Uh-oh! I’m about to break all the rules. I said I would tell you how to motivate people, but I’m about to turn that concept completely upside down. Are you ready to learn the truth about motivation?
Time for the real truth: You can’t motivate someone else.
Sorry, I said it, but don't worry. There are plenty of other ways you can guide your clientele to live the life their soul intended™, and here, I’ll give you a quick overview of how to use them.
As a Life Coach, it’s not your job to motivate. It’s to inspire people, support people, and hold them accountable when they need it.
Who am I to make these bold claims about human motivation? Rhonda Britten here. 👋🏻
I’ve been a professional Life Coach for over 25 years, starting at a time when the industry didn’t even exist. I created the Fearless Living Training Program based on decades of learning how to crack the secret code to fear. I also developed the Life Coach Certification Program (LCCP), which has been called The Ivy League of Life Coach Training.
Enough about me. You came here to learn how to motivate people—or, at least, encourage, guide, support, and hold people accountable. In this post, I’m going to share some lifelong insights into helping people become unstuck. The strategies I’ll share will help you bring long-term progress to your clients. Benefits that will far outlast simple motivation tactics! 😉
How To Motivate People: What Motivation Gets Wrong
Motivating someone is a temporary, short-term strategy, and we're looking for long-term results. When someone is looking for motivation, they're actually looking for something outside of themselves—an external source that will get them over procrastination, off the couch, and into their life. But in reality, what’s keeping them on the couch is much deeper and ingrained than a simple lack of motivation.
When someone thinks they have a lack of motivation, it means they are being held down by an invisible wall of fear. It’s their deep, core fear that’s holding them in place and keeping them stuck. My fear of failure kept me from getting an education and pursuing a career. I was afraid I wasn’t smart enough, that I would fail, and that it was ME who wasn’t good enough.
I didn’t need a little motivation to turn my life around. I need much more than that. I needed to understand where all of my doubts were coming from before I could reframe those excuses I told myself over and over again into potential.
Your clients won’t be able to access their passion, their purpose, their desire, their wants, and whatever else until they reframe their inner fears.
It takes personal acceptance, self-awareness, and practiced positive psychology for someone to reignite their passion and alter that all-too-human behavior. Oh, and a whole lot of hard work, too. The client has to want to make the change and want to put in their best effort.
You can’t be your client’s motivator. To achieve real success, human beings need their motivation to come from within. It must be intrinsic motivation (motivation that comes from inside) over extrinsic motivation (motivation that comes from outside.)
Extrinsic motivators are fine to get you to work on time, but they’re not going to help you break through the root of a behavior or thinking pattern. A client needs to be intrinsically motivated in order to spark real change and improve their wellbeing.
You are there to guide them on their journey and give them the tools to succeed. You will ask the right questions at the right time and inspire them to do what they can, when they can, the best they can.
Strategies That Produce Better Results
So now that I’ve told you what doesn’t work, I better tell you what does. I’ll share a few of my favorite pieces of advice for inspiring clients to break through that invisible—yet totally crippling—wall of fear.
Help Clients Identify What’s Keeping Them Stuck
Identifying your core fear, the invisible thing inside of you that’s keeping you stuck, is a key step to living a fearless life™. Help your clients figure out what it is inside them that’s really holding them back.
The first step to helping them identify their core fear is to encourage your clients to become aware of how they respond to fear. We call those fear responses. A fear response could show up as a fear of letting go, a fear of change, a fear of failure, or a fear of not being good enough.
There are so many different types of fear responses, but they all lead to the same problems. They keep you stuck. They keep you from putting yourself out there, from trying new things, from having healthy relationships, and from having faith in yourself. These fears say “you can’t succeed,” “You’re not smart enough,” “No one loves you,” or “You’re not good enough.”
Simply taking the first step of identifying your own fear responses brings relief and decreases stress and negative self-talk. Understanding how they drive you is an important step to keeping fear from sitting in the driver’s seat. And if you’re no longer listening to the fear that keeps you comfortable and stagnant, you’re closer to igniting your passion for growth.
Once your client realizes how they respond to fear through their fear responses, they can then unearth their core fear, the fear that is at the heart of all their fear responses. You are there to guide them, help them understand the power of their thoughts, and ask pointed questions that will help them progress. Help them unlock their core fear by asking about their expectations and excuses. What common complaints do they repeat over and over again? These complaints point to what they are actually afraid of.
