(Why) Give Your Client a HUG: A Huge Unbelievable Goal!

Client gives themself a HUG

I love HUGs, don't you? I'm talking about Huge Unbelievable Goals—where we inspire ourselves to live a bigger life with a huge goal: the bigger the better!

The wonderful thing about HUGs is that they're easier to achieve than people think. In fact they're often easier to achieve than your average goal because HUGs are SO exciting that people willingly go to great lengths to achieve them. And another strange thing about HUGs is that with focus and a little synchronicity people usually achieve their HUGs much sooner than they expect—often in unexpected ways.

Now a HUG actually breaks many goal-setting 'rules', for example a HUG is usually vague in the beginning with no specific deadline. Some examples of HUGs could include travelling around the world, moving to a new country, starting a charity or switching careers to a totally new field.

Great HUGs have these features

  • Your client can clearly communicate their HUG.
  • Your client feels GREAT or inspired just thinking about their HUG!
  • The HUG aligns strongly with their values.
  • The HUG initially seems impossible or to be a long way off (~2-25 years).
  • Once your client gets over any initial disbelief or fear, they're excited to work on it!

I have had clients who have switched jobs AND where they lived—in under 6 months when their plan was to make the move in 2-5 years. I had another client who gave up their job for a whole year and travelled the world WITH their young family (people told her it wasn't possible!). And I've had clients who've followed a dream and moved to the other side of the world! And all these goals were all achieved much sooner—and more easily than expected.

How to use HUGs in your Coaching Practice

1) In a Coaching Session

Help your clients brainstorm a list of 10-30 potential HUGS and then ask them to circle 1-3 of them that they'd like to work on.

Questions to help brainstorm potential HUGs

  1. "What do you want more than anything in the world?"
  2. "What inspires and excites you so much that you'd happily 'work your ass off' to achieve it?"
  3. "If you had a magic wand and could create the 'ideal' life, what would it look like?"
  4. "What have you always dreamed of?" (if they say nothing, try saying, "What about secretly?")
  5. "You're 90 years old and looking back over your life, what do you wish you had done?"

2) As Homework

Get your clients to create a Vision Board. Ask them to cut out pictures, words and quotes that represent their dream life, then they can look for the HUGs hidden inside their Vision!

How to Make HUGs Real

Of course for your clients to get serious about their HUGs, at some point they'll need to get more specific and chunk the HUG down into smaller more manageable steps. And they'll also need support and encouragement, especially in the early stages—and this is where you come in!

And this is also where SMART Goals come in handy. Get your Complete Guide to SMART Goals (with .PDF) here >>

Goal-Setting Toolkit

Click for Goal-Setting Toolkit

The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it. Michelangelo

Watch out for: As coaches, it's important to help our clients enjoy their journey. While your client may happily work hard to achieve their HUG—make sure they're not making "too big" sacrifices in the present to get their pay-off later (ie. remember life balance).

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Emma-Louise Elsey Headshot

Contributing Author:

Emma-Louise Elsey has been coaching since 2003 and is the Founder of The Coaching Tools Company and Fierce Kindness.com. She's passionate about coaching and personal development. Originally a project and relationship manager for Fortune 500 companies she combined her love of coaching, creativity and systems to create over 100 brandable coaching tools, forms and exercises including 30+ completely free coaching tools. She now serves coaches and the coaching world through her exclusive newsletter for coaches, Coaches Helping Coaches Facebook Group and many other great tools for coaches, plus resources and ideas for your coaching toolbox. The Coaching Tools Company is an official ICF Business Solutions Partner.

Learn more about Emma-Louise & see all their articles here >>

Image of Client giving themself a HUG by krakenimages via Kraken Images

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