NLP Techniques: Well-formed Outcome

Submitted by Craig on Tue, 04/25/2017 - 01:06

The Idea:

Good NLP always starts with the question "what do you want"? Other disciplines say to "start with the end in mind", and in business, we also say "a problem well-defined is half-solved". If you want something, and you are clear about it, and ferociously committed to achieving it the odds are that you'll be successful in the end. NLP calls this kind of result a Well-Formed Outcome, which name came from NLP's linguistic roots. When outcomes are well formed, the journey is also much more enjoyable.

Of all the NLP patterns that exist, this is, perhaps, the first pattern to master in your own life, and with your clients. Most other patterns only support the achievement of this one.

The Pattern:

As a coach, you will teach the client how to create future outcomes and create powerful motivational links to those outcomes. Your task will be to use good elicitation skills, to help the client become very clear, precise, motivated, and smart about achieving this outcome in the world of real people, and in real time.

1. State the outcome in the positive

  • Use future perfect tense to state the goal: "By June 30, I will have raised $6,000 for tuition"
  • Avoid the use of negatives in the goal statement.

Create a sense of expectancy and anticipation. "Consider it done!"

2. Identify whether you can get this outcome on your own, or only with the buy in of others

  • What could you do today, that would move you in the direction of the outcome.

3. Identify When, Where, Who

  • You can use a project plan to list the tasks, resources, timeframes, and dependencies, or at least walk through the tasks and write them down on paper.

5. Chunk the steps appropriately

  • The woman who ate the whale did so one bite at a time. Break the tasks in to steps that can be done, measured and evaluated.
  • What tasks can you do on a daily or weekly basis that will move you toward your ultimate outcome?

4. Add Sensory-based evidence

  • What will you see, hear and feel when your major milestones toward your outcome are acheived?
  • What will you see, hear and feel when your outcome is achieved?
  • What behavior will you display when your outcome is achieved?

You can work on submodality enhancement during this step if the sensory evidence is weak or foggy. "See what you will see, hear what you will hear, speak how you will speak, stand how you will stand".

6. Fortify yourself with the resources you'll need

  • Will you require technical competence or skill, Information, cooperation, confidence, communication skill or pursuasion?

You can go inside to elicit whether the client has the resources sufficient for the outcome, and create them if not.

7. Make the goal compelling

  • Are you excited to get up every morning and pursue your outcome?
  • What obstacles or parts of you create a drag on your motivation?
  • What other distractions compete for attention when working on the outcome?

8. Check for ecology

  • Is your outcome congruent with your own beliefs and values?
  • Is your outcome congruent with and supportive of life?

If not, go inside to find out how the outcome can become more ecological.

When To Use This Pattern:

Use this pattern in your own life, and get really, really good at it. Since the pattern takes some time to walk through, limit it's use to the really important goals in your life. An hour of planning for a 5-minute task is just not appropriate. But for the really big goals, an hour of planning will go a long way toward achieving your outcome. It is also appropriate on the big goals to review this pattern on a weekly and monthly basis as you progress toward your outcome.

Use this pattern for clients who want an important outcome, but are unclear on how to define that outcome, or how to get started or stay motivated. Use this pattern to teach how to correct course after launching, and how to anticipate navigate obstacles or resource shortfalls.


Michael Hall, and others.