Running effective goal setting sessions

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Running effective goal-setting sessions 

Over the last couple of years we all needed to adapt to a range of changes both at home and at work that we could never have predicted or planned for. But as the world emerges from this global pandemic, we can all use this knowledge and insight to help our clients look to the future by running an effective goal-setting session and working through their personal and professional values.

Some of your clients may already be looking to the future or even planning summer holidays. Others may be considering their options at work as their employers talk about returning to the office, but some may be feeling paralyzed and any inaction can make them feel disappointed or frustrated because the plans they are not making the progress they wanted.

You may even see this within your own friends and family who could also be in a similar position. They may be tempted to simply wait until everything gets back to normal before they start to think about making any real progress with the things they wanted to achieve this year.

So this feels like a great time for running a goal-setting session to help get your clients motivated to look to the future. And during this type of coaching session, you may find that some of their values have changed or their goals can no longer be achieved. And some may even need to be postponed long-term, so having an opportunity to help them review their values, reflect on the future and reset goals, could be just what they need right now.


Our five-step process

If you use these steps 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 they 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 of the new normal we are all living with. But ask them to check local health advice so they can be realistic about what they are able to do and stay safe or keep socially distanced where needed.
  • Step 4 : Adapt to changes – The current restrictions have taught us to be 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 your clients 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


Further Reading:

This global pandemic has shown 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 we let it have on what we do or don’t achieve. So please talk to your clients about running a goal-setting session and use our exclusive ebook to help them to stay positive and share that new energy with the people around them.

If this is something that interests you, check out our exclusive ebook from the online shop:

  • 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 some clear goals for the future.

Please note – Please include a reference and link back to this original blog if you wish to copy or share anything we have written: (cc) – 2022

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