Step by Step Guide to The Goal-Setting Toolkit!

Man Running Reaching Finish LineThis article about our goal-setting tools and toolkit was written in answer to a request for more information on how to use our toolkits more effectively. But these articles are also helpful if you're looking for a coaching process to follow, want to create a Coaching Program or workshop or perhaps simply want some new coaching tool ideas for your toolkit!

In this article we describe each of the 7 goal-setting tools in the toolkit, its purpose, how and when to use it, give additional tips AND identify which tools work in coaching sessions, as homework, in workshops or teleseminars and group coaching!

NOTE: Please be aware this is a long article, jam-packed with information about the tools in the Goal-Setting Toolkit. And it's also neatly structured with lots of headings so it's easy to scan too.

The Goal-Setting Tools in This Toolkit Cover 5 Core Areas:

  1. Your Client's Vision For Their Life.
    Identify a Whole Life Vision that maps onto a 10 year vision and then maps onto 3 month vision.
    TOOL 1)  Whole Life Vision with "The Rocking Chair + 2 Other Life Vision Exercises"
    TOOL 2)  10 Year Vision with the "Get Perspective" Worksheet
    TOOL 3)  3 Month Vision with the "3 Month Vision" Worksheet
  2. Picking Goals to Move Forwards With
    Brainstorm their vision and goal ideas. Select meaningful goals that add real value to our lives.
    TOOL 4)  "Wacky Wild Goal Brainstorming!" Tool
  3. Goal Motivation
    Explore WHY they want their goals, and why NOW to gain maximum commitment.
    TOOL 5)  (Understanding) The Why of Your Goals
    TOOL 6)  "Goals Motivator - Find Your Hidden Treasure!"
  4. Nailing Down and Making SMART Goals
    Making your clients' goals more effective by setting SMART goals and identifying obstacles.
    TOOL 7)  "Nail That Goal!" (SMART Goal-Setting Template)
  5. Annual Goal-Setting
    The process of setting 3 specific Annual Goals - from start through to an action to take tomorrow!
    TOOL 8)  "Annual Goal Setting Workbook"

Below we outline how and when to use the tools and give tips and an overarching  suggested sequence for using the goal-setting tools - but remember you don't have to use all the tools with each client!

Note: For business coaches and small business clients, see the goal-setting tools, and mission and vision sections in this article 30 Business Coaching Tools: What, How and When To Use Them!

1. Your Client's Vision For Their Life

Businesswoman standing on a ladder looking through binocularsWhen people have a vision for their lives, it makes everything easier from goal-setting, prioritising actions and day-to-day activities, to making tough decisions. In addition, when clients' goals align with the vision they have for their life - and what's most important to them - they're more motivated.

It's a rewarding process to take your clients' overarching vision and then chunk that vision down into smaller, more meaningful goals for your client to move forwards with.

Note: Sometimes a client will be resistant to working on visioning. Perhaps they want to take action right away, or they find that drawing out a life vision is deep and/or challenging work. So don't push or rush people. If this is the case, take your time and do the vision work in the background - and a great way to do this is to give these worksheets and exercises as homework.

Tool 1)  The Rocking Chair + 2 Other Life Vision Exercises

Life Vision Coaching Exercises Page 1

Click to learn more about this tool

Especially Good for: All types of clients.

Description and Purpose of Tool: Most people have a vision for their lives inside them – whether they're consciously aware of it or not. Help your clients explore the vision they have for themselves, giving them the context they need to get inspired and move forwards. The 3 Visioning exercises (with questions to consider and guide your clients) are:

  1. Rocking Chair Life Vision Exercise: Imagine you're 90 years old looking back over your life.
  2. Retirement Party Exercise: Imagine your retirement (or a big birthday) party.
  3. Newspaper Article Writing Exercise: Imagine a milestone you've achieved.

Steps and How to Use:

  1. Pick the life visioning exercise/s you think will best suit your client. Then read the description and consider the questions that set the scene for whichever visioning exercise you have chosen.
  2. Ask your client to write out what they imagine in as much detail as possible.
  3. Finally, coach them around the results. What was the experience like for them? How did it feel? What surprised them? What did they notice or learn about themselves?

When: This coaching tool is the first in a sequence of 3 life Visioning Tools - followed by the Get Perspective Exercise, then the 3 Month Vision Tool.

Use This Tool:

  • In Session  (Choose whether to give your client the form or read it out to them)
  • Homework
  • Workshops
  • Teleseminars
  • Group Coaching

Tips: With teens/retirees adjust the timescales or skip straight to the "Get Perspective" and "3 Month Vision" Tools. For teens, use the "newspaper article" or "retirement party" exercise and make it a big birthday like 25 or 30. For retirees, adjust the timescales to be closer eg. 10-20 years from now. For clients who have come for executive and career coaching clients, the newspaper article and retirement party exercise work best.

