Dive Back Into Work and School With These 5 Key Goal-Setting Elements! | By Jennifer Britton

Penguins Diving into Sea representing Diving Back into Goal-Setting

As the summer draws to a close for those of us in the northern hemisphere, people are gearing up for back to school and work. It's a great time to be working with our clients on goals—and whether you are an individual, team or group coach, goal-setting is a foundational piece of our work with coaching clients.

This article explores five key elements of goal-setting.

Here are my 5 Key Elements of Goal-Setting

1) Which Goal-Setting Framework?

Many of us work with our clients around SMART Goals, goals which are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant or Resonant and Time-bound. SMART goals allow clients to articulate goals which are more detailed, and therefore easier to track progress on.

There are several other goal-setting frameworks out there, One I enjoy is what John Whitmore describes in his seminal book Coaching for Performance, as PURE goals. PURE stands for Positively stated, Understood, Relevant  and Ethical.

For some, goals may be enshrined in a one page action plan. In organizations goals may be part of a development plan that's shared with the client's consent. So consider with your clients which goal-setting frameworks will support them best. Their own style will have an influence on the type of goal framework they may wish to adopt.

And motivation is essential. Regardless of goal-setting framework it is important to explore with clients the issue of motivation. We can be motivated by internal or external things, so what's the "driver" for achieving this goal?

How will you support your clients to connect with the motivational factor of the goal, or what I call SMART-E, where E is the excitement that supports clients as they move through the peaks and when they hit the slump.

Remember: When goal-setting, work with clients to connect their goals with their values and the importance of achieving them in the bigger picture.

Love goal setting? Get our Complete Guide to SMART Goals (with Special .PDF Report!) here >>

2) Goal Timelines

What's the timeline on this? Is this a short term goal, medium or long-term? Goals can change dramatically based on the timeframe provided.

When goal-setting, it can be seductive to always work on short term goals that create quick wins. But sadly, many times these become a rote checkbox activity.

Instead, supporting clients to link their goals to their values and the WHY behind it, is important. For medium and long term goals, what will be motivational for the client over time?

It's also important to work with clients on updating their goals as context changes and key goals are achieved.

Consider: You may want to build in goal checkpoints throughout the coaching process.

3) Goal Visibility

Make goals visible.

Keeping goals visible can help to remind our clients of what they have identified as important. What is the structure which will keep their goals visible in a way that works best? Is it a post-it note on their screen, a photo on their phone or something else?

Consider: When you're goal-setting, inquire with your client about what structure will keep this top of mind for them.

4) Accountability and Support

In the book The Oz Factor, authors write, "Accountability is the guiding principle that defines how we make commitments to one another, how we measure and report our progress how we interact when things go wrong, and how much ownership we take to get things done. It is, in essence, the nerve center that runs throughout every part of the organization and through every working relationship to every member of every team."  The Oz Principle

Who will the person be accountable toyou? Others? In achieving this goal what do other people need to say Yes or No to? How does your client want to be supported? Do they want their feet held to the fire, or do they want a high five?

Remember: Build accountability into goal-setting—it's a key part of the coaching process.

5) Celebration and Recognition

Celebration and recognition of goal achievement is important, especially for large goals.

In today's busy work world, we may not stop and pause and recognize our accomplishments. It's very common for teams and leaders to check the box and move onto the next goal without taking the time to capture new learning, and what can be applied to future projects.

And in addition to supporting learning, celebrating achievements helps us connect with the WHY and value of each goal.

Consider: How will you build in celebration and recognition of goals with your clients?


Your Pondering Question: How can these five elementsGoal-Setting Frameworks, Goal Timelines, Goal Visibility, Accountability and Support, and Celebration and Recognition amp up your next coaching conversationand results for your clients?

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Jennifer Britton

Contributing Author:

Jennifer Britton, MES, CHRP, CPT, PCC, is the author of seven books and has influenced a generation of coaches in the realms of team and group coaching. You may have read her writing, including Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010), the first book in the world to be published on the topic of group coaching; From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching; or her latest, Reconnecting Workspaces: Pathways to Thrive in the Virtual, Remote and Hybrid World (2021).

Since 2006, Jennifer's Group Coaching Essentials and Advanced Group and Team Coaching Practicum programs have become known as the must-do training in the area of group coaching. Focused on providing coaches with best practices in designing, marketing and implementing group coaching, these programs have helped thousands of coaches launch their own group and team coaching programs in a wide variety of settings (public, corporate, non-profit). Together both courses are approved for 18.75 ICF CCEUs. These are the first two of 10 course pathways leading to certificates in Group and Team Coaching.

Potentials Realized's ICF-CCE programs are geared for aspiring group and team coaches, especially those wanting to work toward the New Advanced Credential in Team Coaching (ACTC) with the ICF.

Also check out our neuroscience course for group and team coaches (NLE-A), Team Coaching Essentials  and ACTIVATE Your Team and Group Coaching Superpowers. Prefer podcasts? Listen in to the Remote Pathways podcast, which explores the many different pathways to remote work, business and leadership.

Learn more about Jennifer & see all their articles here >>

Image of Penguins diving off iceberg into water by NaturesMomentsuk via Shutterstock

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