Motivation is probably one of the biggest topics in performance psychology as such it is impossible to cover everything that has ever been said about motivation. Therefore I will be covering some interesting points in the next few blog posts on motivation.
In most achievement driven contexts be it sport or business the use of goal setting is widespread (Weinberg & Butt, 2011). The self-concordance of goals (for example their consistancy with the person’s interests and core values) plays two roles. Firstly those that are persuing goals that align with their values and interests put a more sustained effort into acheiving their goals and secondly those who attain their self-concordant goals get greater benefits in terms of their personal well-being. This goal striving can be autonomous or controlled. This autonomos motivation can reflect enjoyment interest or personal value. Conversley controlled motives are less self-determined and reflect internal (guilt or anxiety) and external (expectations of others) pressures. It makes sense therefore that those engaging with autonomous goal striving invest more effort in their pursuit and are more likely to achieve (Sheldon and elliot, 1999). Interestingly the interaction between autonomous motives and goal attainment lead to a greater satisfaction of the three basic psychological needs presented in the self-determination theory (Autonomy, Relatedness and Competence). This could lead to an enhanced psychological well-being and overall increased participation.
So what are the practical implications of these ideas. Firstly Healy et al (2014) found that goal motives related directly to coach behaviour through the satisfaction of the basic psychological needs. When athletes (Employees) perceive their coaches (Managers) to be more autonomy supportive they report greater satisfaction and consequently strive for their goals with higher autonomous motives. This is no different from what Deci and Ryan (2000) have suggested. Healy et al. (2014) also found that controlling coach behaviours and controlled goal motives were mediated by psychological needs thwarting. In more simplistic terms controlling coaches who impress controlled goals on their athletes often prevent athletes from fulfilling their psychological needs of relatedness (support, acceptance), autonomy (the ability to achieve independantly) or competence (the need to have task ability).
Coaches, athletes and applied practitioners who engage in goal setting may wish to engage in more positive coaching behaviours which can be closely linked to more adaptive motives for goal striving which in turn should lead to high levels of goal attainment. Coaches or managers may wish to consider how they can support autonomy to identify important goals and support autonomy throughout the whole goal striving process.