Visioning Worksheet

Click to learn more about this tool

Tool 2)  The "Get Perspective" Worksheet

Especially Good For: All types of clients.

Description and Purpose of Tool: When setting goals it's important to know how our shorter term goals fit into the bigger perspective of our lives. This visioning exercise (as you might expect) is about helping your clients get perspective, understand their bigger picture and work backwards so they can prioritise what they need to start doing now to achieve their 10 year goals.

Steps and How to Use:

  1. Review the instructions at the top of the form.
  2. Ask your client to complete the form, specifically answering the questions in the order presented. If they feel like it, your client can write more on a separate sheet in answer to a particular question/s.
  3. Finally, coach them around the results. What was the experience like for them? How did it feel? What surprised them? What did they notice? What have they learned about their goals?

When: This coaching tool fits neatly after the Rocking Chair + 2 Other Life Visioning Exercises and sets the client up to complete the 3 Month Vision next.

Use This Tool:

  • In Session
  • Homework
  • Workshops
  • Teleseminars
  • Group Coaching

Tips: Working backwards in time like this helps us see what needs to be done NOW to get where we want to be. Use this tool as a learning point that there is no time like the present when it comes to working towards bigger goals!

Tool 3)  The "3 Month Vision" Worksheet

Set 3 Month Vision Coaching Worksheet

Click to learn more about this tool

Especially Good For: All types of clients.

Description and Purpose of Tool: This simple visioning tool helps your clients identify balanced and meaningful short-term goals. If this tool is used after the Rocking Chair and get Perspective Exercises, then this 3 month vision will help set goals that clearly map onto the bigger picture a client envisions for their life.

Your client is asked to consider how they want their lives to be in 3 months time across different key life-areas. Once your client has completed this coaching exercise, it'll be easy to drive out and set goals for the next 3 months using the notes they've made.

Steps and How to Use:

  1. Review the instructions at the top of the form.
  2. Ask your client to complete the form. Remind them that the more specific they can be  answering the questions, the more useful it will be. Again, if they feel like it, your client can write more on a separate sheet in answer to a particular question/s.
  3. Finally, coach them around the results. How was it? Does it feel like they have a balanced vision/potential set of goals? What's missing? What is different to what they expected? What have they learned about themselves?

When: This coaching tool is the last in a sequence of 3 life Visioning Tools - after the Rocking Chair Visioning Exercises and the Get Perspective Exercise.

Use This Tool:

  • In Session
  • Homework
  • Workshops
  • Teleseminars
  • Group Coaching

Tips: Now use the results of this coaching exercise to help drive out and set goals for the next 3 months. In addition, the "Theme" they identified for the next 3 months can be very useful to return to during coaching to focus your clients.

2. Picking Goals to Move Forwards With

Everyone knows how important it is to have goals, but sometimes our clients have no idea where to start or they may have goals, but their goals are dull, uninspiring or don't have real meaning for them. A key part of the coaching process is to help our clients choose goals that are exciting or have meaning for them.

Tool 4)  Wacky Wild Goal Brainstorming! Tool

Goal Brainstorming Exercise Page 2

Click to learn more about this tool

Especially Good For: All types of clients.

Description and Purpose of Tool: The perfect goal brainstorming tool! Use this goal brainstorming worksheet to help your clients discover more exciting and/or meaningful goals, and consider which goals to move forwards with. There are 3 distinct steps to this tool - each on a separate page.

  • Page 1 - Goal Brainstorming (from the "wacky" to the "wild")
  • Page 2 - Goal Scoring each potential goal according to the value it TRULY adds to their life (great for prioritising which goals to move forwards with).
  • Page 3 - Identify and explore up to 10 possible focus areas that could be turned into goals.

Steps and How to Use:

  1. Complete Page 1: Goal brainstorming. Get your client to brainstorm as many potential goals as possible from boring to wacky to wild and everything in between. Great homework!
  2. Complete Page 2: Your client scores each goal according to the value it TRULY adds to their life.
  3. Now coach them around their responses (once they have completed page 2). Help them review and explore their goal scores - which scored highest and least? What surprised them? Why do they think that is? What did they learn about themselves? What does it mean?
  4. Complete Page 3: Your client picks 10 goals and briefly explores why it's important to them.
  5. Now you have a list of 10 meaningful goals for your clients to potentially work with.
  6. Next steps include asking the clients to select goals from this list they WILL move forwards with. And if you've used the visioning tools already, you could ask them to cross-check and see which goals support their vision (whether it's their life, 10 year or 3 month vision!)

