The Drive To Help

Have you ever noticed how much children love to help?

Modern motivational theory offers us a triplet: purpose, autonomy, and mastery. (PAM) children helping surely excites P and M there. As adults we’re all slightly less desirous of helping. I attribute this to two factors.

First, there’s a lot less M in it for me usually nowadays. I already know how to, say, sweep the floor, and I’m less driven by mastery.

Second, we bring more of our own P to the table, and thus are less willing to simply inhale someone else’s purpose.

That having been said, as a coach, I find it very effective to work by re-igniting that child’s "help drive" in the people around me. When I’m coaching, my P is very closely related to the individual’s. And I’m offering small new areas of M to that person, too, generally.

I find if the tasks are cheap enough, the purpose aligned enough, and the mastery inviting enough, adults respond very similarly to kids.

Coaches, as you go about it today, think about what kind of purpose, autonomy, and mastery opportunities you’re offering your darlings.

If they’re not jumping in and making the mess in the kitchen worse, it may be because these offerings aren’t aligned to drive that energy.

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