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Coaching Skills - Goal Setting

3 Sept 2020
Roz Williams profile photo
By Roz Williams

Setting goals is a crucial part of individual and team coaching. Setting goals increases motivation and determination. When our coachee sets goals, it makes their priorities clear; for themselves, their colleagues and their stakeholders. There is, however, an art to setting goals. So here at the Business Coaching Academy, we've created a guide for coaches to keep goal setting on track!​


6 top tips for goal setting:

1. Goal orientated discussion

If a coachee walks away from your session without having a goal set - you've just had a comfy chat. Setting goals is an essential part of business development. As a coach, you should be encouraging a coachee to set a new goal during each coaching session.

2. Think differently

A coach should encourage a coachee to think differently. You are helping them to move away from what they can't control and take action on areas that they have influence over. It's easy to get caught up thinking about things that cannot be changed, but to inspire growth, you should focus on getting your coachee to move their focus to the things they can control.

3. Time for a change

To improve is to change. Things will only be different if your coachee makes the changes they want to see. Motivate your coachee to set goals that incite the change they want to see. Goals are a way for your coachee to measure and evaluate their change and improvement.

4. Motivation

Ask your coachee what they have to gain from the goals they've set and perhaps more importantly, what do they have to lose if they don't take action? To motivate a coachee to stick to their goals, encourage them to think about what is in it for them.

5. Questions to ask

So, what questions can we ask a coachee to guide them in goal setting? Ask your coachee how they envision themselves achieving their goal, how they will measure success and to describe the first step they will take to achieve it.

6. Change within the coachee

Get your coachee to focus on who they need to become to achieve their goal.What do they need to do differently?Do they need extra skills, or to be able to create better relationships with colleagues?

4 tips for setting goals when coaching a team:

1. Analyse

Encourage strategic thinking. Use questioning to get the team to analyse where they are now and where they want it to go. How do they get there? What options have they got? What's holding them back? Analysing these factors can help the team set clear, concise goals.

2. Long-term strategy

It's essential to help the team keep the big picture in mind while setting goals. Everything should feel deliberate. As the team sets their short-term goals, ensure that they add up to where the team wants to be in the future. As a coach, you can help them to break it down, create a roadmap and provide a focus for the smaller steps they can you take now, to reach the larger goal. Following a plan filled with more modest goals that lead to the bigger goal is a great way to boost team morale. Ticking off smaller goals as a team will make people work harder for the satisfaction of achieving their end goal.

3. Work with the whole team

Work with the team and facilitate discussion about options, roadblocks and next steps. Getting each team members input on the goals can offer a unique approach that hadn't been thought of before. Involving the whole team in decision making helps grow relationships. If everyone helps set the goal and the next steps, they are much more likely to work harder towards them and have a better understanding of how to get there.

4. Make goals specific

You can read vague goals with no real plan in all sorts of ways. It's crucial that you help the team to plan their goals with a formula that gives them a built-in action plan. Facilitate a discussion that allows the team to define their end goal clearly. Use questioning, so they finish the session with specific actions that they will undertake before the next session. That way, everyone is on the same page, and there are no crossed wires.