The tilt intervention for working with involuntary clients

In coaching, supporting the autonomy of clients is extra important with involuntary clients. Involuntary clients are clients who's own idea it wasn't to go to a coach but who were sent by someone else. Although these clients may at first be reserved or uncooperative it is usually possible to reach a good cooperation with them rather fast. The key to doing that is to recognize their perspective and to acknowledge and accentuate their autonomy.

When clients at first start to explain why they would rather not talk to you as a coach it generally helps a lot to seriously listen to this and to explore the reasons they present. Then you acknowledge their perspective and ask something like: "What made you decide to come here after all?"

This intervention works as a tilt intervention. That people, despite their reasons for not wanting to come and talk still have decided to come, implies that there are some unspoken additional motives. These are motives for going along and cooperating with you. If these motives would not exist, the clients would not be there in the first place. By asking about these motives you bring clients in the position to explain why going along and cooperating has some advantages for them. The combination of this exploration and a respectful attitude usually causes clients to become more open and cooperative.