Motivation

We use several related constructs in talking about motivation.

We use the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.  This theory suggests that situations over which we perceive that we have a greater amount of control are more motivating to us than situations in which an external agent has control.  Autonomy, therefore, has a powerful influence on motivation.

Achievement motivation posits that we are all motivated to learn and become competent, and that is a fundamental human motivator, not something we pursue as time and circumstance permit.  Achievement motivation suggests that the drive to learn is a prerequisite to other drives, as we would not survive without an impulse to acquire mastery over our environment.

The type of feedback we receive influences our motivation.  A particularly useful distinction is that between task-involved and ego-involved feedback.  Feedback focused on improving performance (task-involved) is more likely to increase performance.  Feedback that compares a performance to the performance of others (ego-involved) is more likely to induce a defensive reaction and to thereby detract from performance.  Once ego-involved feedback is introduced (e.g. a grade or other performance rating), the efficacy of task-involved feedback is greatly compromised.

The role of the coach is to support the educational leader’s goal-setting at different scales and in different ways.  Examples might include:

  • Goals for the school improvement plan
  • Goals for a particular program, intervention, or new instructional practice
  • Goals for the creation of a leadership team or data team
  • Goals for the first 90 days of a principal’s tenure(also called entry planning)
  • Goals for a particular meeting or difficult conversation