Three ways to improve your teams motivation. 

Most coaches, executives, and owners want their team to be more self-driven and internally motivated. However, the measures that leaders employ are usually all externally driven. We often refer to outside measures to help facilitate change, namely rewards for good results or punishments for poor effort or outcomes.

If you are searching for more internal drive from your team, here are three metrics to examine. 

A-   Autonomy- People need to feel empowered in their position, that they can make decisions on their own and have a voice in their development.

R-  Relatedness- People want to feel a part of the team, that what they do matters, and they are contributing to something larger than themselves.

C-   Competence- People want to know that they are good at what they do. We do activities and perform tasks in which we are competent.  Confidence breeds success.

If a team is lacking in mental toughness and motivation, perhaps one of these principles is off.  For example, a person may feel he/she can make decisions (High A) and is good at it (High C) but not part of a team or recognized for their effort (Low R).

Here are three ways to improve the internal motivation.

A-  Autonomy- Have individual 1-1 meetings and regular check-ins with your team. Ask for and get their input about what is working and what needs changed.

R-  Relatedness- Have functions or competitions. Internal competitions are good; it can build the strength of a team and hanging out with one another enhances the camaraderie.

C-  Competence- Studies have shown that individuals will meet the expectations set forth by their coaches. In turn, positive feedback for effort increases the internal motivation, while negative feedback will decrease one’s motivation.

Sources:  Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York: Plenum.Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The “what” and “why” of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 227-268.

Need an assist evaluating which of these qualities most applies to your team? Contact us below…

Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out the most recent book on Mental Toughness- Don’t Should on Your Kid: Build Their Mental Toughness   

Those of us who are paid to perform all have a countdown. The moment when we need to perform at our best because it matters the most.

Core Pilates & FitnessSean Bartram at Core Pilates & Fitness trains the Colts Cheerleaders and on the mirror, he has the number of days before the try-outs. Many coaches, athletes, and teams also have similar countdowns, such as, the 2016 Olympic Trials, or FIFA World Cup. Maybe for us, it’s a specific race or event?

In order to play our best when it matters the most, we need to develop the mentality that our best is needed today. So, how do we develop this mindset?

Coaches in all areas find tons of ways to externally motivate. They create cultures of excellence, set goals, post motivational quotes, and even bring in speakers, ex-athletes or Sport Psychologists (yes!). Companies and businesses use the seemingly biggest external motivator of all, pay and benefits (except research shows this isn’t true). Each of these motivational tools all work, up to a point.

What replaces the external motivation actually becomes more important because at some point, it will get tough. We will have setbacks, encounter adversity, and struggle. What needs to motivate us is our “why.” Our internal motivation of “why” we do what we do.

If we don’t determine our “why”, we won’t continually put forth our best effort during the countdown. Complacency can easily set in and we may say to ourselves, “this day doesn’t matter that much.” The reality is that you’re right; physically it may not make a difference. However, it matters mentally, because if our “why” is not strong enough, we will make excuses when it gets tough. When the countdown to performance gets close, we will then put forth our best, but at that point, so is everyone else.

Our “why” should make us cry, if not, then it’s probably not our why…It is tough to develop an emotional connection to what drives us. What motivated us two years ago may not motivate us now! We may discover that our internal motivation is really about pleasing others, proving others wrong, or that we are actually trying to fulfill someone else’s goals that THEY had for US.

We are who we are when we are alone…We can fool everyone in our lives that we are putting forth our best effort, or that we have it all together. Except, we just can’t fool ourselves. If we want to perform our best when it matters the most, we need to develop our internal motivation now, not later. Think about it, pray about it, and write it down, you’ll know you’ve got your real “why” when it brings a tear to your eye.

Sean BartramSean Bartram B.Sc (hons.), MBASES is owner of Core Pilates and Fitness ( and head trainer to the Indianapolis Colts Cheerleaders. Follow him @corepilatesllc

The Hinge-The Importance of Mental Toughness Dr. Rob BellDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology coach. DRB & Associates based in Indianapolis works with athletes, coaches, and teams building their Mental Toughness.  His 2nd book titled The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness was recently released. Follow on twitter @drrobbell  or contact