Do you atemi or something else to "break his intent" before you try to lead him off balance? Because I think sometimes atemi puts uke back on balance.
Yeah, that can happen. We typically use two atemis in Kote Gaeshi- One on the entry and one after the turn (whether it's a pivot or body change). I believe the rationale is that most people are going to recoil from a strong strike to the face, which begins the kuzushi. Another reason may be that it gives them something to think about while you are getting your wristlock firmed up.