How Do You Measure Progress Towards Goals? Try this Simple 3 Step Process

How to measure progress towards goals - Happy Clients Thumbs up

Why measure progress towards goals?

We all want our clients to be satisfied (or thrilled!) with our coaching—and this means they need to believe they're making progress.

Which means that 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.

Help your clients justify that financial investment, by measuring and scoring throughout your coaching relationships!

Because 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!

How often should you measure progress towards goals?

While a monthly review can be enough to see some progress, I find a progress review approximately every 3 months is the most effective.

This gives the client more time to make progress, and it works wonderfully to create a virtuous circle that keeps the client motivated, on track and inspired to stay coaching with you over a longer time period.

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...

Here's How to Measure Progress Towards Goals in 3 Easy Steps

1) Set-up

  • First, agree the goals a client wants to work on 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.

Grab Yourself a Brandable Coaching Goals Worksheet here:

The Coaching Goals Worksheet is also available in our top-selling Welcome Pack Toolkit:

2) Get SMART

  • Next ensure the client's goals are SMART.
  • In particular, agree the 'M' in SMART (for Measurable).
    • 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".

How to measure progress towards intangible goals

Often a client will have a goal like, "Be more content with my life" or "Have more confidence".

In these cases, you'll 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
  3. Importantly: ask them to write their score on their copy of the goals sheet.

3) Hold a 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 you think you've made towards their goals? What evidence do you have of this progress?
    • What percentage do they think they've 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?
      • Their action plan?
      • The speed of their progress (which could mean slowing down for a more relaxed approach—or speeding up to get there faster!)
  • Lastly, if it feels right, ask how they might reward or appreciate themselves to recognize their progress?

How to measure progress towards intangible goals

  1. First ask your client to score out of 10 how content or confident (our examples from earlier) they feel now.
  2. Then share with your client the previous or initial score they gave (which you noted on your copy of their goals sheet).
  3. In my experience there is ALWAYS an improvement, even if it's only one point!

It really is that simple.

And whenever I've done a progress review like this my clients are always surprised and pleased by the progress they've made.

Which makes this a powerful process to demonstrate the power of (your) coaching!


While we may discuss our clients' progress at each coaching session, an explicit progress review is a powerful tool in every coach's toolbox.

Because with the exception of big 'Aha' moments, changes in our clients' lives are generally slow and steady. Most people don't realise how far they've come because they're so focused on everything they still have to do.

Help your clients see the progress they're making with you even (especially) on those intangible goals and you'll have satisfied, happy clients that tell all their friends about you!

Lastly, Love Goals? Why not try our Vision & Goal-Setting Toolkit?

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 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 >>

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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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