One of the worst things you can do is inadvertently offer your client a goal they can’t reach.
Well, sure. They’ll probably be able to reach it someday. After all, that’s part of your job, right? To hold the dream of their success, competence, value and worth as inevitable, even when they can’t see it?
But one of the biggest problems I see is coaches who offer too much, too fast; and many counselors and therapists frequently doing the opposite and offering too little, too slowly.
Somewhere in between the two is the optimal goal.
How do you find it?
1st – My suggestion is to always take the time to create an absolutely, unequivocally, beyond a shadow of a doubt, reachable outcome. By that I mean an outcome your client can reach while they’re still working with you – preferably before they leave your office each and every meeting.
2nd – Break down the big goal into the little goals essential to reaching the big one. Goals that entail overhauling a complete life style are not quickly reachable outcomes. The wise coach or counselor keeps breaking down the big goal into the little goals that have to be reached before the final destination comes into view.
We all know that in order to someday dance, you have to start as a baby, rolling over onto your belly from your back. This has to happen before you can crawl; and crawling has to happen before you can stand; and standing before you can walk, and walking before you can run, and running before you can finally dance freely and with abandon.
Most goals are usually reachable, but always in small steps. Your job is to make sure your client is focused on the step in front of them.
And it’s your job to put that step in view and keep it there until it’s reached and the next step comes into view.
The bigger the scope of the change, the more small steps will be required. Here are some categories ranging from an expansive to a one shift scope:
Life-Style Change→ I want a different relationship with my partner.
Belief System Change→ I want to be free of this limiting belief I got from my Mother.
Identity Change→ I want to stop being a complainer and honor my life with gratitude.
Strategy Change→ I want to change my behavior so I don’t get mad anymore.
Behavior Change→ I want to be able to get up in the morning every day at 6 am.
Getting Rid Of Something Old Vs. Gaining Something New
Most clients present their problems with the goal of walking away from the session without the problem. Of course, that would be the natural desire. However, if this is all the information you have about what’s going on, it is definitely not enough to create a sustainable outcome, i.e. the absence of the problem for good, AND the presence of something to replace that problem’s spot in the individual’s personal ecology.
Here’s where it’s in your best interest, and the best interest of your client, to take the time to find out what they want, not just what they want to be rid of. This is extremely important, for it frames the session toward gaining something positive and not just getting rid of something negative.
‘What do you want to be doing when you’re no longer doing what you don’t like?’
When you ask this question, here’s what happens:
• It redirects the session toward a positive outcome that you can quantify and test to see if you’ve been successful
• It creates another option for the unconscious mind that is as good as they one you want it to release
• It starts the process of laying down a new neural pathway in the brain for the new option to become a real behavior
If you don’t give the mind and brain someplace new to go, you won’t really have moved your client forward. It will just be a movement laterally to another option on the same level, rather than expanding and opening up the mind to the bigger possibilities and potentials that rest within.
Enjoy being more successful than ever before. Best to you in your practice.