Coaching Tip – Motivation! 

 May 3, 2022

By  Tamara Davidson

This year I am sharing a coaching tip each month on a particular area which I come across regularly in my coaching sessions with clients. These coaching tips will by no means address all the nuances regarding the specific coaching topic, however, I hope to share some of the gold that I believe can, and will, make a difference for you in your life if you apply it to yourself.  

To your highest and best! Tam x  


Want to be more motivated?! 

Many of my clients come into coaching saying “I want to be more motivated!” Often clients don’t know what is killing their motivation, or why they can’t seem to get excited about completing the project they are working on, or studying for the degree they are undertaking, or even why they can’t seem to focus on losing weight. Many leaders come into coaching wanting to know how to motivate others. Motivation is often a huge topic in coaching.  

Now we say in Neuro-Semantics, There is no such thing as a motivation problem, there is only an intention problem.  This statement has arisen from several considerations.  One is that “motives” are functions of intentions.  If you do not have the intention to do something, why would you think you would be motivated toward it in the first place?  Once you have a goal and intention for something, then what will “move” you toward it depends on the richness of the meanings you bring to it and the vitality that you maintain in your mind-body-emotion system. 


There’s also the neurological fact of aversion and attraction—two primary states and two primary emotions which are built into your very mind-body system.  In Meta-States we call these “primes.”  They are two of the 12 primary emotions.  And they apply throughout all of the levels of needs.  You have a natural aversion to things that create pain and distress just as you have a natural attraction to what generates pleasure and delight.  That’s true physically and its true psychologically.  Psychologically, we experience it as attracted to our values and aversion to our dis-values.  In Meta-Coaching we call this the Toward and Away-From meta-program.  


Now while all of us have both energies operating within us, some people live and experience their emotions much more on the Toward side and others on the Away-From side.  Wyatt Woodsmall estimated that 60% of Americans are Away-From, 20% are Toward, and 20% are flexibly both.  He said that most other groups are even more Away-From.  Why would that be? For the simple fact that negative emotions are stronger than positive emotions.  Inside our neurology, the negative emotions operate as an Alarm System warning us about dangers and threats. So, fear, anger, grief, guilt, shame, etc. more readily get our attention than the positive emotions. 


As a Meta-Coach, I often ask my clients at the beginning of their coaching session “What do you want to achieve?” This question implies that the person is motivated toward something and away from something else. Getting an Away-From client to tell me what she actually wants can sometimes be a real challenge. Similarly getting a strong Toward client to say what he does not want can be equally challenging. Yet both Away-From and Toward work together in all of us. Whatever you are going toward, you are at the same time going away from something else. Whenever you are moving away from something, you are simultaneously moving toward something. There are two sides of this propulsion system.  


It is a propulsion system precisely because we have both push and pullforces at work. It is the way your neurology works, away-from pain and toward pleasure. Away from futility and towards meaning. Away from sadness and toward joy. Away from getting fat and toward fitness and health. Motivationally, when you have both forces integrated so that they work together, you have a really powerful motivational system. This is where a Meta-Coach can help.  


Here are a few questions to work both sides of your motivational continuum.  


Aversion Questions  

  • What have you had enough of?  

  • What’s not working? 

  • What do you not want? 
  • What are you motivated to move away from?  


Attraction Questions  

  • What do you want?  

  • What do you really really want?  

  • What is your highest and best dream?  

  • What will that give you?  

  • What values or experiences are you motivated towards?  

I hope that these questions above have assisted you in beginning to integrate both sides of your motivational system.

Remember that checking in with a coach  can be extremely valuable to ensure that you close the gap between where you currently are and where you desire to be across any context in your life.   

Tamara Davidson

Tamara Davidson is an Executive Coach, Trainer and a Managing Director of Modo Coaching and Training, with over 20 years of experience leading large organisations. Tamara is a certified Meta-Coach, Master NLP practitioner and experienced Enneagram facilitator, and her passion is to facilitate people to discover and actualise their highest potentials in their personal and professional lives.

Tamara Davidson

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