When Time Line Therapy™ was first developed by Dr Tad James, it was used to help people revisit and overcome painful and dramatic experiences in their past.
Time Line Therapy™ can also be used to support people in creating their goals. By allowing them to create and visualize powerful specific events in their future, individuals can draw upon their internal resources to create compelling motivation and increased confidence having already ‘seen’ themselves achieving their goal.
There are several ways in which this can be achieved, and I have found this to be one the most effective sequences in using timelines to create a compelling goals.
1. Generate and build an initial level of rapport with the client.
2. Guide your client into a more suggestive state by matching and pacing the conversation and exploiting the Milton model.
3. Have your client consider their goal – there is no need for the person to articulate their goal as long as they can define it (SMART) for themselves. This ensures that the technique can remain content free if that is important.
4. Have the client consider the good things that will happen if the goal is achieved.
5. Have the client consider the bad things that will happen if the goal is achieved.
6. Have the client consider the good things that will happen if the goal isn’t achieved.
7. Have the client consider the bad things that will happen if the goal isn’t achieved.
These cartesian questions are equivalent to an ecology check for the client’s goal. Ensure the client is content with the outcome their goal.
8. Define the timeline:
People will generally have their own timeline already internally defined.
‘In time’ people often have a time line that sweeps in from the past on their left and off into the future on their right.
‘Through time’ people often have the time line running through their body with the past behind them and the future ahead of them.
As a coach it can be useful to control the situation more directly and define your own timeline.
9. For this technique, provide the client with a linear timeline that runs forward from their seat or initial position.
10. Give the client an object that they can use to mark the point along the timeline that represents the goal being achieved. Have the client more the object forward and backward a little to ensure that the final position is correct. This will reinforce the timeline, spatially anchor the goal point and also sets up a presupposition of a successful outcome. The object will be something that the client takes away with them and so becomes an anchor object that reminds them of the goal being achieved.
11. With the goal ‘position’ in place, take the client back to the start of the timeline.
12. Now slowly move the client physically along the timeline and build their positive feelings towards the point of achieving the goal. Then move past the goal into the future a number of months or years so that the outcome can be fully considered in ‘hind sight’.
13. Ask the client what achieving their goal will can given them. Anchor these positive feelings.
14. Now have the person turn to face the origin of the timeline and list the tasks that need to have been achieved before the goal was achieved.
15. Have the client step off the timeline and take up the 2nd position role. Get the client to look at the list as a coach would and see if there are any additional tasks that need to be completed. Have them coach an imaginary ‘self’ to complete the task list.
16. With a now full list of tasks to complete, have the client step back onto the timeline looking ‘forward toward their goal. Fire the anchor of positive motivation and achievement and have the client walk slowly back towards their original position.
17. As they move backwards, have them increase the intensity of the motivation (spin it faster in the positive direction) and have them visualize an elastic band connected to their belt to the point on the timeline where their goal is.
18. As they move backwards, have them feel the elastic band grow tighter and tighter almost stopping them moving backwards.
19. Time the guided visualization so that when the client reaches their original position (I like to use a chair for this) they are almost unable to step the last fraction backwards (or sitdown), the elastic band compelling them strongly towards their goal.
20. Anchor this feeling and future lace the next action that will be taken from the list crafted earlier. Have the client visualize the next action being completed at a specific time and date.
21. Future pace the next action being taken and assess their motivation (scale of 1-10).
Your client should now be able to draw upon the motivation you have helped them create!
Dare to Aspire