By Amy Aitken, Senior Administrator | MBTI & Insights Practitioner | Coach with CLIC
Knowing where to start with your goals can be a real challenge – you have identified what you ultimately want to achieve, and you might have some ideas about action to take, but do you truly know and understand all the forces that are at play in your current situation? It’s only by recognising the things that keep a situation as it is, that maintain the ‘status quo’, we can begin to take the relevant, necessary action to change our behaviour.
I wanted to share a tool with you which I have found particularly useful in this area, both for myself personally, and when working with coaching clients…
Developed by American-German psychologist Kurt Lewin, Force Field Analysis is a technique which enables you to consider all of the factors that may help you in achieving your goal, as well as the factors that might hinder you. It’s a straightforward process that’s easy enough to do on your own – the real trick is being completely honest with yourself! By doing this, you can begin to identify strengths, blindspots, advantages, fresh perspectives, and establish feasibility and overall commitment to your goal.
- First, draw a line down the middle of the page to represent your goal. In the below example, this is ‘By the end of 2019, I will be practicing yoga at least 3 hours per week, every week’ (notice how the goal is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-Bound – SMART)
- Next, write ‘Hindering Forces’ above the left-hand column, and ‘Helping Forces’ above the right-hand column
- Under each column, begin to list the factors that either help or hinder achievement of your goal. Think about things within your control (e.g. yourself), outside of you control (e.g. other people), and your wider environment (e.g. your organisation)
- When you think you’ve finished listing, ask yourself again: ‘Have I captured everything?’
- Assign arrows to each of the forces listed, making their size relative to the power they have
In the above, you can see that the hindering forces are greater than the helping forces, so some real commitment and effort will be needed in order to achieve the goal.
- Now take some time to reflect on what you’ve written. Think about which of the forces can be increased, decreased, or perhaps even completely removed – challenge yourself! In relation to the example, a family planner was introduced to diminish the impact of a busy schedule, the fact that yoga classes don’t run every week, and to encourage motivation
Whilst a personal example has been used here, this tool can be applied to many, many different situations. Happy Force Field Analysing everyone!