6 Human Needs
What are we actually tending to as a coach? Why do we people seek out coaches? Why are they so satisfying if you've ever worked with one? Well we have six human needs. K? And I'm gonna propose to you that two of the needs are maybe a little bit more important and two of the needs are what coaching really focuses on. Okay? But let's explain all six for you. And in the workbooks you can see all six, if you wanna follow along. Online if you're downloading the workbooks, you'll be able to follow along with this as well. The first is certainty. So why is that a need? Well, if you didn't know anything that was going to happen to you in your life, you'd go crazy. If you didn't know where you were gonna wake up, if you're gonna get food, what the weather was gonna be, what planet you were gonna be on, if gravity exists or not, you know, any of that stuff, how your body functions, you'd go crazy. So we have a need for certainty at a certain level. K? But we also have a need for uncertainty. Wha...
t would happen if you knew everything that was going to happen to you in your life?
Life would be boring.
It would be boring. It would be so boring. Pass. Right? Get me on the next roller coaster, if that's the way it was. So we have a need for uncertainty. This is excitement, right? We also have a need for significance. Now, for me, I have a giant, my name put up on the wall in 6-foot letters, okay? So clearly, there is a form of significance we all seek, you know? That we want to be someone instead of no one. To be recognized, okay? So significance can get out of control, but everyone has a need for a certain amount of significance, right? I live in L.A. now, so significance is, maybe, out of control there. You can see everyone in their Ferraris, you know? Everyone trying to be famous and cool. Okay, so next need. Love and connection. I think we could all probably understand that we need love and connection. Imagine if no one ever gave you any more love in the rest of your life. Or you had no more connection. But you had food, shelter, all of that. It wouldn't work. And you know they have that study that if infants don't get touched, they can die, which is like really sad but it shows us, the reason I go to that place is to show you that just because it's so severe for infants doesn't mean we're not grown up children that need that love and connection as well. We also have a need for growth. If we don't feel like there's a progression in our lives, we start feeling really unhappy, okay? It can really mess with our psyche. So whatever we need to do to connect with a sense of progression or growth, we gotta do it. Last one is contribution. Everyone has a need to contribute to something bigger than themselves. Does that come from being more social animals? Probably, but we wanna... This is why religion has been so powerful for so many years. It's sort of connecting to a higher power, but also a community that's connected around working or doing works to a higher power. So for us in the more modern day, there's a lot of ways we can do this, but we have to be understanding: do I feel connected to contribution or not? And if we're coaching, can we help someone get connected to feeling like they can contribute more or not? So, what I'd like you to do. We're gonna get this little guy. All day is gonna show us that we're gonna do something, right? A little exercise. He's getting buff. We're gonna get buff, too, with our coaching skills. Want you to rank your six needs in order. So if you don't have the workbook, it's okay. You can just write out the needs and then rank them. So rank them from one being your most important need, and six being your least important need. And first I want you to not rank them how you wish they were, but how you think they actually are showing up right now, okay? Not gonna give you much time. All day when I ask you to write or prepare, it's gonna be speed, cause we're gonna keep moving, okay? So just give that blink reaction, doesn't have to be perfect. And I really encourage you online or in the room, write, write, write. Do the exercise or it will make a huge difference if you don't. You won't really be connected with us. So take a moment to write it down. Okay. Will someone share their list for us? Does anyone feel comfortable enough to share their list? Yeah Ruben. And then we'll do Amber after.
Okay. So just like in order?
Go from six to one.
Okay. So six, uncertainty, certainty, significance, growth, love connection, and contribution.
Cool. Cool. That's amazing. So we have sort of love and connection, growth and contribution, one, two, three.
Great. I would say that that, growth and contribution, being one and two, is gonna be the most sustainable and fulfilling. Love and connection is really important, too, but one thing to think about is, sometimes when we seek out love and connection, we can be disappointed or needy, or get distacted. When we're focused around giving, which is contribution and growth, those things are going to sustain us and fill us. So it's not that what you did was wrong. I just wanted to open that conversation, so thank you for sharing that. And what I want you to do. We're gonna talk a little bit more in a second, right? That's for you. Now, I want you to rank these in order what you think they are for two team members. Or important people in your life, people that you interact with that are critical to your success or your support. Okay? So you're guessing what other people's rankings are. And you could pick someone who's a little bit challenging for you. It might reveal why they're so challenging for you. I'm gonna give you only about 15, 20 more seconds to do this, again, blink reaction. Really be thinking about what's the highest and lowest, that's what's really important, are what's at the ends of the spectrum. So there's another way to build empathy and compassion as well. When you think about people's values, or you think about their needs, we start putting ourselves in their shoes. So if you only have one, or you have two, would someone just quickly look and reflect, and I would love for you to share maybe like a key bullet point or two, that came from this exercise. What did you see about the person or persons you're ranking? Anything pop out? Yeah, Sam.
