Knowing the difference between intent and impact

In the foreground of the picture, two bison (or water buffalo) are locking horns in a fight. One bison is on the left of the picture, facing the center. The other bison is on the right of the picture, facing the center. There is the body of another bison behind the left bison. In the background, there are trees in the far upper third of the picture. Underneath the trees is a barren field, and the bison are standing on a dusty patch of grass.


In his article, Managing relational conflict by closing the intention and behavioral gap through the use of a 3 dimensional visualisation and simulation model, Carlos Raimundo explores issues within interpersonal relationships.

Within his research, Raimundo finds that several steps cause this gap between individuals. 

  1. Individuals have a lack of insight of their own emotions and behaviors, along with impact.
  2. Individuals have a lack of awareness about the intention or desired outcomes of the interaction.
  3. There is a corresponding gap created by the lack of understanding of each individual.
  4. There is an inability for either individual to change behavior to better accommodate the impact of their actions.

To alleviate the intention and behavior gap, the 3-Dimensional, Visualization and Simulation Model  (3-DVSM) enhances the insight of one’s own and others’ behaviors and actions, which helps connect actions to desired intention. To bridge the gap, this model ultimately allows individuals to adjust their behavior to better convey the impact they are intending with their behaviors or actions. 

The 3-DVSM is language independent, utilizing models to help individuals make new connections. It is considered part of multi-sensorial, experiential, expressive, or active models utilized by therapists and educators. Within a session of 3-DVSM, clients engage in a warm-up period, engage in serious play, and lastly are provided an opportunity to review key learnings. 

Steps of 3-DVSM model

  1. Verbally describe the relational issue to address
  2. Symbolically depict the relational situation using figures and props
  3. Describe the Active Roles at play on the stage (insight on own and other’s emotions and behaviours)
  4. Reflect on the picture represented and the roles played
  5. Describe the insight gained on one’s own and others’ behaviours

To test the 3-DVSM, Raimundo enacted a single-case study with a woman named Ruth. Through utilizing the 3-DVSM model, the mother was able to become aware of her own emotions and behaviors, as well as the emotions and behaviors of the problem relationship with one of her children. This ability to see emotions and behaviors through the model allowed her to visualize what the intended impact would be, and modify intention, action, and behavior. 

Being a preliminary, individual case study, the data is not compelling on its own right to have statistical significance. However, the theoretical implications of this model on the ability of 3-DVSM to begin breaking the gap between individuals is beneficial for coaches. By encouraging individuals to consider the impact of their actions and behaviors through models, coaches can facilitate clients’ growth in interpersonal relationships.

In the center of the frame in bold red letters, the quote by Dorothy Thomas “Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it.” This quote is accompanied by the Institute of Coaching’s Logo, a red shield. The shield is in the lower center of the image.

IOC's Tips of the Week are authored by Austin Matzelle