Thursday February 3, 2011



Lifestyle Development 

Motivating Change

Lesson One: Pay attention to the other person

Submitted by Jack Bass


he most common requests I hear as a consultant:

“ I want you to get my salesman/child/partner - to - stop/start/change the way they/he/she …”

The fact is that bad habits can be changed in others and in yourself. People can be motivated to more acceptable behavior and better choices. Employees can move from disinterested clock watchers to involved . energetic and effective team members. Teens can move from insolent ,non-communicative antisocial drop-outs to involved , respectful and achieving young adults. Alright , you have the picture of who and what you want changed – but that is only one-half of the equation. Before using the techniques discussed here you’ll have to be certain:

  • That your assessment is correct

  • That you are not presenting a comparable list of faults i.e. that you do not have the same traits that you are seeking to remove in another person. Start the change with yourself before you

  • can direct another person to seek assistance.

  • I am going to presume your assessment is accurate and I will address the ways of going about motivating change . I do mean motivating rather than manipulation although many techniques may appear to be the same. It is your motivation that makes a distinction in that you want to achieve positive results in the life or lifestyle of the person with whom you are interacting.

    The Process Made Plain

    When dealing with clients in Industry or private therapy or group therapy I tell them directly what the process or pathway is that we are jointly going to follow. This , I believe lowers the suspicion that they are going to be subject to hidden forces, tricks or clever manipulation. This disclosure builds trust and allows the client to participate in examining the issues and choices he will be facing.

    Generally our path is in three stages:

    1) Client rapport – I seek to establish a frame of open communication about myself and my background and expertise as it relates to the client. I then ask the client to talk about themselves and what they are seeking .We are seeking to build a level of trust before asking for more intimate information on their background.

    2)With open communication we then seek background information on the family and childhood incidents and memories. Often behavior is rooted in the model the parents presented or in reaction to trauma. These memories can be positive or negative.

    By seeking and identifying patterns we can see how the past influences the present. The client may be totally unaware of the patterns or unaware of the influences they exert on the decisions and choices he makes today.

    3) In the third step we move to Analyzing Alternate Behaviors and Choices.  The alternates are hopefully more beneficial to the life and well being of the client.

    The choices are hers /his to make but we want to facilitate and direct the client to action. This is not meant to be an educational exercise- we are seeking action.

    If We Have A System That Works Why Do Companies Fail To Motivate Employees ?

    A survey completed in 2010 concluded that 60 % of employees rated their bosses as difficult to deal with or with characteristics that marked them as difficult people. Simply put, most managers are not trained in communication or people skills. Managers are not often removed because of a lack of those skills . Rather managers are rated on output and profit – the bottom line - as compared to a subjective measurement of how they get along with and motivate their staff.

    A manager without “ people skills “ may well retain his job and be promoted . That is not a script that will result in change in the workplace. Employees are seldom asked to evaluate their superiors. Dissatisfied employees vote with their feet – they move on and the unskilled boss stays on.

    Secondly, the skills required are not easily implemented . Counseling and interaction with employees in the workplace would require several steps:

  • Assessment

  • Training to meet the gaps between the assessment and the desired skill levels

  • Time and money allocated to the training

  • Assessment of the effect of the program

  • Adjustment of the program following the second assessment step

  • The Need Is There But Not Recognized as A Company Issue

    To begin with we’d have to be in a company where these skills were recognized as being a requirement as to how the company does business. In most firms lip service is paid to those skills but allocating widespread training in counseling is rare. Employees are left to find that training themselves and professional level training is both expensive and costly. Most larger companies allocate a Human Resources budget component to assessment at hiring or evaluation.


    Most smaller companies leave Human resources to the office manager and that generally is limited to hiring and firing. There may be money for intervention therapy when problems occur in the workplace. Sending an employee to crisis counseling after he punches the supervisor isn’t much of a model.

    More often larger companies have a budget component where an employee can chose training. They may choose a course or seminar in motivation etc. – that is one she thins is worthy of study - or they may apply for a seminar in computer assisted design. It is more likely knowledge of CAD ( computer assisted design )will result in promotion and salary increases .This leaves the training in communications, motivation and teamwork far down the line on the company and employee priority lists.

    Time Can Be A Factor

    Thirdly , the process of moving an employee to better choices may be a very long process – although the time line does not have to be measured in years. Choice Therapy involves very quick decision making to make a difference as it focuses on the here and now – not a review of early childhood or the history of relationships and past trauma. Often work with employees who have had serious trauma such as abuse in their childhood is not often viewed as the task of an employer. The long term therapy is largely regarded as the responsibility of the individual to seek help to work out their own problems.


    Money Can Be An Issue

    Employers are more likely to support – with company time and money – short term training to encourage employees to become more efficient in sales, teamwork and supervision. These courses offer some of the same skills any individual needs in the longer term growth described above but they won’t result in the depth of skills an employee requires to deal with serious issues for long term / permanent benefit.


    About Jack Bass, B.A., LL.B.

    Jack A. Bass, B.A. LL.B is one of Canada's foremost business and lifestyle coaches. Jack's education includes degrees in Economics and Law. He has completed (graduating at the top of his class) the securities course as part of a large American retail broker. His public service work includes the roles as government advisor to Native Indian Bands as well as being the administrator to one of the largest First Nations in British Columbia Canada. He has also served as the Executive

    Director for non-profits seeking to develop downtown business/retail cores and for community organizations lending to high-risk business start-ups.

    He has worked with a variety of small and medium sized firms to help develop employee performance in addition to working with individuals to help them realize their own great potential.

    His books are published by Collier Macmillan including:

    "How to make Real Money in Real Estate" and "How to Send Your Money out to Work"

    For more information on the coaching sessions contact Jack by e-mail here or visit his website at: or call him at: 1-604-858-3202


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