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/// Nov 22, 2018 8:00:00 AM

How to increase motivation and lead the way with one powerful coaching question

Posted by James Hayes

"He who has a 'why' to live, can bear almost any how" - Nietzsche


How would you like to get inside the heads of each of your team members, and in a single conversation, really know and understand what uniquely drives and motivates them? 

In this article, I am going to share with you ONE simple, and powerful executive coaching question, which will conversationally unlock and give you access to a person's most powerful motivational drives. And here's the thing, it's so simple, you don't need to be an executive coach to use it. 

When I first learnt this technique, I used it to pull myself out of any and every motivational rut in my professional development and work-life. Today, there is no such thing as unmotivated for me. When we use this technique with our executive coaching clients, they reference anywhere between a 100-300% increase in motivation, which by the way, has the lovely side effect of increased productivity and does wonders for their own professional development. 

So if you would like to:

• Know intimately what drives and motivates your key people, so that you can positively influence without having to be an Executive Coach yourself. And;
• Increase motivation, engagement (and therefore productivity) several fold in a single conversation.


Then read on as I share the ONE simple and powerful executive coaching question that will give you the keys to influence, intentionality and professional development.


Executive Coach Strategy - Professional Development through Intentionality


1. Here is Step 1 and the question to burn into your mind:

What is important to you about... "X"? 
(X = a project, working for the company, being in the team, whatever you want to know the underlying motivational drives about)

Here's what you will get as a response - a bunch of surface level answers. 
E.g., working with collaborative people, recognition and reward for effort, the hours, etc
You have probably heard them before. Well, these are meaningful but are only the first layer of "meaning/motivation" and thus the weakest. For ease of reference, we will call these answers collectively 'Y'.

2. Step 2 - Whatever answers you receive (you will probably get multiple), ask - "given all of these answers ('Y'), what do they collectively give you that's even more important?" 

Now you will get layer number 2 - these answers 'Y2' are more meaningful to the person, because they are what make the previous answers 'Y' valuable. 
E.g., opportunity to achieve, environment where I can excel, work/life balance, etc


3. Step 3 is to repeat Step 2 , and ask again "Given all of these new 'Y2' answers, what's important to you about them? What do they give you that's even more important?"
E.g., reach my peak, leave a legacy for myself and family, etc

Keep doing this, it might be 3-5 levels of repetition - and here's what will happen:


➢ The answers will become fewer, and more abstract until there is only one or two answers. The recursive language will tip you off that you are nearing the end.
➢ Those one to two answers, will be the highest, most meaningful motivations/values for the person that are driving all of the others.
➢ You will often see the person's physiology change as they access their highest motivations/values. This is because what is meaningful, is emotional. 


From here you are done, and you now have two results.


o You know what is deeply important to the person you are talking to.
o THEY KNOW what is deeply important to them, and that knowledge is powerfully motivating, as it now connects to the context that you originally asked about.


(Note - For this to work effectively, a level of relationship and rapport is necessary, for the person to want to share).


Want to know why this works in three sentences?


Because as human beings we think in logical levels (Alfred Korzibsky 1939). The higher logical levels, moderate and govern the lower logical levels (in other words, the highest value at the top, drives all of the values/motivations below it). At each level when you ask "what is important to you about X" you are uncovering higher level drives, values and motivations. This is because the question goes 'meta' or 'up' to the next logical level ABOUT "X".


Congratulations - If you made it to the bottom of this article you now have a powerful tool from the world of executive coaching in your professional development toolkit, and have a better understanding then most on how to get to the heart of motivation and productivity with your team. Thanks for reading how to increase motivation in your team 100-300% with ONE simple, and powerful Executive Coaching question. ☺

 

FURTHER READING
Developing Your Emotional and Social Intelligence