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 6: Ask: why are those positive outcomes important to them.
As Pantalon says, this is the opportunity to have your client dig as deep as they can for the most person reasons to take action. But usually the first responses are typical responses that lie on the surface of what people actually feel. By digging deeper, you can often help your client discover the really meaningful reasons why certain outcomes are important to them. Discovering personal reasons for doing things is at the heart of internal motivation. And remember, this is not about manipulation. You are helping them discover their own reasons why they want this.
But it’s not always easy to help people discover their personal reasons. In his book, Pantalon suggests using an approach he calls the “five whys”. The “Five Whys” was initially a problem solving technique that was developed for engineers to get to the heart of a root problem. It has since been adapted to be used in sales to handle objections and cognitive therapy help get deeper and more meaningful answers.
By asking your client why their answer is important to them, you can often uncover some really meaningful reasons behind why they want to help their dog. Helping them see what is meaningful to them will motivate them to do whatever the next step is. Studies have shown that internal motivation is far more powerful than external motivation.
Step 7: Ask: What are the next steps, if any?
The phrase, if any is important to add. It reminds them again that they have the freedom to do whatever they wish.
An action plan might be made if there is some clear commitment talk, but it should not be made until the person has made some indication of commitment or you risk undoing the potential for change. It helps to have an action plan to at least include these items:
- The specific and measurable goal
- A description of the next step in the process
- A time frame
- A method
- 2 or 3 reasons for the action
Now, who wants us to write an article like this on how to influence their significant other?
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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