Last week’s coaching post was “What do you do if you get “stuck” in a coaching session?” This week I want to start to talk about a specific situation that may generate that feeling of being stuck – how to motivate a client.
Today’s post is in direct response to a request for “Statements to help motivate the client.” For reason’s I’ll explain in a moment I’m going to expand upon that request with the aim of providing some useful ways to move forward if you find yourself “stuck” and maybe even avoid it in the first place.
Even with just mentioning a few pointers, there is lots to be said so I am posting part one today with part 2 next Wednesday.
Over time you will develop your own coaching style, you will probably already have certain beliefs about what is a role of a coach. I reserve the right to be flexible about the roles that I take during a coaching session but one of the ones I personally often think of myself as is as a facilitator, or if you prefer a catalyst.
Which is why rather than just give a specific couple of questions or statements that you could learn like a script and recite I want to assist you to be able to produce your own and make a difference with each of your individual clients.
Is the client asking for help with motivation?
I ask not because I’m questioning your judgement as a coach, I ask because motivation is one of those things that can mean slightly different things to different people. It’s not like you can nip down to your local supermarket and buy a tin of motivation.
It’s so much easier for you as a coach to provide a service that delivers what your client is looking for, if you have a conversation about what that means to your client.
Question you may ask your client: “How will you know when this is motivating?”
As a coach, what are you looking to achieve by motivating your client?
I know that this can seem like an obvious question but there is a certain logic behind me asking this. Sometimes if you are stuck it can be because you are asking yourself a less than useful question. If “how can I motivate this client?” isn’t throwing up any useful answers let’s ask a different question – knowing what you want to achieve can open up a whole new range of questions for both you and your client.
Often coaches are looking for a way to assist a client to take action towards their goal. One way is to select a step that is really easy to take to get them started taking action – this is particularly useful if they are imaging a huge overwhelming task. For example, which appears easier – writing one chapter or a whole book?
Making the task seem more manageable can lead to your client taking action easily.
Look to add “fun” into the action – make it more pleasant to do. If a client is imagining that the next step will be as much fun as having a limb amputated with a blunt saw and no anaesthetic then they are not likely to be as keen to rush out and take action. If there is an enjoyment factor then it will be much easier for them to start taking action.
Questions that may be relevant to ask a client: “What would be an easy step to take?”
“How can that be even more fun?”
Assist your client to tap into their natural desire
Sometimes a client can get caught up in small detail and miss or lose sight of what they want to achieve. Assist your client by reconnecting them with that motivation so that they naturally have a desire to take action and move forward.
You may choose to ask them direct questions or use guided imagery about their final goal or completing the next stage. Remember that using a description that uses all senses will assist your client to envision something that is easier to connect with.
This is always easier if the “goal” you are working with is something that your client actually wants. Notice if you actually believe what your client is saying.
If you ever hear and see someone talk about something that they genuinely want and desire, there is a light in their eye and sound in their voice. If you are not hearing and seeing that you have the option to explore in more depth.
Next week we will talk about things such as the impact of words and commitment. Meanwhile if you want to share your own advice, or to ask questions feel free to do so below.
Read part two here.
About the Author
Jen Waller is on a mission to support, nurture and encourage coaching skills and talents from non-coach to coach and beyond.
She has created a free 7 day e-course about how to create your own unique coaching welcome pack that works for you and your clients. Get your copy here.