January 15, 2011

People want to have and build meaningful and caring relationships with other people and want to do things that make a positive difference to others

The importance of relatedness
Not only do people want to be autonomous, they also have a strong need to be related to other people. In other words, people want to have and build meaningful and caring relationships with other people and want to do things that make a positive difference to others. From an evolutionary perspective it can be explained that we not only have certain competitive and egocentric tendencies but also social, altruistic, cooperative tendencies which are at least as important, such as a striving for fairness and a striving for reciprocity and also a striving to belong to one or more groups. Research into self determination theory (Visser, 2010) has shown that the need for relatedness is an important a universal need of people. Satisfaction of this need for relatedness has been shown to be also crucial for internalization of external demands. Through relatedness we become socialized and find meaning in life.

Supporting relatedness
As coaches, managers and teachers we can either support or undermine the perception of relatedness of our clients, employees or students. Some factors primarily enhancing a sense of relatedness are: 1) inquiring about individuals’ views and concerns, 2) acknowledging individuals’ perspectives, 3) emphasizing individuals’ uniqueness and 4) creating cooperative working, learning and change approaches. Factors which are generally thought to undermine satisfaction of the need for relatedness are: 1) emphasizing competition, 2) being non-responsive to or dismissing individual concerns and views and 3) treating individuals as interchangeable.

Solution-focused relatedness support
The solution-focused approach offers some perspectives and techniques to support the satisfaction of the need for relatedness. Here are some examples: 1) client views and perspectives are inquired about and acknowledged, 2) normalizing: clients' concerns and problems are depathologized, 3) reframing: alternative positive interpretations of apparently negative statements or behaviors by clients are offered, 4) relationship questions: clients are invited to define solutions in interactional terms.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for these articles linking autonomy and relatesness, etc.
    As you know I've been exploring, researching and integrating neuroscience into my life and work. I find a lot of sense-making for myself in experimenting with the SCARF model - [see also Ed Batisda's blog link: http://bit.ly/hvEgfs - i just loved the picture so much!]
    Ed's article also has a link to David's strategy+business publication... (you may have already read the contents)
    One of my associates from Results and I see great synergy between SF and Results coaching.
    Sorry for the lengthy reply - I read, appreciate and keep all your articles but seldom afford my introvert-self the "time" to comment - it's also often hard to express my thoughts in the little blog with no spell-check warnings.
    Take care


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