate greater self-awareness and agency in our lives. 

Lisa Lahey

Lahey, a collaborator of Kegan’s, extended his work into organizational development and personal change. Together, they developed an ‘immunity to change’ concept. In doing so, they sought to examine how deeply held beliefs and fears can negatively impact individual and organizational progress. 

Their groundbreaking book, “Immunity to Change,” offers a structured approach designed to uncover and overcome these hidden barriers to growth. Lahey and Kegan suggest that individuals can dismantle their immunity to change by challenging limiting assumptions and experimenting with new behaviors, allowing them to unlock new levels of potential. 

Lahey’s work emphasizes the importance of psychological safety for creating meaningful transformation in oneself and within organizations. 

Shirzad Chamine 

Shirzad Chamine is a pioneer in positive psychology and behavioral change. He brings a unique perspective to the journey of personal growth by drawing from his experiences as a Stanford lecturer and entrepreneur. 

Chamine explored the role of mindset and habits in shaping the trajectory of a person’s life. In his book, “Positive Intelligence,” Chamine introduces the concept of positive intelligence quotient (PQ), which measures an individual’s ability to handle life’s challenges with a positive mindset. You can build resilience, amplify your strengths, and navigate adversity gracefully by cultivating practices that enhance PQ. These practices include things like mindfulness and self-compassion. 

Chamine’s work empowers individuals to harness the power of their minds to lead more fulfilling and impactful lives. 

A Holistic Approach 

No one ever said change was easy. But it becomes easier when other people have done the research and developed the theories and tools we need to make those changes in ourselves. 

Taken as a whole, the insights of Robert Kegan, Lisa Lahey, and Shirzad Chamine offer a holistic approach to adult development, trauma healing, and personal growth. 

What would it mean to you to understand the stages of development, confront immunity to change, and cultivate positive intelligence? 

By doing so, you can embark on a transformative journey of self-discovery and empowerment. So much good can come from it also. You can:

  • Better navigate an increasingly complex world
  • Begin to heal from trauma 
  • Free ourselves from anything holding us back from success

Researchers provide invaluable guidance and tools to unlock our full potential and thrive in every aspect of life. In an ever-changing world, it is always necessary to adapt – but that doesn’t mean it is easy. Thank goodness we have these insightful works to serve as a beacon of hope that we can change, grow, thrive, and be our best selves.

Lisa L. Baker - Certified Personal, Career, Success and Life Coach

Lisa L. Baker is a professional life coach, career strategist, and keynote speaker. Lisa is the founder of Ascentim – a Maryland-based coaching practice that utilizes a unique G.R.O.W. process to help clients gain clarity, realize new possibilities, overcome obstacles, and win at life. Lisa shows high-performing professionals how to Level Up and Live the Life of Their Dreams.

Ready to G.R.O.W.?