Have you ever gotten in to an elevator and pushed the button for the floor you are already on? Without thinking, I got on at the first floor, pushed one and waited… then pushed one again and waited. My friend noticed, and said, “Aren’t we going to the fourth floor?” Amazing how much more effective it was when I pushed the right button! Often our thought process functions in the same manner: we focus on where we are, or on the problem, or on what we wish was not. It is when we choose to focus on what we do want that we see how to make it happen.
Consider this example: A work team has been given a big project with a tight timeline to complete specific steps. Because of conflicts within the team, the leader felt it worth while to spend time resolving the conflicts to ensure more productive efforts. The leader asked the team to describe what is happening, and to talk about their needs. The team jumps in to the conversation pointing out the problems and what they need individually, entrenching themselves in their positions. Now take the same group and change the question; “how are you going to work together and get the job done?” Now the team realizes it is their responsibility to solve the conflict and focuses on developing solutions.
Goal setting, individually or as a team, is about exploring what you do want and then intentionally moving towards making it happen. The reason an excellent coach makes a difference is that they ask questions in a way that focuses the client on desired outcome and action planning of specific steps to achieve the goal.