7 Steps to Move Someone Up the Commitment Continuum™

by Jeff Janssen, Janssen Sports Leadership Center

Need to motivate some Resistant, Reluctant, or Existent people on your team?

Trying to get some people to move from merely Compliant to Committed or Compelled?

The art of coaching and leadership is really figuring out how to move people to the right on the Commitment Continuum™. The key to moving people up the Commitment Continuum™ is systematically addressing and attacking the specific reasons why someone might be in the Red Zone. There will likely be both primary and secondary reasons for a lack of full commitment. Be sure to pinpoint the reasons why the person in the Red Zone of the Commitment Continuum™ before you can figure out how to address them. (We cover 20 of the most common Commitment Killers in Module 4 of the  Athlete's Commitment Manual.) Encourage them to identify their specific Commitment Killers and challenge and support them as they make efforts to overcome them to become more Committed.



Moving a person up the Commitment Continuum™ for positive and lasting change is typically a process that unfolds over time. While discussing the Commitment Continuum™ definitely jolts many people out of the Resistant, Reluctant, and Existent levels initially, you want to make sure they sustain their commitment levels over time. There are seven main steps to successfully move a person to higher and more productive levels of commitment.

Step 1. Awareness

As with all challenges and changes, awareness of the specific issue is usually the first step. The person first must be consciously aware that they are not currently at a commitment level that is expected or needed by the team. One of the biggest benefits of the Commitment Continuum™ is to help people become much more conscious of their current commitment level in comparison to what is expected by the coach and/or team. They must become aware of their current commitment level either through honest and critical self-evaluation or by getting candid and constructive feedback from teammates, coaches, or credible others on where they see their commitment levels. Accurate awareness is step one.

How AWARE is the person of their present commitment level?

Step 2. Acceptance

Acceptance means that the person realizes and comes to grips with where they are on the Commitment Continuum™. Some people may initially resist difficult and disconfirming feedback and try to deny where they are on the Continuum. Denial, disagreement, and defensiveness obviously are big barriers to acceptance and strongly deter movement. As they say, that which we resist persists. In fact, people can become even more defiant and dig their heels in deeper if they don’t accept where others see them.

Sometimes you must provide candid, “tough love” feedback to Resistants and Reluctants from people they respect if they are misguided or even delusional when it comes to their perceived commitment level. Once the person more clearly sees the concern and more fully accepts the situation as it is viewed, they can then make efforts to improve it.

Does the person ACCEPT where they are on the Commitment Continuum™? If not, how can you get them to accept it better by providing them with helpful feedback by others they respect?

Step 3. Analysis

The next step involves a thoughtful analysis. You must properly discover and diagnose the situation before you can prescribe the right course of action.

  • Why are they at their current commitment level?
  • What is driving their behavior?
  • What fuels their recalcitrant resistance or apparent apathy?
  • Is it how the person negatively or erroneously perceives the situation?
  • Is it how the environment is engineered?
  • Is something lacking?


You must understand specifically and thoroughly what impacts and drives their attitude and behavior.

ANALYZE why the person is where they are on the Commitment Continuum™. Why are they at their current commitment level?


Part 2 of this How to Move Someone Up the Commitment Continuum™ article, including Steps 4-7, is available to our Championship Coaches Network subscribers. You can join now by clicking on the Championship Coaches Network link.

For more info on the Athlete's Commitment Manual, click here.



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