When: This coaching tool works well with the goal visioning series as another way to brainstorm meaningful goals to move forwards with. It can also be used standalone to simply brainstorm and narrow down potential goals, or identify goals with more excitement for the client.

Use This Tool:

  • In Session   (best completed in stages - one page at a time)
  • Homework  (best given in stages - one page at a time)
  • Workshops*
  • Teleseminars*
  • Group Coaching

* This is an ideal goal-setting tool to base a workshop or teleseminar around. Great for potential "Aha!" moments when attendees realise for themselves that "being a good dad" or "eating more healthily" wipes the floor with having a Porsche or buying the perfect pair of shoes. Then simply add your coaching offer at the end of the workshop - to help them achieve those meaningful goals they've just identified!

3. Goal Ecology & Motivation

What's the point of our goals? Because until we understand WHY we want our goals, it's difficult to go the extra mile. Once we understand WHY we want something (and really CONNECT with that reason) we have a lot more energy to put into achieving our goals.

Tool 5)  (Understanding) The Why of Your Goals

Goal Motivation Coaching Form

Click to learn more about this tool

Especially Good For: All types of clients.

Description and Purpose of Tool: In coaching we usually avoid asking "Why?" as it can damage rapport, seem judgemental or adversarial. BUT when it comes to goals, we MUST ask "Why?" to help our clients understand what's driving them and fully commit to their goals - so they'll do whatever is necessary to achieve them.

Note: This is available as a bonus Free Coaching Tool here >>

Steps and How to Use:

  1. Review the instructions at the top of the form.
  2. Ask your client to complete the form, picking their top 3 goals and answering the questions by following the arrows.
  3. Coach them around their results. What surprises were there? How do they feel about their goals now? What 'feelings' does each goal give them? Are there any common themes?

When: This goal-setting tool works well just before your client has planned out their actions. This tool can also be used when trying to decide between 3 goals!

Use This Tool:

  • In Session
  • Homework
  • Workshops
  • Teleseminars
  • Group Coaching

Tip: Remind them to NOT think too much about their answers, but instead to write down whatever 'pops' into their mind for the best results.

Tool 6)  Goals Motivator – Find Your Hidden Treasure!

Click to learn more about this tool

Especially Good For: All types of clients.

Description and Purpose of Tool: Until we understand WHY we want our goals, it's difficult for us to go the extra mile. This coaching tool works especially well on big or challenging goals - to increase energy, focus, motivation and commitment by connecting the client to the "hidden treasure" of not only WHY they want their goal, but why NOW?

This Coaching Exercise looks at one particular goal, why they want it, specifically why NOW, and how it will help them feel. Then to wrap-up, it asks your clients to reflect on what they will do differently about their goal with the knowledge they've gained from completing this tool.

Steps and How to Use:

  1. First, ask your client to think of a goal they'd like to work with.
  2. Review the instructions at the top of the worksheet and ask your client to complete the form and answering the questions by following the arrows.
  3. Coach them around their results. What did they learn? What surprises were there? How do they feel differently about their goal now?
  4. Finally, discuss what will they do differently going forwards - and what that means for them.

When: Use this tool on your client's key goals before action-planning. Also, use this exercise as a motivational tool when your client has a goal they SAY is important, but they're just not taking action.

Use This Tool:

  • In Session*
  • Homework
  • Workshops
  • Teleseminars
  • Group Coaching

* This tool is great to use with potential clients – to demonstrate the power of coaching and help them make the decision to sign-up with you! You may also find this article helpful: Get Potential Clients to Choose YOU with this Hidden Treasure Concept!

Tip: Remind them to NOT think too much about their answers, but instead to write down whatever 'pops' into their mind for the best results.

4. SMART Goals

Tool 7)  Nail That Goal! SMART Goal-Setting Template (2 pages)

Smart Goal-Setting Template Page 1

Click to learn more about this tool

Especially Good For: Important or Long-term Goals, Career Goals and for left-brained logical types of clients!

Description and Purpose of Tool: Help your clients set super-SMART goals with this worksheet and really get them moving! This goal-setting tool explains how to set a SMART goal, pinpoints goal benefits, detects obstacles, identifies short term actions and gets them inspired by describing what their life will be like once the goal is complete. Great for goal ecology!

Steps and How to Use:

  1. First, ask your client to think of a goal they'd like to work with.
  2. Using the SMART Goal explanation on page 2, ask your client to write out their SMART goal at the top of the form in the space provided.
  3. Now ask your client to complete the form, answering the questions that follow. Ask them to take their time - but also to look within, and write out whatever comes up for them.
  4. Coach them around their results. What did they learn? What surprises were there? How do they feel differently about their goal now? What unique obstacles to success do they have.
  5. It can be helpful and empowering to explore the "Who I need to be" section in more detail.
  6. Finally, review their actions! What next steps are they taking?

