February 1, 2019

*Please note this is a transcript of the video to be found below.*

Hi, Georg Fasching here, helping you unlock your team’s genius.

I am very grateful that I get to work with several leaders as their executive coach and as you might expect in coaching we are working very much with goals. Goal setting is absolutely vital because without having any idea of where we want to go we will never quite be sure of, first of all, how to get there and when we’ve gotten there. So goal setting is a great tool that we work very closely with in coaching and it is really useful for anybody really, whether you are working with a coach or just on your own.

Now there are certain periods over the course of the year where people tend to get a bit more motivated to set some new intentions for themselves. New Years for example, is a time where some people like to form new year’s resolutions. I personally don’t rate new year’s resolutions all that highly unless they are turned into some real, actionable and tangible goals. And for that purpose, I have found that a lightweight structure ends up working best to support people in, not only identifing their goals, but also helping them track their progress towards them and help them to also realise why those goals might be important to them.

So I’d like to share this template with you and let’s take a look. So, you’ll see that this is truly a lightweight template. It is taken and slightly adapted from a book that I got to study, called Effective Coaching by Myles Downey and we are only looking at really three columns and I suggest we start with the middle one first. So, the middle one is titled the Success Goals, you could think about this as the What goals. These are usually the ones we start with because they’re quite tangible, they’re easily accessible and few people actually have a good idea of what they want to pursue.

Now, one of the first questions we need to ask ourselves that tends to come up when I use this template with my coaching partners, as their executive coach is to think about the timeframe they’d want to look at. So we’re typically looking at somewhere around three to six months, maybe a little bit more, but usually when we get to one year then we want to think about breaking down the goals into more sizable and manageable chunks. And with that the goal possibly become a lot more achievable, so it’s also worth noting that as people we tend to overestimate what we can achieve in a short period of time, such as a calendar month and we tend to underestimate how much we can achieve in the larger period of time, say one, five or maybe even 10 years.

So, let’s bear those in mind when we use a template like this in order to help us set our goals. So, what we want to identify in the success goals column is really the What, so if you’re familiar with SMART objective setting, that’s a useful technique to also formulate the goals here in this column, so SMART stands for specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and timebound and it just helps us to think through and actually note down what it is and when it is and the how we’re making sure we’re getting there and insuring that we have something that is challenging, yet also realistic and achievable.

So, that’s the easy one done, now let’s look over to the right column, which is the experience goals column, that’s really the why behind the what, what is it that drives you as a person to want to achieve those goals, who will you have become once you have achieved them and what’s the underlining meaning for you as a person that drives you to work towards those goals and what will it be like as a real experience for you to achieve those goals, what will it feel like, what will you see, hear, smell, when you are actually done realising that goal, once you have achieved it, so to already cement in your mind what the outlook will look like after achieving the goal and doing that and doing that vividly in your imagination acts as a really good anchor so that your brain has something to strive towards and to work towards.

With that completed we have covered the what and we have covered the why, leaves the left column, so that covers the learning goals, so this is the how, how do we get to the whats, what is it that we need to perhaps learn, that we need to cover in terms of skills development or knowledge development, what they need to research and what connections do they need to make in order to help you to progress towards your goals, right?

In the middle we have the what, on the right we have the why and on the left we have the how and doing this exercise to start off with, in order to write out their goals. It can happen that once you’ve written out, you actually realising that perhaps you’re not all that passionate about those particular goals, which is great learning because then you can redirect the energy required and find some goals that are much more in tune with what you want to achieve, what you want to get out of life, what you want to get out of work.

The other aspect of this is also to ensure that you keep track of your pursuit of these goals, so if you’re working with a coach, the coach will, of course, help with that, if you don’t then I recommend that you set yourself some quality time aside with yourself in your calendar and just as you do with other appointments, set up an appointment with yourself in regular frequency, so that you have a regular check-in point to help you keep yourself on track in the pursuit of your goals, so say every two weeks or every four weeks is good, shouldn’t really be much more than that, ’cause that doesn’t that doesn’t really give you enough time to adjust and make inspection and adaptation cycles to your goals and the efforts that you are putting in, in order to realise your goals, alright?

If you have any further queries or any comments on this, please let me know in the comments, but this type of lightweight structure might have come to using with coaching partners as I mentioned. And it provides enough structure, provides enough guidance and is not really overbearing in the upkeep or the initial filling in and tends to work quite well as a happy medium.

Thanks for reading this article!

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About the author 

Georg Fasching

A leadership team development specialist, International Coach Federation - Professional Certified Coach, with global product management experience since 2000, employing Agile & Lean since 2010, Georg Fasching guides leadership teams to delighting their clients, fulfil their people, and improve their prosperity.

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