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08 Dec, 2009

Unlocking motivation in coaching

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coaching Articles

Mention the two words ‘motivation’ and ‘coaching’ to some people and they think of ‘rah-rah’, Tony Robbins’ style ‘exhibitions’ of walking on hot coals or being given endless tips about PMA (Positive Mental Attitude). Perish the thought!  Whilst each of these probably has their place, and thousands of people have no doubt benefited from the experience, what we mean by focusing on motivation in coaching is much more subtle, much more memorable and, so our clients tell us, much more useful.

Over the years, it has struck us that the key to personal change and growth (which let’s face it, is what coaching is all about), is motivation. Unless the client has the motivation to change, they won’t. No matter how many hours you spend discussing new ways of working, new attitudes, raising self-awareness or even helping the development of new behaviours, without the client’s heart being in it, the change will not stick.  And for a coach, that’s frustrating; for the client, a waste of time and investment.

So what is motivation and why is it so important?  In its simplest definition it is ‘having a motive (reason) to act in a particular way’.  It would therefore follow that by understanding someone’s motivation, you, and they, would understand why they are driven to do the things they do.  It starts to unravel why people make the choices they do, why they are attracted to work in certain environments more than others and why they leave undone the same type of work again and again.  By understanding this, you hold an important key to what drives behaviour and how that is influenced by underpinning values, beliefs, self-concepts and personality.  It is powerful stuff.

So if it is so valuable, why don’t we hear more about it in coaching?

We believe that up until recently, the subject of motivation has been difficult to talk about in any useful way.  Questions such as ‘How motivated are you?’ and ‘What motivates you?’ should be simple enough to answer, but our experience is that the ensuing conversation often lacks depth and therefore meaning.

The reason for this, we believe, is that most people have not had a common language of motivation.  Let’s take an example.

A motivator such as ‘money’ has in large part been used to have the same meaning for each individual. The reality is different, however.  For example, for some, money itself is a real motivator; the opportunity to simply have more of it will drive them to work longer, harder, faster.  Commission structures are likely to work well for them.  For others, it is not so much the money which is important, but what money buys them. For example, it might buy them freedom to pay off their mortgage early or the security that bills can be paid. It might buy them the opportunity to buy the latest gadget or the faster car so they can be noticed amongst their friends.  In other words, money may be important for a number of people, but it is the meaning they put on it which may be more significant, not least because these underlying motivators of freedom, security and being noticed could better be met by other methods.

A good coach will be able to uncover some of this meaning, but it takes valuable time and can still be a difficult, abstract concept for many clients to discuss.  That’s where Motivational Maps™ comes in.

Motivational Maps™ is a diagnostic tool used to identify the top three Motivators of an individual and their lowest Motivator.  What’s more, the tool measures motivation.  This powerful tool provides a new language of motivation by introducing nine key motivators at work, grouped in three clusters (or tendencies).

For more information on Motivational Maps™ and how this tool can transform coaching sessions, listen into the virtual seminar being held on 8th December 2009 at 8pm. The dial in details can be found within the members area of the website.

Jan Lonnen, the Qualifications Manager at The Coaching Academy will be chairing this virtual seminar with Lynne Bell as the guest speaker. Lynne can be contacted via The Coaching Academy through the email address.

3 Responses to "Unlocking motivation in coaching"

1 | Jacqueline Pigdon

December 8th, 2009 at 11:41 am


I agree discovering where ones motivation to action or in-action is very important towards greater understanding of self.

We kick start our coaching programs with unique spiritual insights so we get to the core of clients challenges, issues and motivators in the very first session.

Live Your Best Life!

Jacqueline Pigdon
Existentialist Spiritual Coach

2 | Martin Biginelli

December 8th, 2009 at 3:22 pm


Response to Unlocking motivation in coaching.

Understanding what motivates an individual is a key part to unlocking a persons full potential. And some people are confused and unsure what does really motivate them!

Looking at someone’s current life style and pursuits, against what they want out of life, .i.e. their dreams or ambitions will help to reveal certain triggers and reactions people undertake at a particular time in their lives.

By understanding this can enlighten a coachee to see what is the belief behind the action the take. Because values and beliefs as we all know play a major part in our decision making and therefore sit alongside or act as a potential barrier to what we actually want.

3 | Debby Cozins

December 28th, 2009 at 10:57 am


Tony Robbins is really not about positive mental attitude. All his programs give both insight into human behaviour and strategies for growth and action to goals. His philosophy is fundamentally based in a person’s reasons for change being their key to success. He does little one to one coaching now but when he did the client had to convince him that their reasons were strong enough before he would take them on.

I have several of his programs and if I hadn’t discovered coaching through him I wouldn’t be training with The Coaching Academy! I would recommend any of his programs ahead of any other self development material I have come across.

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