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Saturday, 18 September 2010

Coaching Difficult People or The non-Learner


anxiety male


You deal with Awareness,
with an 'informational' basis
NOT an 'opinion' basis.

“This is where you are now.
If you continue without change this is where you will be in three, six, or twelve months and these will be the consequences.”



If the Client remains a non-Learner, then check for anger or anxiety.

  • Too familiar with the situation to change
  • Too negative to look for new ideas
  • Can’t see any alternatives
  • Avoids discomfort of reflecting on issues
  • Avoids risk of failure
  • Tentative approach makes failure likely
  • Self-justified
  • Blames others for problem
  • Denial problem exists
  • Complacent
  • Low personal standards
  • Defeatist attitude


Anxiety or Anger have to be dealt with emotionally, this is what the Client ‘feels’.

 These clients are                                NOT suitable for Coaching.


Instead, if you are able and willing,
the Manager has to take a COUNSELLING Role.




 Counselling is a subset of Leadership Skills,

it is a set of techniques, skills and attitudes to help people (Clients) manage their own problems,
using their own resources.  Managers should at least be able to offer ‘Basic Counselling Skills’ in essence that means Active Listening:

I think I understand what you are saying and I accept it at face value.

e.g. A sales person who will not give presentations to groups larger than 2 or 3 prospects. They self admit to a “Fear” of ‘Public Speaking’.
They cannot and should not be forced into doing large group presentations, nor should they be fired. This phobia can usually be overcome (or greatly mitigated) by a skilled counsellor.

‘Lay Counsellors’ will have received at least 60 hours of training and supervised practice under CPD. If you are untrained or unskilled as a Counsellor and see indications of anger or anxiety as the basis to non-Learning, then refer the Client to a skilled person in HR for further support and work with them for a resolution.


Complacency, low personal standards and defeatist Attitude

These present the most difficult challenge to the Manager/Coach. 
Indeed, they directly challenge the Manager/Coach’s own core ability
to motivate people and achieve results through others.
Personally, I use the “Expectancy Model” of Motivation (Google it for details)
I then review the following checklist,
  • Have I been clear about the task and the standards that I expected?
  • Have I ensured the Client has the skill, knowledge and resource to complete the task?
  • Have I been recognising their effort for partial success results with Praise and Support?
  • Have I Publicly recognised and rewarded their complete success in other tasks?
  • Have I Privately reprimanded or punished their wilful poor results or lack of effort?
  • Have I asked another Manager/Coach for their help and their opinion?
Sometimes, despite all our efforts, it does not work out,
persistence can become stubbornness,
and one of my basic values is Nothing in excess”,   I know when to give up!

The non-Learner, if also a poor performer, is a drag on key resource.
If you are unable to see some change in four weeks, and a resolution in twelve weeks,
then you must consider their, or your own, position on the sales team.

BMAC Sales Consultants have Success Models and Behaviour Based Models for
Coaching and Counselling.  BMAC run “Coaching the Coach” training and development, and Counselling Skills for Managers and Coaches both training and development as well as offering Support and Counselling for Trainers, Coaches and Managers on Handling non-Learners.

Contact for details

  I do not challenge what you say your feelings are.”

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