The person who I tried to put myself in the shoes of, has very different ordering to their priorities than I do. And just going through the exercise of thinking about that has already made me start to think about how I could communicate with this person differently. To sort of connect with those things that are most important to them that might not be as important to me.
Great. Can I pause you there and just ask, what are your top needs, and what are their top needs? What's the gap there?
So you wanna hear just top three from both?
Yeah. Just kinda what's your analysis of the difference between them?
Yeah. So the top three for me were love and connection first. And then significance and then contribution. And this team member, I think, is more motivated by certainty first, then contribution, and then love and connection.
Cool. So the big difference there I see is certainty being their top one, and your top one is?
Love and connection.
Love and connection. So what does that, from your experience with this person, what does that difference create, in terms of the interaction?
Creates a difference in the way that we show up at work and the way that we show up on the team. And the things that we're sort of willing to do, or willing to be motivated by.
Can you get a little more specific for us?
Yeah, so we went through this exercise recently, where we were prepping a debriefing doc for one of our executives, but this particular teammate had to leave a little early because it was his kid's swim lesson that day and I thought that the doc was not where it needed to be, but in working with this person, I've had to realize that their family is a really important priority for them. And that's, kind of, we have to work around that, because.
So they like the certainty of I need to pick up my child, I have to go.
And love and connection is very important to them.
Okay. Great. So the key point here is that people with differing rankings of needs, will get into need conflict with each other. And one thing we might wanna do as a coach, right? So let's shift back. Thank you, Sam, for sharing that, by the way. So one thing we might need to do as a coach, when we actually step into that role for someone, is we might wanna help them reorder their needs over time. You might not just walk in and say, hey, fix your needs. That's not really maybe the smoothest way to do that. But if you're working with someone whose top need is certainty, that might create a lot of havoc for them and you. That's a very challenging top need for someone. Right? And so, if we can help them orient more towards growth and contribution, it might make their experience of life a little bit more fulfilling, run a little bit smoother. Sam, just a quick question for you. If this person that you work with reordered their needs slightly, and had growth and contribution higher, and had certainty a little lower, what might shift, or what might be possible for this person in their world?
So if they ordered certainty a little bit lower in the hierarchy, a little bit more. Does that mean, so this is a question back to you then. If certainty goes down, does uncertainty inherently go up?
Not necessarily. It's just that their need for certainty becomes less primary.
They're not seeking it so much. They're not filtering everything and orienting towards that.
Yeah. I think that, at the very least, communication would be a little bit easier. And there would be a little bit better of a working dynamic, more modifiable of a working dynamic. A little bit more malleable.
Am I hearing with the communication there's a bit of anxiety on their side, when like if there's any deviation from the plan or their certainty?
So there's not so much, they don't have as much wiggle room, cause they really want things to be certain and clear. Great! So that's all we need to get at, is like these little key insights from this exercise, right? This person has a really hard time with when plans change, cause they really like certainty. So you know that maybe when you go in a conversation with them, I might need to gingerly approach any changes to the plan, right? Cool. So that's all we wanted to look at there, right? And we think about if we were coaching that, now you're not probably coaching this person, cause you don't play that role. But if you were, you might help them reorder a little bit so they weren't so tied to, it has to be this way, right? Because we wanna be probably more flexible in our lives. Okay. Yeah, please.
So is there an ideal ordering to this that we're ultimately trying to work toward? You mention like reordering your priorities would be helpful in certain situations if they are a certain way. So, you gave the example of certainty being really high as a potential barrier to growth. So is there a sort of general order that's better for us?
I would say, yeah, that's a great question. Is there a general order? I would say I don't own the rights to human satisfaction, but in my experience, growth and contribution being one, two, in some form, really satisfying, fulfilling place to go. And then love and connection is number three really works for people. And then having certainty, uncertainty and significance as four, five, six, is really helpful. It's not that you don't want significance. You want to be seen. It's just like when that's your number one, you start chasing things like status and money in this way that doesn't make people happy. Not that those things are wrong. It's just that if that's what your thinking is gonna make you happy, it ultimately is not going to. Is that helpful?