Hierarchy of Needs – A – Z Coaching and Mentoring

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A – Z Coaching and Mentoring – This week’s extract from Clare Smale’s book highlights the ‘Hierarchy of Needs’.

Don’t forget if you have a special request for a definition of a coaching term or principle, just let us know! Perfect for anyone studying for an ILM Coaching & Mentoring qualification, or as a refresher for experienced coaches.


Hierarchy of Needs (Abraham Maslow 1943).

Needs and motivations constantly shift and change according to circumstances and coaching can help a client to identify their current position in Maslow’s hierarchy (see figure below). The principle of this bottom to top hierarchy is that the lower level needs to be satisfied before there can be effectiveness at the higher levels. Coaching can support goals and activity to create stability at the appropriate lower level, before the client continues their journey towards higher levels and self-actualisation. Coaching seeks to support and challenge a client at the highest possible level, which is where transformational personal and professional development is most likely to take place.

Source: www.simplypsychology.org

Some think that Maslow’s hierarchy is now outdated because certainty and stability at the lower levels are harder to achieve in the modern world. New thinking suggests that effectiveness from the top down can support constant change and flux in the lower levels. By concentrating on the levels of self-actualisation, self-esteem, love and belonging, effectiveness at the lower levels can be achieved in less time. In this instance, the role of the coach is to establish trust and challenge in order to support the client at the higher level. This will enable the client to use their skills and abilities to flourish at the lower levels.

Taken from the A-Z Coaching Handbook by Clare Smale where you will find a comprehensive A-Z, plus a full list of references.


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