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As the old adage goes : “It needs two hands to clap”. One cannot discount the importance of the motivation to learn and perform better on the part of the person being coached. However brilliant the coach may be, at the end of the day, results come from those being coached. These results are based on their motivation.

Both the fear of being left behind and the desire for greater rewards are potential motivators. Here are a few cases that come to mind:

  • Peer Pressure Works : Every member of a team was good at outdoor sport. Team gatherings therefore tended to be “sportsy”- with the accent on trekking, a quick game of im promptu football etc. A young man ,keen to belong, realised that his lack of interest in team sport was coming in the way of his acceptance in the team. The next time, he plunged right in to the game. He didn’t do well at all but they appreciated his efforts and began to include him in other activities as well.
  • Opening a Roadblock: A software professional with 5 years experience was told that she could not expect to get ahead in her career unless she became adept at managing others. She might not relish the prospect but the prospect of being overlooked for advancement was stronger and she made special efforts to learn how to deal with people instead of merely looking after herself.
  • Better Performance & Higher Rewards : It’s simple. The moment you know that you will earn more when you turn in better performance, you will be motivated to do even better. Rewards are not restricted to cash awards. they can come in the form of recognition too.
  • Do or Die: When one is forced into a corner with just option- learn this or pay the price, people make an extraordinary effort to learn something they have stayed away from or change their outlook. A manager I know is now a seasoned international traveller -at home in several continents but there was a time when he almost got overlooked for advancement because of his marked reluctance to leave the city he had lived in for many years. I remember asking him: “Do you want to be in this city for ever at the cost of your career”?

As you can see, if people being coached are motivated to perform-the coaching becomes that much more effective.
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This is the 83 rd of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success.