Life Coaching 101:
How To Motivate Others
Are you considering life coaching as a career? If so, one of the items you will need in your coaching toolbox is an understanding on how motivation works. This article will provide you with a good sample of important concepts successful life coaches always keep in mind
as they motivate their life coaching clients.
Whether you consider yourself a good motivator or not, the good news is that the personality of a life coach only contributes about 10 percent to the motivation of their clients……10 PER CENT! Motivation comes from “in”spiration. It comes from the life coach helping their clients to “look inside” themselves where the client will find their own motivation. Many believe motivation comes from outside of themselves however it is an inside job. Have you ever gone to the store and purchased 10 pounds of motivation? Of course not, that is absurd because motivation is something we all create inside of ourselves. The properly trained life coach skillfully guides their client on that successful journey.
Richard Bandler, one of the founders of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) says that miracles happen, even with the most difficult clients if there is good rapport between coach and client. The process of Life Coaching can be powerfully motivating when the coach has built good rapport with their client. The Life Coach is always aware of the tone of their voice, their choice of words and how they phrase an idea or thought. Good Life Coaches are experts in encouraging their clients because good Life Coaches have acquired the skill of effective communication.
Successfully motivating others happens when the Life Coach refrains from speaking more than necessary. The rule of thumb in Life Coaching is “80/20”; the client should be talking eighty per cent of the time and the coach only about twenty. By limiting how much they speak, the Life Coach is better able to “listen” for important clues from the client regarding the client’s goals, dreams or desires.
Listening more than speaking allows the Life Coach to be fully present to their client and allows the Life Coach to fully hear the opinions and ideas the client wants to share. Life Coaches check their ego at the door; the coaching conversation should never be about what the coach thinks. Moreover, the Life Coach never judges their client. A good Life Coach will never say, “I think you are…” or “I think you should….”. To do so will cause the client to engage in defensive posturing which in turn builds a wall between the coach and their client. Furthermore, if a Life Coach were to offer advice about what a client should do and the client took the coach’s advice and the advice proved to be wrong not only might the client end the professional relationship with the coach or the client might provide negative feedback to others about the competency level (or lack thereof) of the coach. A good Life Coach always keeps in mind that the client is whole and complete and quite capable of finding their own solutions.
Along the same line, good Life Coaches refrain from using negative words or statements when offering feedback. Even if a coach feels that a goal or a focus step to reach a goal might not be the most effective, the coach may choose not to mention to the client(unless health or safety are at risk). The client owns their own goals and focus steps. If any of the steps along the way to a goal fail, or even if a goal itself proves to be unattainable to the client, a good Life Coach will seize the teachable moment this situation offers and ask the client to reflect on what they learned in that experience. The client will be able to explore what they learned and will be motivated, perhaps even inspired to set a new goal, refine an old goal or re-work focus steps that are more realistic and/or achievable. Doing this work on their own with skillful questions from the Life Coaches empowers the client. Furthermore, the lack of judgment from the Life Coach motivates the client. The goal of the Life Coach is to be a companion to their client on the client’s journey to achievement of their own goal. Positive reinforcement equals progress every single time.
.Of critical importance in the work of Life Coaching is engaging in regular self-reflection. It’s vital that a Life Coach periodically assess what their own personal motivation is with any or all of their clients. A Life Coach might reflect on questions such as, “Do I talk more than I listen? If so, why? What is the trigger?” “How tempted am I to ‘jump in’ with my own opinions or advice? Why am I tempted to do so?” “Am I having difficulty remaining impartial to the outcome of my client’s situation? If so, why am I attached to that outcome?” Life Coaches are human beings just like everyone else. As such, they need to take some time every now and again to take stock of how they, the Life Coach, are reacting to a particular client, or to that client’s ideas, goals, or even the client’s personality. A Life Coach must always remain impartial about the client’s outcome. Periodic self-reflection and self assessment on the part of the Life Coach makes this possible.
Interestingly enough, there are some people who do not want to be motivated. They are much more comfortable living inside a bubble of negativity where they can comfortably reinforce the notion that they can’t achieve something they really want to achieve. They will resist every attempt to see any possibility for success because it does not exist in their view of reality. The good news is, however, your coaching client is ALREADY motivated because they took the initiative to contact you and to hire you as their coach. To find and hire a Life Coach takes motivation and sometimes a lot of it. A Life Coach working with a client who sabotages themselves with self-defeating thoughts can (and should) point out to their client, (and preferably in their very first session together) that their client is, indeed, already motivated by having hired a Life Coach. Taking that first step has already brought the client one step closer to reaching their goal.
While there is no magic formula Life Coaches can use to motivate and inspire their clients, there are good motivational tools the Life Coach acquires in their training that work beautifully to support their clients. These tools in combination with excellent communication skills that are acquired and/or refined in their training equip the Life Coach to skillfully guide their clients towards successful achievement of their goal. By allowing the client to do their own work, the coach as companion has empowered and motivated their client to springboard themselves into a more fulfilling life.