With resistance comes opportunity

As mutual obligations for jobseekers begin to take effect, you as a job coach may start to encounter more resistance from your clients, and that’s completely normal given the unprecedented changes that have occurred since the beginning of 2020. Resistance often comes with a fear of change and also resistance is a signal that the client views the situation differently to yourself, and that’s perfectly normal.

However, resistance actually offers you an opportunity to respond in a new, perhaps surprising, way and to take advantage of the situation without being confrontational.

Using your superior job coach knowledge, you can learn to identify any resistance and ‘roll with it’. Here’s some useful and effective coaching tips.


How to identify resistance in your clients in person or over the phone.

Here’s how to respond appropriately and effectively:


1. See things from your client’s perspective even if you don’t agree, this helps them feel heard and understood – active listening is a key skill here

2. Empathise and explore the issues client is having

3. Recognise the client’s strengths and bring these to the forefront whenever possible.

4. Avoid arguing for change – the worst thing we can do is push back

5. Create a gap between where the client is and where he/she wants to be (the best possible self evidenced-based activity is great here

6. Use double-sided reflection. Reflect both sides of the ambivalence. You are reflecting what you hear the client say about the reason not to change and the reason to change

7. Support autonomy and personal control by saying “you don’t like the idea of getting a job, and that’s up to you.

8. Explore positive and negative consequences of change or continuing current job seeking behaviour Help the client explore pros and cons of change and pros and cons of continuing the current behaviour.

Finally Remember… If you try any of the above ideas and they don’t immediately seem to work, you don’t have to push them. Wait at least a day or two, even a week. Sometimes responding to resistance in this way may have helped your client to become more aware of the issues or more inclined to change but in the heat of the moment they may not let you know that, so give them a chance to calm down and reflect on the interchange for a day or two, before you conclude that your approach hasn’t helped. You may be surprised by their reaction if you wait a little longer!