Motivational Interviewing is a communication style that can help people explore their goals, strengthen their own motivation, adopt or quit new or unproductive habits and successfully change for the better. This technique is especially useful in helping highly ambivalent, uncertain or low confident individuals or clients change. Developed by William Miller and Stephen Rollnick, Motivational Interviewing helps resolve ambivalence in clients, allowing them to explore change options with empathy, rapport-building, and freedom to consider not changing at all.
The five essential skills that coaches can use in Motivational Interviewing for better client conversations include recognizing that ambivalence is normal, understanding the client’s unique perspective and resolving discrepancies, rolling with resistance, supporting self-efficacy and mastering the technique through practice. The first step involves acknowledging the client’s inner conflict between wanting to change and wanting to stay the same. It is important to remember that this is a normal and common occurrence during lifestyle changes. The next step is to understand the client’s unique perspective and find out what motivates them. Resolving discrepancies between the client’s beliefs and values and their goal is critical to a successful outcome.
The third skill involves rolling with resistance. This involves looking for the positives in the client’s thoughts or behavior and building on those rather than focusing only on the negatives or what’s not working. The fourth skill involves supporting self-efficacy or the belief in the client’s ability to change or deal with setbacks. Encouraging the client’s problem-solving abilities, focusing on past successes, and positive self-talk are some areas that can help boost self-efficacy. Finally, the last skill is about mastering the technique through practice. This involves Listening, Summarizing, and Asking: Listen to the client’s responses, summarize to check that they understand and to mirror back what the client has said, and ask questions that allow the client to delve deeper into their motivations and goals.
Motivational Interviewing offers numerous advantages for both coaches and clients. By using Motivational Interviewing, coaches can act as guides for clients, empowering them to make choices and decisions for themselves. This leads to greater client autonomy, which can result in increased motivation and better overall results. Clients, on the other hand, may benefit from this approach by exploring their ambivalence, reducing resistance, increasing commitment and motivation towards their goals and increasing self-efficacy. Overall, Motivational Interviewing can help coaches better understand their clients, collaborate better with them, and help to create more enjoyable and effective coaching experiences.