The Strategies Model suggests thoughts are sequential in nature and a person thinks about one thing at a time leading to an outcome or to motivation. These thoughts are formulated based on visual (V), auditory (A), kinesthetic (K), olfactory (O), or gustatory (G) information.  When eliciting someone’s strategy or process, the purpose is to determine how he or she composes this VAKOG phenomenon on the way to the results they experience. The first step is to evaluate what sensory input is involved in the decision and in what order the information is processed.  Once known, changes can be made to elicit more adaptive patterns.

Hypothetical Client
Jayson is a 21-year old man who makes an appointment with a coach because he has been hired as a sales consultant for a large company. He feels as if this is an excellent opportunity and he wants to do well. However, even though he has successfully completed the training, he remains nervous about talking to clients.

During the first session, my goals are to:
1. Build Rapport – I observe Jayson’s eye accessing cues and listen to his predicate phrases. His primary representational system is visual. So, I ask visual questions such as “What do you see yourself doing five years from now?” and “Can you imagine what it would be like to be a successful sales consultant?” We both belong to a gym, so, we share a common interest, which makes building rapport fairly easy.

2. Identify the positive intent of the behavior – Jayson says the positive intent of his nervousness is to make sure he makes a positive impression on his bosses.

3. Complete the Logical Levels exercise

The information gained during the exercise provides a clear understanding of what Jayson wants to achieve and where best to intervene. His answers are as follows:

Jayson: Wherever I making a sales presentation to a prospective client.

Jayson: I get nervous and stumble over my words.

 & Skills Level
Jayson: I know the product well. I have successfully completed the training and I want to do well.

Beliefs Level
Jayson: I have never done anything like this before, it is all somewhat foreign to me, and I don’t have all the skills to do the job as well as I want.

Identity Level
Jayson: I am a young man who is not very worldly.

I decide to intervene at the Beliefs level and ask Meta model questions to transform problematic vagueness, such as, “You have never done anything like this – ever?”, “What skills do you think are missing?” and “How is the work somewhat foreign to you?

First I want to create an anchor for Jayson.
Choose a feeling or state.
Jayson – The feeling he wants to work on is anxiety when meeting with a client.
Think of a time when a preferred state occurred and anchor that feeling by connecting it to a specific physical action.
Jayson – The preferred state he wants to access is the confidence he felt when he won first place in a golf tournament and he anchored that feeling by touching his thumbs together.

Go to a neutral place.

Jayson – Focused on the wind in the trees outside the window.
Test the connection to determine whether or not the preferred feeling occurs.
If the new feeling is not strong enough, repeat the process until it elicits the feeling or try a different physical or visual anchor.
Jayson – Repeated the anchor process several times until he felt the confidence.

Strategies Model
Once the anchor is in place a possible approach is the Strategies Model.  Jayson says his process is as follows: He sees the client coming towards, hears the questions asked, sees the customer’s waiting for the answer, feels fear and chokes up. This VAKOG pattern leads him to feel anxious and forget what he knows.

I guided him to create a different VAKOG pattern as he thinks about making the sale. Instead, when he sees the client, he takes a deep breath, puts his thumbs together, and pictures his anchor of confidence. This VAKOG pattern offers him other choices.

Future Pace
I always like to future pace what has been taught. So, I asked Jayson to think of situations which could arise where he would feel the anxiety, instructed him to use the anchor, and practice the new pattern to see what or if adjustments must be made.

This is one approach to working with the issue of anxiety.