How to make Coaching easy and boost Outcomes

28. January, 2022

by Andreas Plienegger

A while ago I had a discussion with a pretty desperate colleague. She told me about the trouble she had with a client who simply could not follow her advice to solve a problem he had. “Every time we talk about it, we explore how many ways there are to solve the issue. He always agrees but still fails to execute. And the next time we meet he will ask me again how he can solve that same problem.”

That’s something we all have gone through this way or the other, right?

Motivation Abic 1

Well, it took me a few more questions to find out what was going on there. While her client was very “Procedural” and was looking for THE ONE RIGHT way to solve his problem, she had overwhelmed him with lots of options. So, he couldn’t decide which one was the RIGHT solution.

I made my colleague promise that they would explore one solution only. The next time we met, she told me that everything was great, and the problem had been solved because her client liked the one solution approach and had implemented it.

So what’s the core message here? As coaches, as we know, our task is to help clients achieve their goals in a way that best fits their personal preferences and strengths. It is not our role to convince our clients to do it “our way.” Trying to do that (even subconsciously as in the example above) can make coaching sessions harder and more frustrating for both the coach and the coachee.

People have very specific unconscious, and contextual motivation and behavior preferences which pre-determine the way they look at tasks and challenges and how they will behave in specific situations. These are not personality preferences as they are likely to change in different situations or “Contexts.”

Working inadvertently “against” these patterns can give us and our clients a hard time and produce little success – this happens frequently when the coach and coachee are operating from different motivation and behavior patterns. On the other hand, leveraging these patterns makes coaching and mentoring easy and successful.

The LAB Profile® (or Language and Behavior Profile) describes these differences. For instance, there are two motivation pattern categories when it comes to how someone wants to achieve their goals in a specific situation. These are known as “Motivation Direction” (their Goal Achievement Strategy) and “Motivation Reason” (their Execution Strategy).


Motivation Direction tells us if somebody is trying to achieve their goal by either getting what they need to get where they want to be (the “Towards” strategy; recource oriented strategy), or by avoiding or removing all the potential roadblocks and traps along the way to their goal (the “Away From” strategy; problem solving oriented strategy). Both strategies can be highly effective!

Motivation Reasontells us if the person will work in a very step by step manner in this context of if they prefer having lots of options and being very flexible in their approach. Again, both strategies have their very specific strengths and weaknesses.

It is like looking at the same thing, just from a different perspective. For example, with a “Towards” person a conversation could go like this:

Coach: You told me that having a solid and well established network is very important to you. Why is that so
Client:Well, for achieving the position I want I need to get all the information about what’s going on in our company. This way I can react quickly and deliberately make use of the information I get.

The same conversation would look slightly different when you talk to an “Away from” person:

Coach:You told me that having a solid and well established network is very important to you. Why is that so
Client:Well, if I don’t have that network I will not get all the information I need. And this would mean that I’m in risk of getting stuck as I cannot quickly react to potential problems.

You see, it’s a different view of the same thing and just a different strategy for achieving the very same goal. But now you are able to meet your client where they are and speak their language.


How can we use this in coaching? Well, firstly the LAB Profile® offers a number of Trigger Questions to help us identify which patterns are active with our clients in the context where we are coaching them. These questions are very conversational and do not openly reveal their intention, which makes it easy to add them into your coaching conversations.

Once you have identified if your client is moving Towards, or Away From, or prefers Options or Procedures, you can then adjust your communication style (the way you speak), your language and your own behavior so it perfectly matches your client’s motivation and behavior patterns. The LAB Profile® gives you very clear and easy-to-follow guidelines on how to do that.

As a result, your coaching clients will find it easier to work with you to achieve their goals with more ease. And your life will be much easier, too, as you will avoid the pitfalls of using language and behavior that don’t match your client. So coaching becomes fun and your clients book you more often.

The LAB Profile® can be applied in a number of other coaching and consulting contexts. You can use them in training and career coaching AND you can teach it to your clients for use in sales, leadership, and change management, just to name a few. There are ready-made application models for all these disciplines.

Do you want to find out more about the LAB Profile®? Have a closer look

You want to find out how to become a LAB Profile® Trainer? Click here

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