When: Use to get your client moving once your client has chosen a big goal to work with. Also use to get deeper when there may be goal-commitment issues or when a client struggles to get going.

Use This Tool:

  • In Session  (can be a bit detailed for session work, better given as homework)
  • Homework
  • Workshops*
  • Teleseminars
  • Group Coaching

* This is a great goal-setting tool to base an "Achieve Your Big Goals" workshop or teleseminar around. It gets into the nuts and bolts of what motivates us, our obstacles, what support and resources we need and what next steps to take. For extra impact, combine with the "Find Your Hidden Treasure!" exercise.

Tip: The "describe a day once your goal is complete" makes a good standalone piece of homework.

5. Annual Goal-Setting

Goal-Setting for the year is something many people like the idea of, but few people actually do! Early in the year is a great time to refocus the mind and think about what would make a successful year ahead.

Tool 8)  Annual Goal Setting Worksheet (4 pages)

Annual Goal-Setting Worksheet

Click to learn more about this tool

Especially Good For: All types of clients.

Description and Purpose of Tool: This fun 4 page annual goal setting worksheet is fun – and easy to complete. It helps your clients set 3 powerful and meaningful goals for the year ahead by answering a series of questions in bite-sized chunks box to get clear and focused on what they want from the year ahead. Includes a summary sheet to firm up commitment and it's great for workshops and teleseminars too.

Steps and How to Use:

Whilst this worksheet could be used in a one-on-one session, I believe this works better where the client has more reflection time eg. when given as homework or in a workshop/teleseminar. What works well in session is to review page 3 with the client, delving deeper into obstacles and taking action.

  1. Page 1: First, your clients brainstorm what they'd like to achieve in the next 1-5 years and then pick 5 goals to move forwards with.
  2. Page 2: Next, your clients refine their goal ideas by considering how exciting the goal is and what it will do for them. Then they pick and set 3 goals for the upcoming year including the outcomes they're looking for, dates to achieve it by and how they'll know they've succeeded.
  3. Page 3: Help your clients prepare for success by delving deeper into how they might get in their own way, what advice they would give themselves, what support they need and who they need to be to make sure they achieve their goals! Also, review your clients' actions - one action for each goal PLUS one action for tomorrow!
  4. Page 4: Finally, ask your clients to complete the "Powerful Summary Sheet" to cut out and stick up to remind them to stay on track. Includes space to put your logo, website and a little about you so you'll always be visible!

When: This coaching tool works standalone and can be used any time. It obviously works best towards the end or beginning of a new year. But as no specific dates are mentioned, this tool can be used to simply set "1 year" goals eg. starting in September to align with the school year.

Use This Tool:

  • In Session
  • Homework
  • Workshops*
  • Teleseminars*
  • Group Coaching

* This goal setting tool can be used as the basis for an extremely practical and uplifting annual goal-setting workshop or seminar. For a shorter seminar use page 4 (the summary sheet) as follow-up 'homework' for people to take home - helping them stay in a coaching frame of mind.

Get Your Goal-Setting Toolkit here >>

Vision and Goal-Setting Tools, Forms, Exercises, Templates in a Folder

Click to get Your Goal-Setting Toolkit!

You may also find these articles helpful:

And you may also find these tools helpful:

  • *Free* 21 Questions to Extraordinary Goal-Setting
  • Personal SWOT Analysis Worksheet Take a look at your clients' personal strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Where could they make huge strides forward? What goals can be identified in the opportunities section?
  • Boost Your Strengths Exercise Taking your clients 3 favourite strengths, how could your client use these to be EVEN more successful?
  • Weakness Zapper Use this tool's 5 weakness-zapping strategies to drive out pragmatic solutions and next steps to reduce the impact of your client's weaknesses. What goals can be identified in the action section of this exercise?
  • The Life Map is helpful to quickly get an overview of your clients' background and histories - and insight into what most challenges and excites your client.  But did you know you could also use this tool to project forward and identify potential future goals?
  • *Free* Wheel of Life Template What goals can be found in the areas which score the lowest, or matter most?
  • Coaching Goals Worksheet. As a coach you MUST ask the client not only to set goals, but to set goals for working with you. It's essential to do this at the start of the coaching relationship - and this tool is therefore included in the Welcome Pack Toolkit. When both of you are clear on what the client wants to achieve from coaching, you have a clear focus for the sessions to keep returning to. That doesn't mean the client's coaching goals are fixed – they may well get added to or change over time, but it gives you both an essential baseline to work from.

2 Comments

    • Emma-Louise

      Dear TL, Thank-you! It's a great idea to use the tools on yourself first. Plus you get the benefit of all that goal-setting and motivation 😉 Warmly, Emma-Louise

      Reply

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