Issue Date: April 2011 Web Features, Posted On: 4/20/2011
Training Wheels: The Art of Compliance By Shelby Murphy
I was reminded today of an important
coaching concept that is so relevant to trainers but often overlooked -- the
art of getting compliance. One of my clients struggles to lose weight because
three or four times a week he'll go out with the boys and drink four or more
beers in a sitting. Although he knows this is his primary weakness, he is
resentful of anyone trying to "tell him what to do." I knew if I
capped his alcohol consumption with a number of beers that I thought was
reasonable, or better yet tried to eliminate all alcohol for faster weight
loss, the only thing I would accomplish would be bringing out the rebellious
little boy in him.
So I remembered the strategy used in
negotiations where you let the opposing party tell you what they want, what
their bottom dollar is, and then you happily meet it. Whenever something is the
other person's idea, they are much more willing to stick to it. I asked my
client what would be the maximum number of beers he thought he should have when
he went out with the boys. How many beers could he have and still have fun? He
said he could stick with a limit of three beers and that he would work hard to
drink each one slower.
Is three beers in a sitting ideal for
weight loss? No way. But it's at least one less than his usual, and he won't
feel rebellious and angry as he would if he were not drinking at all and his
buddies were. Mostly, it's movement in the right direction, and it is progress
on his terms. And sticking with that will cause him to eventually lose weight.
With that, both of us win.