Last night I was was watching a repeat episode from Contender Asia 2008, particularly the Yodsanklai vs Naruepol fight. This may be inconsequential for many, but something I see an important lesson in. Yodsanklai and Naruepol are fast friends, fighters from the same gym. They were both fighters in the Contender 2008 championship. Given that they are such close friends, it was really tough for them to face off against each other in a knockout situation. Now Naruepol was finding it really tough to prepare for the fight, and kept saying right until the last moment, "I don't want to fight my friend." Yodsanklai on the other hand was reluctant but focussed on winning the championship and saw that as his clear goal. His hunger to win showed. It doesn't take guessing to know who won. Yodsanklai won that match and also the Contender title. If you set aside the "he screwed his friend" argument for a bit, you will notice that one of the reasons he won was because of his strong desire to win and because he had a very clear goal. As a coach you cant teach that -- you can't set a goal for someone: you can only elicit that and make it explicit. The desire to achieve something is inherent.
Often in the process of coaching we impose goals on our coachees and that is a bit of an antipattern that I sometimes observe. As a coach you can take your coachee's desire and perhaps mould that into a well formed outcome. The NLP Meta Model helps you convert strong internal desires into tangible, measurable outcomes. One of the tools I love using (and this is taken almost word for word from Robert Dilts) is the Well Formed Outcomes Worksheet. I use this to elicit and qualify goals. Here's the pattern I tend to follow when discussing a coachee's goals:
- Outcome– Stated in Positive Terms. What do you want?
- Sensory Evidence – Observable Behavioral Definition of the Outcome. How, specifically, will you know you achieve this goal? What are the performance criteria? How will they be tested?
- Self-Achievable – Goal Can Be Initiated and Maintained by the Person or Group Desiring It. What specifically will you do to achieve this goal?
- Positive 'By-Products' Preserved – Positive Intentions and Secondary Gains of the Problem State. What positive things, in any way, do you get from your present way of doing things? How will you maintain those things in your new goal?
- Appropriately Contextualized – Outcome Appropriately Contextualized and Ecologically Sound. Who and what else could reaching this goal affect? Under what conditions would you and would you NOT want to have this outcome?