The Road Paved with Good Intentions

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The Road Paved with Good Intentions
The road paved with good intentions

This month the Institute of Coaching featured a literature meta-analysis and a scientific webinar by Siegfried Greif on the theory and application of "implementation intentions.” Before we discuss the theory and the meta-analysis, let’s consider the nature of “intention.”

The wisdom of the inadequacy of intentions goes back a long way — the proverb: the road to hell is paved with good intentions — dates back to France in 1150. Philosophers have turned the study of intention into a broad conversation of a complex construct. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s entry on Intention, updated in 2018, explains that intention comes in three guises:

  1. Intention for future — I intend to write this article to add to my writing contributions on coaching and change
  2. Intention with which I act (the why) — My intention for this article is to help myself and others be more discerning and impactful when discussing intention
  3. Intentional action — I am intentionally writing this article (in a conscious manner) to get readers thinking

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