End Goals and Direction

This video explains why outcomes need to be big, bold, and flexible.

This relates to the ‘goal’ in the Grow model. It also adds some additional detail if we’ve had any challenges with our end goal setting in section 2.

What we want to achieve

I prefer to work back from the long term goals rather than simply create short term goals – when starting from the present we tend to get bogged down in the trivial small problems of the day and almost sabotage ourselves before we’ve begun.

We have a way of thinking about outcomes that either makes them more achievable, or helps us to decide that they are not worth achieving and choose to change them.

The more clearly we know what we want, the more motivated we will be to move towards it (or in a better position to decide to leave it.)

The future a is mental construct.

To help clients clarify their end goals we have to ensure that both our client and we are in a useful state. In simple terms, if we envision our future in a less-than-useful state, we’ll envision a less-than-useful future!

Setting end goals enables us to set direction and clarify our purpose, which in turn helps keep us motivated. It’s best to keep goals big and bold and change them whenever they no longer motivate us. I’m not aware of any reason to set a direction that is anything other than positive and motivating!

I always suggest clients set up 2-5 end goals. I tend to find, from experience that five is the best number of goals to have. The idea is that in achieving these 5 goals you will achieve many more on the way, and many more as a result of achieving them.

A good test of whether you have the right goals is that you’ll be genuinely motivated to work towards them, and that when you imagine yourself having achieved them you will genuinely be excited and fulfilled. You’re not aware of anything important that’s missing.

Be selfish. You may ask other people for suggestions to help you think of some goals, but remember : This is about you – These are your dreams – And only you can set your goals.

Be ambitious. This is the dare-to-dream phase. The test is that when we consider a future in which we’ve achieved these goals, that were happy and fulfilled. At this stage we do not have to know how to achieve them. That comes later in the process.

Be flexible. This process helps us clarify if we really want what we think we want. If we decide it’s not quite right for us and we may need to refine what we want. It’s far better to decide that it’s not the future we want at this stage, rather than work hard at it and find out later.

The questioning is positive and exploratory. If it’s right for the client they’ll commit to it themselves. If not explore something else.

Very occasionally clients will be unable to explore long term goals, simply because they don’t have the emotional energy to do so or else they’ve developed negative anchors against the process. In these cases I’ll take the opposite approach and encourage them to work on a small, easy to achieve, short term goal. Working on, and achieving ,this goal will normally give them the confidence and courage to work on something bigger.

In the case of larger goals I’ll take them through the ‘classic’

NLP outcomes process

Name it:Describe what you want
Positive: Is that something you want, as opposed to want to avoid?
Be Specific:(However this is NOT the time for SMART Goals)


When, where, with whom do you want it?

Evidence – Sensory based: How do you know when you’ve got it?

What will you see, hear, feel, taste, and smell?

What will do you see yourself doing differently as a result of achieving this?

Preserve the positive intention:







Initiated and maintained by the individual:

(Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater)

What will happen if you get this result?

What won’t happen if you get it?

What will happen if you don’t get this result?

What won’t happen if you don’t get it?



Is it under your control? If not which parts are under your control?


What is the first step that you will take?

Ecology check:



Offer your hand, palm, up, to your partner and offer them their goal, right now, in the palm of your hand. If you were offered this right now, would you take it?


Look for their unconscious response. Do they really want it? If so, that’s great. If not, that’s good too. It’s time to explore something different.


Suggested Exercises

Before completing this exercise I ask clients to come up with 2-5 end goals that will make the programme worthwhile to and add them to their vision board on my coaching portal with an image. (If you don’t have a coaching portal, you can simply write them down.)

Take them through this exercise with each end goal.

  • What’s changed?
  • Which end goals do they want to change?

When they’ve completed this they’re likely to be much more motivated to start on their journey to move forward.

It’s also useful to run clients through the process for single goals.


In the next section we look at Rapport, developing open communication with individuals and groups.


NLP Coaching Section Index

NLP Coaching 1: Introduction
NLP Coaching 2: NLP coaching model
NLP Coaching 3: Beginning frame
NLP Coaching 4: States and anchors
NLP Coaching 5: End goals and direction
NLP Coaching 6: Rapport
NLP Coaching 7: Where are you
NLP Coaching 8: Getting to there
NLP Coaching 9: Mental rehearsal
NLP Coaching 10: End frame
NLP Coaching 11: Summary


NLP Coaching | End Goals and Direction

NLP Coaching | End Goals and Direction