Running a goal setting session

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Running a goal-setting session

If any of your clients are feeling disappointed or frustrated because the plans they had this summer are no longer achievable or they simply can’t afford to do the things they wanted, now could be just the time to run a quick goal-setting session with them. Especially as some may not be making the progress they would like or could be tempted to just wait until life returns to how it was before making any real progress.

But constantly adapting to the changes life seems to be throwing at us can be exhausting, so maybe this is a great time to run a much-needed goal-setting session. During this type of coaching session with your clients, you may find that some of their goals can no longer be achieved or may have to be postponed, so having an opportunity to review, reflect and reset goals, could be just what your clients need right now.


Our five-step process

If you use this process when running a goal-setting session, it should help bring clarity on what your clients want to focus on before other priorities take over or we no longer have the time.

Step 1 – Focus on the future
When running a goal-setting session, remember to focus on the future so your client is not disappointed by any lack of progress or overwhelmed by the current situation. This will also help them check if their long-term goals are still relevant or achievable, and if the timeline they originally had in place now needs to be updated.

Step 2 – Agree short-term goals
Once they are happy with their long-term goals, the next stage is to break them down into more manageable pieces or a series of incremental steps they can work on or deliver in the short term. This will really help them regain control and reduce any stress they may be feeling right now. Having these short-term goals and building towards something more meaningful in the future will help them boost their resilience so they have the energy needed to make the progress they want.

Step 3 – Make it challenging
It’s important to set goals that will challenge your clients (especially if they feel their life has been on hold) and may be the additional motivation they need to help kick-start this next phase once life starts to feel like it once did.

Step 4 – Adapt to changes
Life just seems to be more expensive and we are making choices every day in ways that we never thought we would, but they are teaching us to be more agile and adaptable, so remember this when working with a client to review their goals and think about how they will track or monitor any progress they are making. Having milestones in the diary will help keep them on track, but it’s also important to think about any possible blockers or things that can go wrong. We don’t want you to spend your time with your client focusing on the negative, but we do advise you to encourage your client to be honest and fully aware of any obstacles. Remember, this can also include their ability to self-sabotage, so by working with them to discuss or list any possible risks to success, they will identify what they will do if the situation arises or how they will spot it and stop it getting in their way.

Step 5 – Sharing the goals
If your client has a supportive friend or family member they can trust, suggesting they share their goals with them can really help make it all seem more real. It can also add motivation for them because they know somebody else will be checking on their progress and could even help spot when things are not going to plan. Their friends or family may also provide any support needed, because feeling supported can be a real motivator and boost resilience just when they need it.


Delivering success in your coaching session

To ensure they have the best possible chance of achieving everything they want, it may also be helpful to focus on these three areas when you are running a goal-setting session:

  • Outcomes – What they want to achieve and by when
  • Processes – What they need to do to make it happen
  • Identity – What habits or behaviors they may need to change or adapt

Life can be hard and shows us that we are not always in full control of what is happening, but we can control how we react to it and what impact it has on what we do or don’t achieve. Please use this time with your clients to focus on staying positive and encourage them to share that energy with the people around them.


Further reading:

To support you in running a great goal-setting session, we have published a range of ebooks that focus on different areas of the overall process:

Coaching Values – A complete toolkit for coaching both personal and professional values, with a simple step by step guide to identify key values and set clear goals.

Coaching Beliefs – A clear introduction to beliefs, simple step by step process to identify or review personal beliefs and final section to focus on negative beliefs to change any life scripts that could be holding your clients back.

Coaching Skills – Essential toolkit for coaching personal and interpersonal skills, plus self-assessment skills compass and key questions to identify strengths and talents, or areas to focus on.

Coaching Needs – An essential toolkit for coaching needs and simple step by step guide to identify needs and develop action plans to help satisfy them.

Content is constantly being added to the site, so please check our on-line shop. Or read some of the other blog posts written by our team of international coaches.

Image: Thanks to Social Cut for sharing their work on Unsplash.

Please note – Our blog posts can only be shared if you include a reference and link to the original source: (cc) – 2023

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