10 – Defining Objectives

should have been more specific

The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”  Michelangelo

Defining Objectives

We've seen already that coaching is all about change. But what is it exactly that you want to change? What do you want to achieve through coaching?
This is often different to what you want to achieve (in life, work, career etc). The latter we will look at in a short while. Right now, lets focus a few minutes on what you want coaching for.
In my own experience as a coach these past 20 plus years, more than 70% of my clients had an objective to, well, set an objective. In other words, they didn't know what they wanted to get out of coaching, there was just something bothering them and they knew they needed to change. What to change was another matter.
Indeed, I believe this is one of the reasons for the growth in coaching as a profession.
So let me ask you as if I were currently your coach:
How can I serve you?
What can I do to help you achieve your life/work/career goals (that you cannot do for yourself?)
I shared in “Do I need a coach? the key things a coach can do for you and in the table below you should be able to identify broadly your needs in an issue around the 10 most prevalent areas of life transition. On the right hand side you can see the first key objective where a coach may be able to help and what sort of coaching is most suitable:

Issues around

  • Your needs
    • General Coaching Objectives – most useful coaching approach

Career Development

  • Identify a clear career path and be encouraged to pursue it
    • Get clarity of purpose – Support and Guidance

Starting a new job

  • Quickly assimilating the company culture
    • Broaden perspectives – Learning and build self-confidence

Strengthening capability

  • Improve leadership skills and creative thinking
    • Develop leadership skills and gain insight – Learning and support

Improving performance

  • Personal growth and better performance
    • Improve ability to learn – Learning and self-confidence

Improving motivation

  • Build on existing knowledge and be committed
    • Get clarity of purpose – Support and self-confidence

Starting a business

  • Being as certain as possible for success
    • Gain insight – Support and advice

Major change in life

  • Decide on a future direction and follow through
    • Identify barriers to change – Learning and support and self-confidence


  • Build better and stronger relationships
    • Gain insight and help improving relationships – Learning intra and interpersonal sensitivity

Decision Making

  • Make better decisions
    • Overcome barriers to change – Learning and self-confidence


  • Overcome procrastination or poor time management
    • Identify barriers to change – Support, self-confidence and learning
 This should help you identify the main help you need right now and better equip you to discuss your unique situation more productively with any potential coach.


Use the following question template to help you think through this.