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TOTE – Method of Modeling Effective Skills and Behaviors

Abbreviation T.O.T.E. means “Test-Operate-Test-Exit”. The concept of T.O.T.E. assumes that for any effective action it is necessary to have a given goal and various possible methods of achieving it.

According to this model, in the mind (consciously or subconsciously) we set a goal, and then check whether it is achieved. If the verification criteria are not satisfied, then we perform a new action to change something or take something to get closer to our goal. If the verification criteria are satisfied, then as the next step we will exit this process.

The modeling includes the determination of various elements of the T.O.T.E. performer

1. The goals of the performer.

2. Procedures for obtaining evidence used by the coach to determine the degree of progress towards the goal.

3. Alternative options for achieving the goal and specific actions to implement these options.

4. The way in which the performer reacts if the goal is not achieved.

Training Toolkit: Questions for Modeling T.O.T.E.

1. In what context do you usually use the skill that you will be modeling?

2. What are the goals that guide your actions when you apply this skill in this context? (List them in the form of short sentences or keywords.)

3. What do you use as proof that you have achieved these goals?

4. What do you do to achieve your goals - what are the specific steps and actions needed to achieve your goals in this context?

5. What specific actions or steps do you take to solve unexpected problems or overcome difficulties in achieving your goals in this context?

Training Toolkit: Cross-Mapping of Effectiveness

As soon as information about T.O.T.E. or the client’s strategy is received, it can be transformed to help the person improve his or her activity. Cross-mapping is a form of “self-modeling” in which the steps or elements of a strategy that are effective for one situation or task are analyzed and then applied in a completely different context. Since strategies are independent of the content, a private strategy for the creative preparation of a dish, for example, can be disposed of or “cross-mapped”. Thus, it can help a person act more creatively in some other area, for example when writing music, solving organizational problems or creating a new product.

One of the main utilization procedures in NLP is to identify the four elements of T.O.T.E. for both effective and ineffective strategies and comparing them to identify key differences. Then, an effective strategy can be utilized to enrich an inefficient strategy in two ways:

1) replacing the elements of the ineffective T.O.T.E. relevant to elements of an effective T.O.T.E.

2) adding elements of an effective T.O.T.E. to the elements of the ineffective T.O.T.E.

Joint learning

Structure T.O.T.E. can also be used by coaches to help clients compare different strategies using the “Intervision” method. This contributes to the “joint learning” of the coach and the client or various groups of clients.

Joint learning is a process in which several people can share effective strategies. For example, two managers or two musicians can have different strategies for performing tasks of the same type in the same context. By identifying and telling others about goals, procedures for obtaining evidence, and actions taken, you can help others expand and enrich the range and boundaries of creativity, flexibility and learning abilities.

Training Toolkit: focusing on feedback instead of “failure”

A key aspect of the T.O.T.E. regards to how customers react if they face unexpected challenges or difficulties in achieving their goals, in essence, how customers react to the failure in achieving these goals. This reaction is essential for success. Successful performers learn from their mistakes but do not stick on them.

Energy flows where attention is directed. The key to learning from mistakes is to move away from them to a certain emotional distance, see what you can learn from them, and not lose touch with your success.

Coaches, in order to help their clients achieve this understanding, can use the following simple two-step process:

1. Think of your mistakes as if you see yourself in a video, and look at yourself as if you were a good coach, giving yourself constructive feedback.

2. When you reminisce your successful actions, imagine yourself doing it again.

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