“Complaining advertises your fears” - Rhonda Britten
When your client is willing to feel and face those tough feelings and deeply learn about themselves, that’s when the real change will happen. And that’s much stronger than any short-term motivator. Help clients get to the root cause of what’s holding them back by first helping them become aware of their fear responses. Next, help them identify the core fear that is the cause of them all. By working through this process, you will be able to fundamentally shift how they see themselves and the world around them.
This small point just barely dips our toes into the waters of my Fearless Living Training Program. If you haven’t already, sign up to learn about the power of the Wheel of Fear, including how cracking the secret code to fear can help you advance your coaching career. It will help you truly get to the root core of what’s holding your clients back.
Help Clients Build a Gratitude Journal
Gratitudes are so powerful—plus, they’re intrinsic. They provide positivity, motivation, and purpose from within. Help your clients understand the importance of gratitude and teach them how to reframe a complaint into gratitude.
A gratitude doesn’t have to be anything huge and meaningful. It can be simple, so long as it’s a specific gratitude. “I am grateful for the sun” is not specific, and it doesn’t recall a particular memory or positive emotions. WHY are you grateful for the sun? Did the sun make you warm when you were cold? Did the sun glisten on the petals of the flowers in your backyard this morning?
When we write gratitudes here at Fearless Living, we begin with:
Today, I am grateful for…
The key again is being specific. When you’re specific, you’re effortlessly rewiring your brain. As I always say, general gratitudes leads to a general, generic life. Being specific will shift the way you see the world because it changes your filtering system. So be specific for maximum impact.
To make the most of gratitude, ask your clients to contribute to their gratitude journal on a daily basis. Five gratitudes a day is best, but that may be difficult to begin with. Even one gratitude a day is a good start, and doing that action every day will make it a habit after a couple of months of practice.
Help Clients Set Intentions Over Affirmations
Affirmations have helped a lot of people, and if they’ve worked for you or your clients, that’s great news! But many people struggle to gain real-life progress from affirmations alone.
I spent years hoping one day my affirmations would materialize.
“I am in a happy, healthy relationship.”
“I am in a happy, healthy relationship.”
“I am in a happy, healthy relationship.”
It didn’t matter how many times I said those words, those words alone weren’t going to find me a meaningful relationship or get me over my own fear of commitment. Affirmations didn’t yield results. I was stuck looking outside myself when I needed to look inward. I needed to set real intentions.
Help your clients move away from the elusive magic of affirmations to real intentions that put them in control. Help them look inside themselves instead of outside.
The key words in an Intention Statement are WILLING and PRACTICE.
“I am WILLING to PRACTICE speaking better about myself around other people.”
“I am WILLING to PRACTICE letting go of being right all the time.”
“I am WILLING to PRACTICE being honest with myself and those around me.”
This proactive, empowering approach will get your clients to think about the change they want to see as only being possible by being accountable to themselves. It’s a process-driven approach that will lead to more meaningful results than affirmations or simple goal setting techniques.
Motivation is a word that’s tossed around a lot, and it’s big in the coaching industry. Yet, the idea of motivation fails to recognize the deeper layers behind why someone isn’t motivated in the first place. As a Life Coach, help your client discover the real reason they are lacking motivation. Only then will they be able to break free and manage the fears that are holding them back.
You’ll Learn So Much More From the Life Coaching Certification Program (LCCP)
My nine-month Life Coaching Certification Program (LCCP) is designed to help you become the Life Coach that everybody wants. It's a comprehensive program with a monthly structure that can be completed while maintaining a full-time job, so you can fit it into your everyday life, no matter what you already have on the go.
What sets our program apart from other certifications is the real-life training we provide. Our coaching students receive 18 one-on-one mentoring sessions and 75 real client hours. We make sure you emerge confident and ready to begin your life coaching career with support to guide you as you set up your very own business. Check out our coaching perks, such as the Master Coach Mindset™ Podcast, and the Fearbuster Coaching™ Toolkit.
Take the first step towards achieving your certification, an important step that will bring you a little closer to a meaningful, fulfilling career.