The word motivation comes from the root word for “motor” or movement and interestingly also the same root for emotion. As a leader you can influence others to actions, you can create an environment that taps into personal growth and achievement, but you really can’t “motivate” a team member to get up and get going.
As a coach, recognizing the motivation is primarily internal is extremely important. You have an opportunity to support your team member or client to discover their inherent, internal motivation, and then tap into that motivation to become their best.
Listening is the first step in coaching someone to find their motivation. Listen to the words being said and the words not being expressed. Listen for patterns that touch on the emotions that move your client. Listen for the change in tone, pitch, and volume when a team member describes events that touched them or a time when they were “in the zone.” This kind of listening takes a lot of energy, but in a sense you are being the “ears” for your team member as they describe what drives them, what brings them joy, what causes them to get going.
Asking powerful questions allows your team member to begin to talk about the things that motivate them. Asking “What is your why?” is really not a powerful question because while most people know it they haven’t articulated it. You, the coach, have an opportunity to allow your team member to describe the feelings, thoughts, and reasons that make up their personal motivation.
Tapping into the internal drivers will help your team members to stay in touch with their personal motivation. Reminding them of their unique motivations creates an environment of personal growth and achievement. Speaking their strengths to them and encouraging them to spend time thinking about their own personal motivation will support them in staying motivated.