Positive Path Recommended Reading

Mastering Motivation
By Beth Burns

Since coaching is still a rather new profession, I am often asked what exactly it is that I do. My short 30-second elevator answer is, "I partner with people on their goals -- professionally and personally." Most often folks are fascinated with the concept of coaching and want to learn more.

One gentleman recently asked me how I motivate my clients. I thought this was an interesting and certainly a valid question to wonder about. The truth is that most people who come to coaching are already motivated. They are ready to make substantial changes in their lives and they want an objective partner to be a sounding board and to hold them accountable. That's what I do.

But there's more to it than that. A coach (or anyone else who works with people) has to discern what type attitude the client has toward his or her situation and then choose wording that is tailored to get the person to take action. I listen carefully for the clues and ask provocative and artful questions.

Human behaviour is the result of one of two desires: either to gain pleasure or to avoid pain. We are motivated by either one as they can be equally powerful but each requires a different set of skills to understand. Very simply, we are continually moving toward a situation (to gain pleasure) OR away from a situation (to avoid pain). When you know which direction a person is taking you can motivate them accordingly.

So how can you know this information? It's pretty simple actually. You just ask what is important to them and then listen carefully to the answer.
Here's an example:

Scenario 1: TOWARD

Beth: What's important to you about your job?

John: To be able to work creatively, inspire people and achieve my goals.
(John is motivated by moving TOWARD to gain pleasure.)

Beth: OK, so what actions can you commit to taking this week to finish your project and see that you accomplish your goal of (state the goal)?

OR Scenario 2: AWAY

Beth: What's important to you about your job?

Mary: That I am left alone to get my work done.
(Mary is motivated by moving AWAY to avoid pain.)

Beth: Yes, if you don't shut your office door and let voicemail pick your messages, that's not going to happen. There will be interruptions. Can you commit to doing these things so you are able to get your work done?

One can use this questioning and listening in almost any situation to figure out which way a person organizes his or her behaviour. Simply ask, "What's important to you about (state the issue eg relationships, career, spirituality, learning, etc.) Then listen carefully for the clues a person tells you in answering that simple question.

Once you know that, you know how to question them and motivate them in a way that gets them to take action.

When you understand and know where people are coming from, you can change your approach with them and then enhance the results you get.

About the author: Beth Burns is a Professional Life Coach -- partnering with motivated people on their personal and professional goals. Her mission is to teach people to love themselves and to love the life they create. She offers two free email newsletters and can be visited on the web at www.BrightSideCoaching.com  She can also be reached by email at Beth@BrightSideCoaching.com


An error occurred on the server when processing the URL. Please contact the system administrator.

If you are the system administrator please click here to find out more about this error.