Coaching Tips: How to Motivate The Stubborn

Stubborn clients, employees, or athletes can be difficult to work with, so here’s some coaching tips (how to motivate) these people… If you know why they are being stubborn and how to get through to them, you could find yourself with someone who will shine whether you are coaching them one on one, in the gym, in the office, or are dealing with a whole team of different, difficult personalities.

Coaching tips How to Motivate

Why are You so Stubborn?

Uncovering the root cause of your client’s behavior is the first step. Are you getting resistance because you are pushing too hard or is the client? You might find someone pushing back because they don’t feel competent enough to move on to a new level or to learn a new skill. People who are perfectionists also tend to be very stubborn and will completely stall out on their progress if they are not absolutely sure that they have mastered what they need to.

Make sure that you are watching for signs of over training or over-coaching with these types of stubborn people because they will be at the highest risk for injuries as they continue to push even when they are over tired, overworked, or even injured.

When Practice Stops Making Perfect

Stubborn athletes may also get in a rut especially with something they just learned. Everyone else on the team is ready to move on but they want to keep doing this thing that they are either very good or very bad at, over and over. Make sure that you let them know that in a team situation that team skills are worked on as a team, and try to redirect them to the new skill. Remember, though, that stubborn people can also be easily frustrated, so your approach can be the difference between success and failure… for both of you.

The right style of motivation coaching is critical here. Remind your coaching client that repetition can mean higher risk for burnout, or injury, as well as a higher risk of getting bored. It can also cement the bad habits that they are learning, especially if they have failed to get proper form or technique in the first few tries. If they won’t learn with adequate execution, it is better to stop until the right approach is achieved.

Coaching Tips: How to Motivate – Remember Your Attitude is Contagious

A good coach can bring a team together, no matter how they are playing. A good coach plus a bad result means hope for a better day the next day. A bad coach and a bad practice means a continued bad streak. If you shout at your team (or clients), it is important that you try to moderate that. Shouting “heads up, Murphy!” before a player gets beaned is one thing. Shouting because Murphy failed to catch a ball is another. The former could be helpful, but the latter is just pure punishment.

Work to create a sense of openness and team spirit as well as accountability from everyone on the team, yourself included. You want everyone to feel as if they are contributing and that not one person is “carrying” the team. Group sessions should benefit the team as a whole. Let everyone know how important they are and try to work with small groups and individual people especially if you see them struggling with certain skills or issues.

Finally, remember that sometimes people are stubborn for no reason at all. Let them know what you expect of them as a team member and then hold everyone to that same standard. At the end of the day, all coaching is some form of behavior coaching, and a little accountability coaching can go a long way.

By the way… you’re invited to claim your FREE step-by-step “ Master Coach Blueprint” video toolkit. Just go HERE now to get your master coach blueprint videos.


Annie Grace Wilson
Guest Writer, Coaches Training Blog Community

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