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What are Your Needs?

A coaching exercise taken from the downloadable book
available at: Life Coaching Exercises

This exercise is designed to start you thinking about which of your important needs are not being met and where you want your priorities to be.

One way of classifying needs is that developed by Abraham Maslow in his theory explaining human motivation.  In the most advanced version of his theory, he set out a number of categories of basic needs (“Deficiency Needs”) and also a number of categories of higher order needs (“Growth Needs”) relating to personal growth and development.  The types of needs are as follows:

Deficiency Needs:

Physiological needs – basic biological needs, such as the need for oxygen, water, food.  Also the need for sleep, sexual needs and the need to avoid pain.

Safety & Security Needs – the need for security, stability, protection from harm, perhaps also the need for a stable job or income and a home.

Love & Belonging Needs – the need for relationships of different kinds, family, friends, romance, community.

Esteem Needs – the need to have the respect of others and the need for self respect, self confidence, independence and freedom.


Growth Needs

The Need to Know and Understand – the need to gain knowledge and understand the world and one’s environment

Aesthetic Needs – the need for symmetry, balance and beauty

Self-Actualization Needs – the need to achieve one’s potential and find fulfilment

Transcendence – The need to connect to something beyond the ego or to help others find fulfilment and realize their potential.


Bearing in mind the above categories or any other needs which you think are not covered by them, answer the questions below:

1.   Which category of needs do you most want to meet better in your life now?



2.   What will be the potential impact on other categories of needs from you doing so?



3.   What sort of balance do you want to achieve between the different categories of needs? To what degree do you want to shift your current priorities?



4.   What would be the potential consequences of shifting your priorities?



5.   Given your reflections in 1-4 above are there any actions or commitments you would like to make to mark a rebalancing of your priorities?


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