Learn To Coach: How Could We Classify Motivation?

Authored / contributed by Matt S. from Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

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Coaching  3 min 4.01 K 50
Continuing his series of articles on the importance of motivation to the coaching approach, Matt outlines how the complexity of motivation can be broken down and made managable and how different types of motivation may be classified.
I've been involved in the peculiar world of work long enough to realize there's a big, big difference between people performing because they "have to" and people performing because they "want to". I think in its most basic form then motivation at work is simply the degree to which people want to perform. Motivation for coaching thus becomes the degree to which people want to do better.

It is perfectly possible to make people perform through some kind of mixture of threat or reward, but this is unlikely to produce an enduring level of performance. It is perfectly possible to deliver coaching to people who do not want it but it is a waste of time and will likely prove unproductive.

While it's possible to see the rationale for appreciating motivation as the driving force which propels individuals towards outcomes they want, we can also begin to appreciate how complicated understanding motivation can be given the infinite variety of changing, and often conflicting needs and expectations of people at work. In short, different people want different things.

To deal with such complexity we need to break these needs and expectations into categories, for example Extrinsic and Intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation is related to tangible rewards such as salary and bonuses, conditions of employment, advancement and job security. I'm guessing most of you reading this will have little or no influence over such rewards, but will certainly be aware of your team's feelings towards them. Intrinsic motivation refers to psychological rewards like pride, satisfaction, enjoyment and satisfaction.

These you most certainly can influence as a coach particularly when you are the line manager too. Another way to consider classifying motivation is to consider the orientation taken towards work; what are the things that most interest or concern them? Some people take what's known as an instrumental orientation to work and are concerned with 'other things'.

Such people will be most interested in economic rewards such as pay and pension arrangements. Other people take a personal orientation; they are concerned with 'themselves'. These people are most likely to be concerned by intrinsic motivators such as personal growth and job satisfaction. Finally we find groups of people who take a relational orientation to work, concerning 'other people'.

They are concerned with relationships, friendships, status and belonging. It may also be useful to classify the reactions people have to not getting what they want at or from work. You'll see people respond to these circumstances in a productive way by solving the inherent problem or adjusting their needs and expectations. You'll also see people responding in a negative way by, for example becoming aggressive to colleagues and others, by withdrawing and becoming sulky or by giving up completely; in spirit if not in body.

Beyond this we'll need to consider how coaching creates awareness of the reasons behind these responses and encourages employees to take responsibility for accessing their motivation in a helpful and positive way.

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Matt S. from Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

Matt S. is a specialist Executive Coach with expertise in Coaching, Train the Trainer and Customer Care, Service

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