I’ve just finished ‘Drive’ by Dan Pink. This book argues that extrinsic motivation simply isn’t sustainable and, for productivity coupled with passion, intrinsic motivation is the answer.

You can watch this RSA video for a summary of his book’s message.

Rather than focus on how intrinsic motivation affects our behaviour policies and reward systems, I want to show how it can be nurtured through coaching.

Pink states that for someone to be intrinsically motivated, they need AUTONOMY, MASTERY and PURPOSE in their jobs. I will explain each one briefly and show how coaching encourages each area.

Autonomy is not about Mavericks being left to their own devices. It is, however, about acting with choice. It isn’t the removal of high standards in the name of autonomy, but promotes greater and more purposeful levels of accountability.

This year, I aim to develop Middle Leaders. All of them are full of energy, passion and potential. They will receive regular coaching sessions with a focus on their areas of responsibility and their leadership challenges.

When I met with an Executive Coach to discuss the best way forward, the first question I was asked was ‘How much autonomy will you give them?’

For any headteacher the default position is to control. Even if we have other leaders, both senior or middle, we enforce our own agenda upon them. Trust very quickly diminishes and creativity is thwarted. Taking the risk with ‘ring-fenced accountable autonomy’ brings trust on the table which is a powerful thing.

In the last year, mastery has been quite a buzz-word in education. I believe mastery is more a mindset than a graded level. It is the deep-seated belief that you can and will be better. It enables you to receive feedback positively and to run the extra-mile.

“The desire to do something because you find it deeply satisfying and personally challenging inspires the highest levels of creativity, whether it’s in the arts, science or business.” ~ Teresa Amabile

The What are you going to do about it? element of coaching brings out mastery. It is in those next steps that teachers develop mastery.

Thirdly is purpose. Teachers tend to have strong moral purpose. It is the underpinning WHY? to what we we do. The notion that what we are doing serves a greater purpose. Put simply, it is to improve the life-chances of all pupils and to enable each of them to live to their full potential.

Great coaching brilliantly moves from surface level issues to heart matter very swiftly. The continual uncomfortable Why? questioning is like a Russian doll, leaving moral purpose at its core.