Successful coaches share many traits, but perhaps the most important is internal motivation. Daniel Goleman, a psychologist and author who wrote the book, Emotional Intelligence, defines internal motivation in a recent article he wrote as “a variety of self-management whereby we mobilize our positive emotions to drive us toward our goals.”
Internal motivation means you engage in a behavior or activity because you find the activity itself rewarding rather than the desire for external rewards or compensation. It often originates from an individual’s desires and needs.
Examples of internally motivated behaviors include:

  • Watching or playing a sport because you enjoy it
  • Organic gardening because you enjoy being outside and the sense of accomplishment it brings
  • Playing an instrument because music brings you joy

Coaches who are internally motivated are passionate about their work and feel a sense of purpose in the work they do. They enjoy a feeling of accomplishment and self-satisfaction when working with clients and like nothing more than helping clients achieve their goals.
Most coaches are internally motivated and come to coaching because they want to help others reach their goals and they are natural developers. The see the potential in others and call it forth with powerful questions, reframing, goal setting, and other tools in their coaching toolbox.
But occasionally, a coach struggles with internal motivation, even one who is usually driven to succeed.

Things that Hinder Internal Motivation

It’s simply human nature to struggle from time to time with negative circumstances or emotions, such as:

  • Not feeling physically or emotionally well
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Negative self-talk
  • Putting too much pressure on ourselves
  • Fatigue
  • Life stressors
  • Distractions
  • Isolation
  • Poor goal setting
  • Depression
  • Lack of confidence in your coaching ability

But the good news there are steps you can take to jumpstart your internal motivation.

Ways to Jumpstart Your Internal Motivation

Perhaps the best way to enhance your internal motivation is to invest in an ICF-aligned coach training program that includes a practicum. A practicum gives students supervised opportunities to use their newly learned coaching skills and gives them the support and feedback they need to grow in their skill development.
Coaches who are properly trained gain confidence, which provides the internal motivation they need to attract and retain clients. And they are more likely to accurately self-assess a coaching conversation rather than viewing it through a distorted lens.
Next, be proactive in caring for your physical and emotional health. Eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, and manage any physical challenges and conditions you might have.
And unresolved issues from your past could derail not only your coaching career but your life and relationships too. Don’t wait for a crisis to deal with the baggage from your past. If you need help, get it.
Coaching, or any work-from-home venture for that matter, can lead to isolation. Don’t allow yourself to become so absorbed in your work that you rarely leave the house. Even extreme introverts need others to thrive. Be intentional about scheduling times with friends and cultivating community.
And finally, consider working with a coach. The external motivation a coach can provide can do wonders for your internal motivation.
How do you stay internally motivated? Share your tips in the comments section below.

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