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NLP: goal setting with a twist

Goal setting

The well formed outcome process is the NLP version of goal setting. A student from India pondered the question how do you use the well formed outcome process in a situation where the goal is determined by someone other than the client?

This for instance happens where an employer or leader determines the goal of the group.  Everyone one of us has dreams of our own, goals we would like to achieve,, but what if our employer wants something different?

What could happen if your goal is set by someone else?

It is interesting to ponder what hypothetical situations could occur:

1. The client and group goals are the same.

2. The client and group goals are different, and compatible.

3. The client and the company are different, and not compatible.

4. Any other version.

The NLP well-formed outcome process

The NLP well formed outcomes process my appear to be a conscious way of goal setting, but it actually isn’t just that. It is actually designed to set up the unconscious mind in a way to reach our goals. And really, what in the end determines whether or not we will reach our goals….is how unconsciously set ourselves up to reach it!

Now when the client and group goals are the same or compatible you have no problem using the well formed outcome process. But what happens when the  goals conflict? The unconscious mind is hardly going to cooperate in something it does not wish to achieve. In this case of course, career coaching the client would be wise. Not everyone wishes or is able to leave their employer or group for the reason of conflicting goals. So how do  you goal set? The answer is in designing your own goal set process specific to the client. I am a big advocate for not applying cookie cutter NLP or coaching processes, where one size fits all.


NLP Practitioner level:

1. Maybe this is more about helping the client to build coping mechanisms or an exit strategu as a goal.

2. Find a way by which the clients goals can independently be achieved as well as the group goal

3. Use submodalities to motivate the clients into reaching the goals, but a simple of adjustment (make it brighter, clearer, bring it close etc.) To for instance doing a map across

4. Using perceptual positions, perhaps some understanding and motivation can be gained by understanding how reaching the group goal can enhance the life of the client. What is the potential positive impact? What about a new behavior generator?

5. How could anchoring be used in this case? A circle of excellence? Switching from a negative emotional state to a positive.

6. TOTE/Strategies would you be able to figure out what the clients motivational strategies are, and is there a way to implement this reaching the group goal?

NLP Practitioner/NLP Master Practitioner level:

1. Provide clarity in goal setting, for instance by creating a future pace in to a time where the goal already was reached. And then considering what milestone was achieved right before that. And before that. Associating the client into each step towards the now. This will help the unconscious mind rehearse the goal completion as well as gain the clarity required as to what needs to be done.

2. NLP Metaprograms motivational strategies could provide some answers that will help coaching your client. For instance, is the client toward or away motivated? Focused on people or things? Etc.

3. What are the clients values (NLP criteria?) Is there perhaps a way for the client to gain different understandings based on their values or even core value.

4. How could timelining the client be beneficial in other ways than stepping into the future? Is there perhaps something to be gained from the past?

Conclusion: goal setting with a twist

If you were to goal set with a single client in a situation of conflicting goals, as an NLP Master Practitioner you really have a whole tool box available to deal with the situation short term as well as long term. If you have to coach a group of individuals one-on-one you can’t go as deep, but also here considering the above tips as a starting point for the design of a program for goal setting would be a good thing to do.

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