3 Areas to Explore (Plus Questions to Ask) When Your Client Consistently Fails to Complete their Actions!

And a little about Goal Ecology

Who hasn't had a client who SAYS they want to achieve a goal but consistently avoids and, for one reason or another, does not complete their actions? Well it could be down to Goal Ecology.

Our lives are complex - most actions have consequences that ripple out into other areas. And sometimes in the rush to set or achieve goals we forget to step back and look at how our goals fit into the bigger picture of our lives.

Goal Ecology helps clients avoid life's pitfalls. By helping the client look at the wider implications of a goal, we help them set and achieve meaningful goals that fit into their life, lifestyle and relationships.

So, let's take a quick look at 3 'ecological' reasons why a client may not be completing their actions (and what you could ask) below:

1) Congruency - Is the goal what THEY really want? Is it congruent (in alignment) with their values and who they are? Because when our goals don't align with our deepest selves we usually find a way to sabotage ourselves. Maybe it's someone else's wish for them or perhaps it's an internal "should" they don't really believe in. Ask to find out...

Questions to ask:

  1. How important is this goal to YOU personally? (use scale of 1-10)
  2. How does this goal align with your values?
  3. Suppose for a moment that you have your goal, what is it like? What do you feel? What are you seeing, hearing and saying to yourself? (a useful check to see if they DO want the goal)

2) Unexpected Personal Impacts: What unexpected impacts might come from taking action towards - or achieving the goal? Does the client have the time, energy or space in their life for this goal right now?

Questions to ask:

  1. What other areas of your life might be affected by this change?
  2. Where does this goal fit with your priorities and current lifestyle?
  3. What is the price of making this change? Are you willing to pay the price?
  4. What’s good about your current  situation? How can you keep the good aspects of your current situation WHILE still making the change you want?

3) Relationship Impacts: How does taking action or achieving the goal impact other people in your client's life? What changes will the goal bring in how they interact with people? Who might get upset?

Questions to ask:

  1. Who else will be impacted by this goal? How does this affect how you feel about your goal?
  2. What will others think about your goal? How will they react?
  3. How might your life be better with this new goal?
  4. How might your life be worse with this new goal?

Moving forwards: By exploring goal ecology we uncover flaws like the goal may need fine-tuning - or it may not be theirs and need to be thrown out. The timescale may need changing or they may need to step up and prioritise their goal. The client may need to take smaller steps, or they may need to add in some 'set-up' actions before they can get started on their goal. They may need to get others on board, or maybe decide they're going for it anyway - no matter what others think!

In Summary: Helping clients set an ecological goal is a key part of the coaching process. Because when we raise their awareness around the bigger picture and help them adjust their actions and goals accordingly - we remove surprises, our clients are more committed - and are more likely to succeed!

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    • elelsey

      Thank-you Peter! Although it's funny that your comment says couch-ing - helping you stay on the couch!!! But seriously, thanks for taking the time to comment - and glad you like them. Warmly, EL


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