A Coaching Power Tool created by Sumbo Ndi
(Empowerment Coaching, AUSTRALIA)
The purpose of this power tool is to explore the clarity versus ambiguity of purpose and intentions as it affects goal setting, outcome and overall success.
Clarity as defined by a number of dictionaries describes clearness of appearance, thoughts, ability to be easily understood, the ability to think clearly, the quality or state of being clear. Ambiguity on the other hand is described as doubtfulness or uncertainty of meaning or intention, a state of being unclear or indefinite. Ambiguity creates uncertainty, stress and complexity which make decision making difficult. For the purpose of this paper, ambiguity is the inability to clearly define vision and goals that leads to success. I also want to bring in the perspective of setting goals that align with our true self, values and what we truly want which comes from being in tune with our inner self or voice; and not just what seem like a good idea. This alignment brings about true success.
Having a destination/end in mind makes goal setting more effective. You need to be clear on what it is you are setting out to achieve or where you want to go. Having ambiguity or not being sure of what you want to achieve could make SMART goals not so smart after all; because you might end up somewhere completely different to where you truly want to be.
I will illustrate the concept of clarity vs. ambiguity with a story:
Kate is planning to go on a holiday and decides that Hawaii will be her destination of choice. Knowing where her destination is, she decides to book her flight and looked out for the one that will give her the best value. She decided to shop and pack her suitcase ready for her trip to Hawaii. With the knowledge of what the climatic conditions are, she packed clothes that are appropriate for the weather, she included sunscreen that she will apply on her skin while lying on the beach in Hawaii. After talking to a few friends about her planned trip, she got advice about lovely places that she could visit and one of her friends gave her the contact details of her sister who lives in Hawaii and might be of help to her.
Sally on the other hand also wants to go on a holiday; however she was not decided on where she wanted to go. When she went out shopping, she would buy anything that might be good to take on a holiday. Being in Australia and in summer time, she got mostly summer clothing and a few slightly warm clothes. After having a discussion with someone she met at a pub and mentioned that was planning to go on a holiday and was not decided on the destination yet; voila! Great suggestion-the city of love, Paris. She went online booked a flight to Paris and was ready to go in two days. Getting to France, she realised that most of her beautiful clothes that she had bought were not warm enough for the very cold winter. She ended up spending most of her holiday money on getting appropriate clothing.
Kate had a destination mind, therefore:
- She was able to plan for the trip effectively
- She was able to book her flight on time and took advantage of the good deal
- She had the possibility of accessing other resources along the way by speaking to friends about her plan
Sally had no destination in mind, therefore:
- Planning for the trip was more challenging
- She did not do the necessary ground work because she was not sure of where she was going
- That led to using her money to buy things that could have been taken care of if she had planned well
- Even though she has lovely clothes, they did not serve her in the moment she needed them
- Clarity makes aim /goal easier to achieve
- More focused when you are clear about what you want to achieve as opposed to going in multiple directions with less focus
- Clarity Makes it easy to tap in to other resources
- Ambiguity brings about difficulty in setting goals that will meet your expectation and intention
- Ambiguity - energy zapping
In order to achieve success, we need to be clear on what success is for us; which will be based on our values and what is really important for us. When that is well defined, we can then set SMART goals that align with those values and that will move us to where we want to get to. Having clarity of purpose and intention will also help in choosing the right resources required for the outcome that you want to achieve.
We can help our clients to set a clear objective or expectation around what they want to achieve. We can then help them set SMART goals that align with their values and always having the destination or end in mind. Having the destination in mind will help them assess whether they are still on track or have gone off track.