3 Ways to Help Motivate Your Coaching Clients! | By Ruby McGuire

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.

Have you heard this old proverb?

It's especially true when it comes to motivating clients: with all of the coaxing in the world you can't force someone to take an opportunity or action. If you've ever had an unmotivated client, you'll know what I mean!

Ultimately, our clients need to be motivated in order to take action. And there will always be something that gets in the way.

Your client might start off feeling very motivated and then their mind-monkeys start kicking in and self-sabotaging. Their little chimps start telling them they're not good enough, they're scared, the work's not perfect, so they go off and do everything instead of the goal they said they wanted to focus on.

Maybe you've even found yourself doing it too (I know I have). It might be that you start checking Facebook 20 times a day, or reading random LinkedIn posts, maybe doing the washing-up, reading the paper or walking the dog instead of the task in hand?

As time passes, the goal doesn't seem quite so enticing. Perhaps the hard work that's needed to achieve the goal starts to kick in, and there are now a few more ways to lose motivation.

As coaches we can only motivate our clients to a certain point. After that they need to take responsibility and be committed to achieving their goal. We can't achieve their goals for them.

We can however, work with them to feel more motivated. Here are 3 ways to help:

1. Help Your Client Make a Decision that Aligns with their WHY!

When working with my clients on visibility, one of the top tips I share is for them to make the decision to be visible. Because when we make a decision, we cut off all other ideas in pursuit of that one direction.

When our clients make a decision to be more visible in their business, they are committing to a course of action. That commitment, with the usual goal, plan, milestones etc. can be a big driving force for them staying motivated to achieve it.

I love this extract from Susan Jeffers in her book, Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway:

"Each experience is a lesson to be learned. If you choose Path A, you will learn one set of lessons. If you choose Path B, you will learn a different set of lessons. It really doesn't matter. If you take Path A, you get to taste the strawberries. If you take Path B, you get to taste the blueberries. If you hate both strawberries and blueberries you can find another path."

Reminding your clients of this will enable them to have more freedom around the decision they make, knowing they can still change direction if it doesn't work out as planned.

But it's more than just a decision

A decision on its own isn't enough. They first need to know WHY they want that particular outcome.

For my clients, when we explore being more visible in their businesses, we also explore WHY they want to run a business. Why is it important to them to do that particular work with clients? Connecting to the WHY is powerful, and creates a strong foundation behind any decision that is made.

When we know our WHY, it can be the difference between make or break.

Our WHY is what motivates us to get out of bed when a duvet day is way more appealing. When clients know their 'why' they can remind themselves of why they're going through this, what's on the other side of their goal, why they should swap their PJ's for their day clothes and drag themselves out of bed.

What can you do to motivate your clients? Do some brainstorming with your client to help them figure out the right direction and goals for them. Help them understand the WHY underneath their goals. What outcomes are they looking for? Then help them make a CLEAR decision, that aligns with their WHY.

2. Understand Your Clients' Motivational Drivers - Extrinsic or Intrinsic

You'll have heard about extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.

Extrinsic motivation is where you're driven by things outside of you; such as money, celebrity status, praise etc. So if you're extrinsically motivated you're more likely to be highly motivated by getting thousands of likes on your Facebook page for example. You don't mind if you don't enjoy the process, your drivers are the external reward or outcome.

Conversely, with intrinsic motivation, you're more driven by internal things such as a feeling of accomplishment. Perhaps you run a coaching business because you love helping people reach their true potential. The reward is the thing you're doing.

When working with a client, you'll need to consider what's important to them. And while in different situations we're motivated differently, often one will be a dominant driver.

A couple of examples: 

If I'm working with a client that is extrinsically motivated who wants to earn money and status, it's very easy for me to motivate them by working with them on actions that will produce money, raise their status, credibility and standing in the business world. We could explore how to write great content to showcase their work, run their own podcast shows to get that go-to-expert status, and build online programmes and coaching packages that serve their clients while also filling up their extrinsic motivation pot.

With a client that's intrinsically motivated, who wants to help the world, they're less concerned with money or status. Yes, they need an income, but it's not their main driver.

Sadly I see this a lot because it's very common in coaching. I say sadly, because it can cost coaches a lot of heartache. We become a coach with the intention to earn money by helping others. Then we find out that our desire to help others isn't always enough to pay the bills... To motivate coaches, talking about money doesn't help because money isn't their motivation. Their business is their passion, their life purpose. The money is just a bonus (even though we all need money to live!). With someone like this you need to build a plan that helps them make money - but that focuses on the link between the money they make and helping others.

What can you do to motivate your clients? Understand the difference between these two types of motivation, and understand which drives your clients! Then you can work on creating a plan based around what truly drives them.

3. Fake it to Make it - and Do it Anyway!

When I worked in the weight loss industry, I worked with many motivated people that wanted to lose weight. And there were many that struggled with motivation. At times it can feel like you'll never hit your goal - it seems a million miles away. Weight loss can be a long journey which, having lost 4 stone (56 lbs) myself, I know all too well.

What I observed was that if I could get people to notice the results of taking action, a deeper motivation would then kick in.

So we'd talk about following their plan strictly for just a couple of weeks, even though they didn't want to. Essentially they were faking that they had the motivation by taking action on their goal anyway, whether they felt like it or not. This included things like not having the extra piece of cake, eating smaller portions or adding an extra 30 minutes of activity into their day.

Do it just for 2 weeks. Do it anyway. Just get started. Fake it.

And when they "did it anyway", faking their motivation, they lost some weight. This was enough to be inspired all over again to achieve that fabulous bigger goal for themselves.

I've used this same method many times with clients who get stuck in their businesses and don't want to take action; it's about getting clients to take that first step. Then, as they start to gain momentum, their motivation to keep going kicks in.

What can you do to motivate your clients? Get your clients "doing it anyway", even if they don't feel motivated yet. They can fake their motivation, just for now. Get them moving enough so they can see some results, and see the possibilities just ahead. Then help them see those results - and use those to motivate your clients to the next step, and the next.

So there you have it, 3 ways to motivate your clients:

  1. Help Your Client Make A Decision That Aligns With Their WHY, so they're committed to one clear path.
  2. Understand Your Clients' Motivational Drivers - Extrinsic or Intrinsic so you'll know how best to motivate them.
  3. Get them to Fake It To Make It - and Do It Anyway so that as they take action the motivation will kick back in when they start getting results.

Final Thought: There will always be those clients that just aren't ready to be coached and make changes in their lives. They 'think' they want to achieve a particular goal, but they don't have the willingness to make change or take action right now. Remember, you can take a horse to water, but you can't make him drink!

Ruby McGuireContributing Author: Ruby McGuire, Visibility Diva, aka Queen of Connection, is a mum, wife, cappuccino lover and introvert. She helps unseen solopreneurs step up and shine on/offline so they can make money doing what they love. She's a Co-Author of Awaken Your True Potential, a Trainer, EFT Practitioner, writes for International Coaching News and heads up Business Support for IIC & M's Invenio Magazine. If you liked this article you might like her podcast show, Rock Your Fabulous Biz. You can find Ruby at her pretty online home, www.rubymcguire.com on Facebook. Failing that she may be satisfying her obsession of pinning on Pinterest!

So what about you? Are you ready to start working on your mindset, and stop being invisible? Let's work on visibility to get you more profitable. It's time that you and your fabulous business were seen, both on and offline. If fear is the thing holding you back, then you'll love my new programme, Fearless Visibility Divas – it's time to become a fearlessly visible, fiercely profitable, and hugely impactful solopreneur.

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