“A successful process generally begins with setting a well-defined and specific objective, so that you know exactly what you are aiming for and how it appears on the physical level” Yaron Golan
Some of the clients we work with can state their end goal or final objective within the first few minutes of coaching. If you are seeking a new position, learning how to manage your team members or wanting to improve your presentation skills, the coaching may be focused and short-term. More frequently, coaching is broader, often set within the context of your entire life.
Coaching starts with an agreement that something needs to be changed. Then you need to go through a goal-setting process that identifies your own strengths and weaknesses, the opportunities that you might pursue in achieving your goal(s) and the threats or obstacles you are likely to encounter or wish to avoid. It is also well worth your while to examine the external environment, both the macro environment that may affect you indirectly, and the context you are in now and likely to be in for the foreseeable future. This external review will consider the organisational environment, and the people with whom you have relationships, it may include global environmental factors that may have an impact.
You will already have used the SMARTening up your goals template from section 1. This is the time to review and revise this with this additional analysis.
If your goal is long-term or broad, you will want to break this down into sub-goals. These will serve as more focused outcomes on the way to achieving your larger goal. Being specific and using the SWING template.
In all of this process, remember that goals are not engraved in stone. They are always open for modification and review. Sometimes, we don't see the whole picture at the beginning and the sub-goals first in a sequence will be clearer than the later ones. As you make progress, any goal can be revised, skipped entirely or abandoned. The intention is to come up with a plan moving forward.
Many people have goals, or at least an idea of what they want to achieve. Usually these are safe, nearsighted, not very challenging and well within your comfort zone. Such goals do little to move you and your life forward. In contrast, BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) seem impractical and impossible at first. They stretch everybody. BHAGs are a real push and they force you out of your comfort zone where you can begin to realise something far more than you previously dreamed.
Leadership and business coaches, like athletic coaches, are often particularly helpful at this stage. Stretching and pushing yourself may not come naturally to you. A coach can help you by nudging you from your familiar and comfortable routines where you typically do the same things in the same way while expecting different results. Stretching is about asking you to become uninhibited, creative and imaginative ways and coming up with new options.
Some times, it may help if you answer the following questions:
- Imagine yourself in the future. How did you get there?
- If money or time were not limited, what would you do now to move forward?
- What might change around you in the future that you need to prepare for now?
- Be creative and consider the resources you could draw on to help you move ahead.
When you work through SMARTening up your goals, I ask you to describe your goal in the five senses. I appreciate that many people struggle with the gustatory (smell and taste) though remember that perfume manufacturers spend a vast fortune on developing scent and it is very likely that you use one of them… because the smell is evocative and probably reminds you of something dear to you.
When you describe your goal using the five senses (or as many as you can) you are preparing your goal for some means of measurement and have a vision of your goal. Both are powerful ingredients in motivating you (and others) to achieving your goal.