Why Managers Encounter Coaching Resistance From Their Team

If you encounter resistance from a coachee, it always comes down to one thing. Trust. You didn’t set positive expectations and instead, instilled FEAR. Here’s how to enroll people in coaching so they embrace your positive intent. Now, they’ll want to be coached.

Download My New Book! The 7 Types of Coaching Questions

It’s an all too common tale. “Keith, the majority of my team are open to being coached. However, there’s one person on my team, a lone ranger, who flat out told me they don’t want to be coached, telling me that, “If I need help, I’ll reach out to you.”

I also have one other salesperson who, while sounding engaged, when I ask a question, I feel they’re just telling me what I want to hear. And there’s no change happening from one coaching session to another.”

A manager’s job is hard enough. And my job is to make it easier. Here’s the good news. You don’t have to waste your time trying to diagnose the problem. There’s only one reason why people would be resistant to coaching, let alone any change. That is this:

When intentions aren’t clear, people default to fear.

Dump the Baggage

From one opportunity or situation from the next, whether it’s a new relationship or job, everyone comes with baggage, filled with past experiences, especially with prior peers and managers. Most of those experiences are negative.

Yet, we have these experiences define us, believing this is now the absolute truth. We forget about the positive experiences and hold on to the ones that harden us, as we tell ourselves, “That’s just how life is.”

Instead of carrying around all this extra unnecessary weight of bogus beliefs, help them create a new possibility they can be excited about when it comes to having you as their manager.

You can always set and reset a conversation and trust.

Remove the Mask You Think Is True

Here are two universal laws that impact all of us. “What you focus on grows.” Another one is, “How you think, is what you get.”

If you walk into a conversation or relationship with a certain set of assumptions, how do you think that’s going to impact your believes. And believes then drive your behavior. The result, creating the same scenario again, becoming the self-fulling prophecy.

How to Enroll and Create Coaching Buy-In

Unfortunately, people take the experience and personality of their last manager and put their face of their new manager, thinking, “Well, this is how it was before, so I’ll assume this will happen again. This is why you’ll find the heart of coaching resistance. Instead, try enrolling them in creating a new relationship and possibility using the coaching talk track here.

“What I want for you is to experience the success you want. I’ve been working on my skills to become the best manager and coach so that I can help you reach your goals. Think about sports. The coach is there to make sure each player is always at the top of their game.

This learning curve is something we’re going through together, which is why I’ll be looking for feedback and coaching from you. Let’s schedule a time to talk about coaching, and any past experiences you may have had, so that we can positively align around coaching and make this a valuable experience. Are you open to discussing this?

Let the Coaching Begin

Now that you have permission to coach and collaborate, you can continue the conversation with these coaching questions.

1. How would you define coaching?

2. Have you ever been coached before? What was your experience like?

3. If you needed to re-define the parameters and definition of coaching so that it’s a valuable experience  for you, what would it be?

4. What would your expectations be of me from our coaching?

5. What would you like to work on or ensure we cover during our coaching sessions that would be important and valuable to you?

6. How do you like to be managed?

BONUS: How to Hold People Accountable with Three Questions

Note questions seven and eight below. Stop banking your head against the wall trying to figure out how to hold people accountable in a supportive way. Instead of struggling, consider that your asking the wrong person. Ask them! In pure coaching form, they create the rules, they own them, you follow them. Now you’re never the bad manager.

7. How can I hold you accountable/ be your accountability partner so you can achieve your goals in a way that would sound supportive and not negative or like I’m micromanaging you.

8. How would you like me to follow up with you if you don’t honor your commitments or if I notice an opportunity for you to excel? How do you want me to bring this up so you’re open to the message?

9. What concerns, if any, do you have about our coaching and what we discuss?

10. How are you feeling at this point about our conversation and what we’ve discussed so far?

11. Let’s schedule our first coaching session.