Ask the Coach – August 2021

Q. How Do I get an Oppositional Colleague to Comply with my Request?

A. I will share a powerful Tool with you: The Act of Mirroring

Mirroring is one of the most powerful ways to call someone out – to get someone to admit their TRUTH, acknowledge a genuine need for CHANGE – or at least to open up to another perspective or the possibility of trying “your way” … it is a coaching trick that, when mastered, can get even the most stubborn inflexible person to contemplate a different perspective…

How many times have you wanted to stop that naysayer in their tracks – to get them to open up and let you in to their mindset (i.e. we tried your stupid idea before – it will never work!”)

How about the passive professional who you suspect has so many answers or solutions to offer but just never shares with the group?

How about the whiny preteen who comes home from school, slams the front door, and adamantly announces, “I’m never going back there again!”

Try reflecting what they have said back to them, in an objective, non-judgmental curious way, followed by a silence long enough to invite them to share (at least 4-6 painful seconds).

In other words:

“So, my idea has already been tried and failed…?”

“So … you have nothing at all to add…”?

“You’re never going back there – is that it?”

…and then wait for it …

Give them enough time to start to dig themselves in … then out – of the hole until THEY FIGURE IT OUT. You may have to prompt them … just a little bit here and there – “tell me more…”; “really?”; “How so…?” They will eventually hear it themselves and realize that they are being closed-minded and resistant to what is being proposed in a way that dismisses the ideas of others, which is unreasonable, after all, when a member of a team.

The trick is to make them feel heard and validated – then they will be empowered enough to share themselves with you – their true selves. And that – I promise – is often a game changer – and always a gift.

Try it just once abs feel free to let me know how it goes…!


If you have any questions about this content or would like to schedule a complimentary coaching session, please e-mail

Lisa Tierney, CLSC is a certified life strategies coach and a marketing strategist who has empowered professional service providers in the accounting and law professions for over twenty years. She is founder & President of TIERNEY Coaching & Consulting, Inc. which offers a unique and highly effective blend of traditional consulting in tandem with professional coaching to address all the nuances of success – including mind, body & spirit. The professionals who work with TIERNEY coaches enjoy increased self-confidence and higher self-esteem, adopt a more relaxed, yet authoritative demeanor, start asking power questions, treat their clients with a more consultative approach – and benefit from a natural growth in their practice or service area. They usually report a significant increase in their overall satisfaction of their professional experience.

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