What You Must Know to Motivate Your Clients and Help Them Make Satisfying Choices

“Criteria and values are a special category of beliefs. They are beliefs you hold about why something is important or worthwhile. They are very powerful and individualized.”

From Beliefs: Pathways to Health & Well-Being
by Robert Dilts, Tim Hallbom and Suzi Smith

Recognizing the importance of criteria is critical when you want to help increase someone’s motivation or make choices that will ultimately lead to a more satisfying life. When we fail to satisfy our criteria, it becomes difficult to get motivated or to stay motivated.

One way you can discover how criteria works is to ask yourself, “What do you want in a job?” Your answer will include words like “opportunities,” “people I really enjoy,” “compensation,” etc. These words are the doorways to your criteria. If these criteria aren’t largely satisfied by your current position, you’ll be unhappy in your work.

Apply a similar question to a relationship or potential relationship in order to determine your criteria for that. Your satisfaction with the relationship will be high or low based upon whether or not your criteria are being met.

If you were working with someone to improve their job satisfaction, you would want to elicit their criteria and then describe their job so that the criteria are largely met. Then see if their job can be structured in a way that fits the description and meets their criteria.

You can help people design or implement the criteria for their relationships in a similar manner—describing the relationship in a way that meets their criteria and then discussing changes to the relationship that might lead to more criteria being met.

It is important to set aside time for criteria such as “communication” or “opportunities to learn” to improve relationships and jobs. Being able to satisfy such criteria will increase overall satisfaction and motivation.

Additionally, it is important to remember that each of us arranges our criteria hierarchically. If someone tells you that “having fun” and “earning a living” are both important, you want to determine which of the two criteria is first. Dig around for specifics, such as dollars and cents.

In this case you might say, “I understand that you want to make sure you’re making a living and having fun while doing it.” Then ask the following serious of questions.

“How much money do you consider enough to constitute earning a living?”

“Could you be happy if you had to earn less than that in order to have fun?”

“Would you rather have more fun and a little less money or a little more money and a little less fun?”

In the last scenario, you are introducing a new variable—one of degree. The degree, or measurable extent of difference, can affect the preferred criteria. In this case the degree to which one job option is more fun versus the amount of increased income for another might influence the person’s choice.

Overall, you need to help clients determine which criteria are most important to them and what they can do to make sure their criteria are met. You also have to acknowledge their criteria in order of importance, or it will not resonate with them.

In many cases, you will want to use a client’s exact words… and emphasis. People emphasize words for a reason, and if you repeat things back to them in their words, they will be more likely to feel that you “get” them. In fact, doing so increases the likelihood that you really will understand them.

Understanding client’s criteria will go a long way towards helping them increase their motivation and make more satisfying choices.

Ask one of your clients, “What do you want in a job (or relationship, etc.)?” Then come back here and share how this information created the framework to motivate your client.

P.S. Do you want to reprint this article? Please do. Just be sure that it remains intact and includes the following bio.

About Terry: Terry Hickey, M.S., is a Certified NLP Professional Coach, Business Trainer and Consultant, a Certified Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and the co-owner of NLP Advantage Group. Originator of the Belief Breakthrough Method™, Terry specializes in teaching coaches and entrepreneurs how to rapidly resolve limiting beliefs about wealth and success. His tips and strategies can help you launch yourself into the future you want… NOW.

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