Could Agreeing Objectives make a difference to your life?
In agreeing the objectives, it is necessary first to establish the speaker’s aims and needs of the helping relationship. By exploring what the speaker hopes to gain from the experience in terms of outcomes, helps to shape a framework for the journey, to help give structure to the start, middle and end of the relationship. An example of this is with a speaker who is going through a painful divorce, where their aim or wish is to feel better able and confident to face the future alone. In this example the agreed objectives might look like:
1/ Agree to discuss and explore the circumstances leading up to the divorce and personal insights that might come from this
2/ Agree to share the ongoing experience of the divorce and how it feels (including drawing out hopes and fears for the future)
3/ In a counselling situation only, to agree to review the progress of the helping relationship at the end of every other session. Or if the helping relationship is between friends, then it could be supportive to agree to meet up in the future to see how things are going.
In all kinds of helping relationships, whether socially, inside families in the workplace, or services volunteered like in the Citizens Advice Bureau, it is useful to agree or have some sense of objectives. It helps the speaker clarify for themselves what they aim to achieve from the interaction, which, in turn informs how the listener can be most supportive. (e.g. the speaker simply wants to discuss a problem that is bothering them and how they feel about it so that the listener needs to practise active listening and empathy rather than guide a solution).