A Simple 3 Step Process to Track & Measure Progress - Towards ANY Coaching Goal!

How to measure progress towards goals - Happy Clients Thumbs up

We all want our clients to be satisfied (or thrilled!) with our coaching - and this means they need to feel like they're making progress. So, it's important for coaches to keep track of, and remind clients, of what they've achieved - the steps and progress they've made on the journey towards their goals.

So, how do you measure progress towards coaching goals?

When our clients have tangible goals like getting a promotion or new job, or fitness and weight goals it's easy to measure progress. Progress could look like submitting a resume, getting interviews, distance run or weight 'lost'.

But if a client's goal is 'to be happier' or 'have more confidence' - how can we measure that?

Well, it's easier than you might think...

Set Coaching Goals Worksheet Page 1

Coaching Goals Sheet

Here is my simple 3-step process for measuring progress - for any kind of goal

1) Set-up

  • First, we must agree the goals a client wants to work towards while coaching with us.
  • I use a Coaching Goals Sheet for the client to record 3 coaching goals we'll work on together, as well as 7 goals the client will work on on their own.

2) Get SMART

  • Next we must ensure the client's goals are SMART.
  • In particular, the 'M' in SMART is for Measurable - and this is essential so both you and the client will know when they've completed their goal.
    • Ask, "How will I know you've completed this goal?" and "Give me some steps along the way that will demonstrate progress".
  • For intangible goals eg. "Be more content with my life" or "Have more confidence", you will need to help your client create the measurable part.
    1. Ask them to give a score out of 10 as to how content or confident they feel currently.
    2. Then write their score along with the date on your copy of their goals sheet - and importantly - ask them to do the same on their copy of their goals sheet.

3) Hold the Progress Review

  • After 3 months or so (depending on the client and how things are going) begin one of your coaching sessions with a goals and progress review.
  • Ask questions like:
    • What progress do they think they've made towards their goals and what evidence do they have of this progress?
    • What percent do they think they have completed towards each goal?
    • How do they feel about their progress? And what adjustments or changes (if any) would they like to make
      • To their goals?
      • To their action plan?
      • To the speed of their progress (which could be slowing down for a more relaxed approach - as well as speeding up to get there faster!)
    • If it feels right, you could also ask how they might reward or appreciate themselves to recognize their progress?
  • Additionally, for intangible goals:
    • First ask your client to score out of 10 how content or confident they feel now.
    • Then share with your client the previous or initial score they gave (which you noted on your copy of their goals sheet).
    • In my experience there is ALWAYS an improvement, even if it's only one point!

It really is that simple. And whenever I have done a progress review like this my clients are ALWAYS surprised and pleased by the progress they've made.

Brighten Up Your Life Coaching Program Exercise Page 1

Brighten Up Your Life Wheel

How to use a "Life Wheel" to Measure Progress

You can also follow the process above using The Wheel of Life Template, a Blank Wheel on any topic, or the Brighten Up Your Life Exercise (a customised wheel of life, exclusive to our popular Renew You, Love Your Life Coaching Program).

My preferred process is to use exactly the same wheel worksheet over the course of a year (re-scoring at 3 month periods) to review progress.

If your client has already completed a coaching wheel (of any kind!), it's easy:

  1. Simple wait 3 months (or another time period of your choosing).
  2. RE-score each element of the Wheel with your client.
  3. Now compare how the scores have changed over the last 3 months.
  4. Lastly, coach the client to reflect on and establish learnings, what may have changed and why.

If you're just starting out with a client:

  1. Complete and score a coaching wheel with your client.
  2. Then return to the wheel in 3 months and follow the process immediately above.

Tip: Each time you do a review and write down the date. A top tip is to score each review in a different colour!


Measuring progress like this on a regular basis can be really powerful—and also works well as an overall life review or check-in: we don't tend to realise how far we've come because we're so focused on everything we still have to do.

With the exception of those big 'Aha' moments, changes in our clients' lives are slow and steady. And while a monthly review can be enough to see some progress, I find a progress review every 3 months or so is the most effective. This gives the client time to make more progress, and it works wonderfully to create a virtuous circle that keeps the client motivated, on track and inspired to keep moving forwards.

While we can't help but informally discuss 'progress' at each coaching session, an explicit progress review is a powerful tool in every coach's toolbox: when we help our clients see their progress it's a real gift.

So, how do you measure progress towards goals?

You prepare for it: help your clients justify that financial investment, by measuring and scoring throughout your coaching relationships!

And then, when your clients feel they've spent wisely hiring you, they'll work harder, tell others, stay with you longer and be happier—and that's a win-win-win-win-win!

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

If you liked this article about Goals and Measuring Progress, you may also like:

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, 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 >>

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  1. Ka-Myra Menzie

    I am a student in human services and just happened to come across your website. This is a great idea for helping your clients make progress in their goals and to keep an inventory of the goals and aspirations I have for myself. I am very glad I happened upon this. Thank you


  2. Barbara Walters

    Thank you for making this template free and available. I have watched some people with learning challenges struggle to the wheel of life during coaching exercises. This template will make their lives easier. Now they will feel like a part of the group. I am in the human services field as well.

  3. Ruth

    Thank you for this website and all the free tools.
    I am always appreciative of what others have already done and
    grateful to have it made available for my use so I do not have
    to reinvent the wheel, so to speak.

  4. lekea itero

    Thank you for the 3 step process. I find utilizing the SMART goal approach more effective as it encourages clients to be more concrete regarding goal setting. The scaling questions also help with assessing for client's willingness to follow through with a commitment they make.

  5. Aouam

    Thank you for your engagement! As a coach, you help with all tools you présente
    God bless you


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