~ Our Needs and Drivers ~
As soon as I graduated, one of my first few jobs was in Sales & Marketing. I discovered quite early on, that no matter what the range of products and services that I had, if I couldn’t uncover the needs of the customer, my sales goals were cold storage and I was just talk. At that time, we didn’t have fancy sales & marketing toolkits with all answers available, most of the time, I spent building rapport and trust with the customers, before discovering their needs. My mantra for my customer back then was “WIIFM – what’s in it for me?”. If I could figure out the point of view from my customers, I could easily match the features and benefits of the products and services to the needs of my customers.
Now, if we were to switch the simple example of WIIFM to an intangible hierarchy of human needs, following the infamous Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (1943) through which human beings grow and prosper, it uncovers deeper and more complex resolutions. We have different needs, motivations and drivers at different stages of our lives. Gone were the easy daisy days of just having food, water, rest, safety.
With the Maslow’s NEW Hierarchy of Needs (1987), the construct provides a deeper conceptualization of a more comprehensive worldview in forming sense of purpose and meaning for social progress, wisdom, and spirituality.
Maslow also proposes that based on this model, some key points as below (which was covered in the webtorial):
- human beings are motivated by a hierarchy of needs in which more basic needs must be met (more or less), prior to higher needs.
- the order of needs is not rigid but instead may be flexible based on external circumstances or individual differences.
- most behavior is multi-motivated, that is, simultaneously determined by more than one basic need.
In a coaching scenario, we as coaches need to be sensitive to dial-in into the level of the hierarchy of need of the client. There could be multiple contexts of the needs in their lives when embarking on a coaching journey.
For example, the client could be in a coaching scenario at work to be promoted (which is about self-esteem / self-actualization), however the client could be undergoing a bad break-up with a long time partner, and is now left to be the sole bread-winner of the family (which is about physiological, safety and love needs). The client could be at a challenging mental and emotional state to push for his/her own performance needs versus the bare necessities.
Hence, the coaching process will need to uncover the readiness of the client, align feedback with stakeholders to manage expectations, and perhaps work on more feasible timelines of setting goals and actions. As a coach, we cannot just assume that everyone is ready to embark on their conscious re-engineering of their reality.
Having established our needs, what actually drives us to craft our future, pouring our heart and souls into the process, empowering our quests, and become extraordinary? How can we transcend the culturescape as defined by society, and upgrade our systems for living in blisscipline. Basically, as Tony Robbins simply put it, WHY DO WE DO THE THINGS WE DO? He introduces the 6 Human Needs / Drivers that influences our behaviours both positively and negatively.
Now if we go back to the client in the example earlier on, for him/her to embrace the coaching journey, it would be interesting to uncover the reasons of the break-up to understand the driving force of this life-changing event, and linking it to the current situation of promotion. Could there be some limiting beliefs and paradoxes? What drove this client to make this change at this point? What would the new promotion offer?
Some theories that could surface is that significance and growth are the main needs/drivers for this client, that the long-time partner appears NOT to be as supportive or value the client’s achievements and growth, and vice versa whereby the client’s need for significance and growth has created a sense of reservation, and distance within the relationship. Will the client find the awareness of his/her actions in an empowering or destructive manner?
Great! Now that we understand our needs and drivers, let’s get down to the business of change. Simple right? You know what your needs are, you know what makes you tick, now where’s the switch? There’s another point here to be considered. Just as Eve was tempted by the whispers of the Serpent that made her doubt herself, what are our inner whispers that interfere with us? What is our contributing past that dictate our lives? What is your fear culture?
The Inner Game by Timothy Gallwey cites that awareness, choice and trust is the one of critical connected ways to bring out change.
Performance (P) in any activity, from hitting a ball to solving a complex business problem, was equal to one’s potential (p) after the interference factor (i) had been subtracted from the equation. Performance rarely equals potential. A little self-doubt, an erroneous assumption, the fear of failure, was all it took to greatly diminish one’s actual performance.~ Timothy Gallwey
We also need to be aware of both the Self 1 (conscious self) and Self 2 (subconscious self) that affects our inner game. Self 1 is your conscious, logical, experienced self, sometimes plagued with limiting beliefs and noise. And Self 2 is your deep, true potential, a treasure waiting to be discovered. E.g. if a client is stating their commitment of their action plan, yet has his/her lips pursed, arms crossed, and not even writing on their notebook, it could be their subconscious at play. The coach must quickly dial-in to check what could be some interference here.
As illustrated above, in order for us to dig deep, there are some strategies at hand. For change to happen, it is a process, it doesn’t happen overnight, it is a discovery of needs, clear understanding of one’s drivers, it has to a conscious effort with great anticipation of derailers, challenges, and sometimes the BIGGEST challenge is ourselves!
I guess the one line sums it all –> YOU ARE THE PROJECT!