If you work with people to train their dogs, it’s inevitable that you eventually are going to run someone who just doesn’t seem to want to do what you are suggesting. Sometimes it’s because they have a prior belief about training and – like all of us – they look for evidence that supports their beliefs and reject or ignore anything that doesn’t. So be prepared to leave some leave-behind materials with several links to credible third-party information. ScienceDirect provides access to over 2000 academic science and medical journals and is a good place to start.
But sometimes people just do not seem motivated. There could be any number of reasons, but in many cases there they stem from a more unconscious factor. In a previous article we discuss psychological reactance and how it can undermine client compliance to a dog training or behavior program. In this series of articles we outline a process that can help with that.
Step 3: Ask them to rate from 1 to 10, how ready are they to change/do/act: one not being ready at all, and 10 being total ready.
This is pretty straightforward. But you may need to make it okay for them to answer honestly. If they have hired you they may be quick to say a 10 because that is what they think they should answer. It’s better that they think about how they feel rather than attempt to please you (or their spouse!).
You can tell them that the number doesn’t matter because this is about them and what is important right now is what they want. Reiterate that regardless of what they think they should do; the choice of what they end up doing will always be theirs and that is important to explore.
Pantalon says this step helps you and them gauge their motivation. My own experience is that it’s can act like a kind of gateway to getting in touch with yourself because often the question seems to activate more personal thinking. Often we don’t even recognize the feelings we have: we just act on them. Putting a number to it requires a bit of reflection – more reflection than asking why they might want to do this. And getting to the heart of things is just what we want.
In reality the number really doesn’t matter all that much. According to Pantalon, studies have indicated that it has virtually no bearing on whether they will do it or not, surprisingly. But the more honestly they answer the more in touch with their own motivations they will be.
If you want to learn more, check out Instant Influence: How to Get Anyone to Do Anything–Fast. Panatlon discusses in much more detail the language that can help or undermine motivation, how to influence people who don’t want to change, how to identify change and when to move on, how to make an action plan, as well as a whole lot of suggestion on how to deal with various responses.
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