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The Four Functions

Understanding behavior isn't magic, here's why....


Raise your hand if you have ever asked yourself, “Why do we do what we do?” Well, pull up a seat and let me show you why behaviors occur and how to respond effectively.


All human behavior can be linked to a motivation of some type, which researchers have categorized in the following way:




1. Sensory: those “feel goods,” like wrapping in a blanket on a cold day.

2. Escape: the removal of self from an undesired situation or person.

3. Attention: the desire to gain a reaction from others, good or bad.

4. Access: the allowance of a certain item or inclusion to an event.


"Change your thoughts and you change your world." - Norman Vincent Peale

Why is this important?


When we look at why people do what they do through this “lens,” we begin to understand

with a clear mind what their motivations are. As a Cognitive Behavioral Coach (CBC), I try

to seek these motivations out and allow my clients to understand the “limiting beliefs” they

may have about a situation in their workplace due to these motivations.


For example, a client of mine recently understood that their motivation to do well with their business was to gain positive attention from others. As their coach, I asked if this aligned with their values as a business owner, and they agreed that this was not the foundation in which they wanted to build their company. Instead, investing in CBC to discover and act on internal motivating factors has become their new focus.


This is where behavioral change happens. The magic isn’t trying to “read” people, the magic is understanding how to use these functions to allow people to think about their world differently.


Let's give it a go ... shall we?


Click here to test your skills!


Mackenzie Childs | MSc


Former educator, realist, and wine enthusiast, Mackenzie comes from a diverse background of behavioral intervention, teaching, and business development strategies. As part of a project within the Klein Independent School District to launch a new behavioral program on several campuses, she found her niche in wanting to help others grow their strengths within their career.

Drawing from experience in several industries, Mackenzie brings thoughtful, visionary, and practical coaching within developing organizations. When the stakes are high for a new or veteran executive, a troubled team needs intervention, or transition needs to take place, she can provide planning for the future while simultaneously improving day-to-day function. Her sensitive insight with tough issues defuses tensions and catalyzes collaboration.


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