A Coaching Power Tool By Kincso Biro, Leadership Coach, GERMANY
How the Client Goals and Action Value Affects Motivation in Coaching
The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence. Confucius
In coaching, the question of motivation is key.
Often, clients get stuck simply because they are not motivated or not motivated in the “right” way to get things done or to maintain a certain activity. They feel that they are obliged to do something instead of willing or wanting to do something. In these cases, clients often use words like “must”, “have to” or “should” which should be a red flag for the coaches as they indicate low-quality motivation.
What Is the Difference Between Obligation vs. Will?
According to Self-Determination Theory, based on how autonomous the motivation is, you can be motivated, extrinsically motivated, or intrinsically motivated.1
What is motivation?
Motivation is when you are not motivated to act, either because you feel that you don’t have the competence to act or because you have no value for the action at all.1
What Is Extrinsic Motivation?
Extrinsic motivation is when you do not do things because they are enjoyable or fun, but you do something because there is some separable outcome you want to achieve. There are 4 different types of extrinsic motivation1:
1. External Regulation
External regulation is when you do things because somebody else has offered you a there is a reward, or you want to avoid punishment for not doing something. When you are externally regulated you do something because of an outside force, you can feel pressured to do something. It can be a powerful way of motivation if the reward is big enough or the punishment is strong enough. However, the problem with external regulation is that it only lasts until the force is in place. As soon as the reward or the punishment is not there the motivations disappear. E.g. I go to work because I want the paycheck.1
Introjection is when you do something because you “force” yourself on doing it, you want to feel good about yourself, or don’t want to feel bad about yourself. It is still a highly controlled form of motivation but here the pressure comes from within. The key driver behind introjection is self-esteem. Introjection can be a powerful way of motivation but just like external regulation, it is not stable. E.g. I go to work because I think it should.1
Identification is when you do something because you value the outcome of the activity, or it is important to you. Identification results in stable high-quality motivation. E.g. I go to work because I value what I am doing.1
Integration is when you do something not only because you see the value of the outcome, but because it is in line with all the other values you have, therefore you can wholeheartedly engage in the activity.1
What Is Intrinsic Motivation?
Intrinsic motivation is when you do something only because you enjoy doing it. It is the highest quality motivation and the most autonomous one.1
Client Motivation in Coaching
When coaches hear the client saying “must”, “have to” or “should”, it might indicate low-quality motivation, little ownership of the goals or actions with no real autonomous will behind them. The client might feel obliged to have these goals or perform a given action due to pressure from their environment or driven by their self-esteem. However, if the client is looking for a lasting effect that requires high-quality motivation, it is very important to investigate what makes the goal or action value for the client (integration).
Coursera Course: Introduction to Self-Determination Theory: An approach to motivation, development, and wellness by University of Rochester, Richard Ryan https://www.coursera.org/learn/self-determination-theory/lecture/pO0K4/7-extrinsic-motivation-and-the-continuum-of-relative-autonomy