A conversation to restore motivation

Written by Matt Somers on . Posted in Coaching Questions


A conversation to restore motivation

A conversation to restore motivation

Remember Ringo from an earlier post (Is it a question of Willingness or Ability)?

We learnt that he is reluctant to delegate and worries over his staff while they do tasks for him. We decided that Ringo fitted the ‘Able but not willing‘ description because he understands how to delegate, but doesn’t put it into practice. How can we motivate him to take up delegation? Pay him more? Threaten him with dire consequences? It seems unlikely that these approaches would do much good in the long term, so let’s see what a coaching conversation might produce. We’ll assume that the subject of Ringo needing to delegate more has arisen at his staff appraisal.




Looking at last year’s notes, I see that my predecessor discussed the idea of you delegating more work. How’s that been going?
Ringo Ok I suppose, but I don’t like doing it if I’m honest. I worry that things will go wrong.
Brain How often does that happen?
Ringo What, how often do things actually go wrong?
Brian Well, we might come on to that, but actually I was wondering how often you worry about delegating
Ringo Oh right. Err, not all the time, you know? It’s just when it’s really important stuff and where we’ll be in trouble if mistakes are made?
Brain How does that make you feel?
Ringo Well it’s not good is it? I mean anyone can delegate if the result doesn’t matter.

Notice how Brian has started at the Reality stage because he wants to understand what has happened with Ringo’s efforts so far. His coaching questions are increasing Ringo’s awareness of his feelings regarding delegation and are uncovering his dilemma of knowing what he should do but worrying about the results.

Brain What would it be like if you didn’t have these problems?
Ringo It would be great, I could get the team doing more of the important stuff and get on with my development projects.
Brian How would you need to be?
Ringo I don’t get you?
Brian How would your behaviour need to change?
Ringo Oh right. I’d need to be more confident in setting out the requirements to the team and I suppose I’d need to be more confident in myself to just let it be once I’ve delegated.
Brain Ok, when would you like to have become this ‘confident delegator’
Ringo Hmmm. Let’s say in 3 months

Brain may feel like going into more detail, but has succeeded already in helping Ringo become aware of a worthwhile aim. We’ll assume that on reflection Brian and Ringo agree that this is a realistic aim and join them at the Options stage.

Brian What could you do then Ringo?
Ringo Well last year they arranged a delegation seminar, but that didn’t really help. I’d covered all the theory before.
Brian So, what else could you try?
Ringo Well this conversation’s helped me realise that the problem is really in my own head; it’s because I worry about the consequences. I reckon I could delegate some of the worry too. I need to make sure that whoever I delegate tasks to is aware of the consequences and that they need to help me come up with a contingency plan in case things do go wrong.

As Ringo has become more aware of the true nature of his issue, his motivation has increased alongside the realization that he can take steps to change his situation. Notice that it has only taken Brian two questions at the Options stage to generate a flow of fresh ideas. They simply need to agree a few action steps and timings at the Way Forward stage and Brian can allow Ringo to go and implement his plan.


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