This is the key

Self-motivation, Intrinsic motivation or autonomous motivation are all names for the same internal drive to do what interests us or what we enjoy or, when neither of those is present, to do something because it links to a deeply held value. 

This form of motivation is linked to our innate desire to be competent and become more so over time.  With self-motivation we inevitably improve. 


Extrinsic or Controlled motivation is known to reduce self-motivation both in the moment and through bringing to mind memories of things that we ‘should’ do – imposed on us in the past – versus the things that we are internally driven to do.  This can stop us from trying altogether, we don’t improve. 

If we want to improve learning and the quality of classroom practice then self-motivation is the key driver in each.  Without self-motivation a poor class will be repeated next time, little if any effort to make it better. 

When we are in the blue zone we are self-motivated.  When we help others to lift up into the blue zone we increase their self-motivation.  This is the reason that cognitive coaching works, the coachee feels energy and commitment to take action to improve their situation. 

As leaders and teachers, we can use informal coaching and formal coaching as processes to support the development of self-motivation in others. 

We can also use encounter as a way of being, rather than a process, that allows us to stimulate the blue zone, and therefore self-motivation, in those we come in contact with. 

Encounter builds our own self-motivation as well as the self-motivation of others. 


John Corrigan is an expert in helping individuals to bring their whole of mind to their daily life and increase their effectiveness and the effectiveness of those around them. This expertise scales from the individual to the team to the organisation. At the core of this work is the practice of encounter.  Earlier blogs can be found here

John Corrigan