Saul asks: How do you coach an employee that doesn’t want to be coached, but is part of his PDP obligation to be coached for 4 months? What power suggestions or questions would you use in this situation to motivate behavior or start thinking about the pressure to change?
Tawny Lees, COO of Mariposa responds:
Tough situation! As a coach, you know that openness to the coaching process is a pre-requisite to it being effective. So hopefully you can enroll this employee before committing to the engagement!
I suggest you start with open questions and deep listening to truly understand the resistance. “Tell me about you…tell me about what’s going around here…tell me about this PDP plan…”
Often the resistance is fear of the unknown, and an assumption that the coach is working for “others” who have an agenda. Establish rapport and explain the coaching process/relationship (including confidentiality) using positive language like “you and I would focus on what’s most important and helpful for you” or “clients use me as an objective sounding board as they work on their goals and tackle tough problems.” Address any specific objections, questions or worries. Your objective would be to help the employee see that you are there to help him/her be successful. Period.
If/when you see an opening, you could try specific questions about goals and begin motivating. Here are some ideas:
- “What are your toughest challenges right now?” “What would it be like if you were able to handle those with more ease?”
- “I find most people like to continually grow and stretch themselves. Tell me about anything at which you are currently trying to get better?” “What benefits would come from getting better at ____ ?”
- “What could we work on that would have a big impact on your career/work life?”
Good luck! Let us know if we can help further. More on rapport and assessment questions can be found in our ITM coaching model.