Understanding Self Determination

What is motivation?

To be moved to do something – the trigger that starts the thought ‘I am going to do this.’
There are two types of motivation:
intrinsic motivation – You enjoy doing it
extrinsic motivation – some external reward or punishment to motivate

Self Determination means you are in charge of your life – you are making choices and decisions that direct your life in the ways you want. Not what others want. Self Determination Theory says we all have natural need to grow and develop and this is what motivates people internally.

Coaching skills can support the mentee to develop this self-determination in three ways:
1. Autonomy: Support them in having a sense of choice and making their own choices.
2. Competence: Support the development and use of capabilities that make an impact in their world
3. Relatedness: Support them to be connected with others – for example through community, groups or sports team
When these basic needs are met, it is the fuel that can support your mentee to better shine. Science says we’re happiest when these three things are present. When we decide what our needs our and how to satisfy them.

See the videos below to further understand these ideas and how to apply them to your mentee relationship


Why We Do What We Do by Edward Deci (11:37) bu Brian Johnson

“The Coach Approach for Self-Determination” (3:15) By Margaret Moore of Wellcoaches

In this short video Margaret shares her best strategies to use as a coach:
“ First, lose any sense that you are going to have an impact… Assume zero impact
There is nothing you can do…. Instead just be there as a human being, be empathic, be compassionate, and listen.

“Person feels listened to accepted and affirmed. That is important – to help them simply to give the gift of self-sufficiency. Leave behind your agenda…. This may be the best they can do right now

“Self Determination Theory’s Three Psychological Needs”


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