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The Problem with Goals & How Coaching Can Help You

It is the last month of Q1 and by now you have either given up on your resolutions, or you’ve amended your goals based on where life has taken you over the last few months. There’s no judgement here! If life followed a linear 10-step process then setting goals would be the easiest thing to do. Life is not linear; there are so many twists and turns that we can’t always plan for, as much as we try. 

The problem with goals, especially the ones we set in January, is that we set them when we’re home, maybe still on holiday, when we feel calm and relaxed. We often feel like we can do anything – and based on this, we list all the changes we’re going to make in the new year, so that we can feel more of what we feel in that moment.

Again, no problem with that BUT when we don’t factor in the reality of day-to-day life when we set our goals, we tend to fall off the wagon by the end of the first month back at the office. 

We’ve all been there, I have been there, many, many times. 

But instead of berating ourselves what if we think differently about the goals we set? 

Goals are important 

For me, short and long-term goals are a guide to help me reach my end goal. Think of it as your navigation system; I mean, you wouldn’t get into your car without a destination in mind, would you?

When you set goals for the year, or the quarter, there are a few guidelines you could consider. 

I like to tick these off when I set life or career goals:

  1. Is it my goal? Is this something I want to achieve and does it align to the life and career I am creating?
  2. Does it inspire me? How will my life be better once I have achieved my goal? 
  3. Is it clear? Can I clearly document how I am going to get to my goal and what the timeframe will be? 
  4. What are the actions required to get me to my goal? This step is often missed when we set goals. We often set the goal and hope it will fit into our lives. 
  5. Who do I need to become to achieve this goal? I love the saying: what got you here will not get you there. 

Coaching plays an important role 

In my first coaching session with clients, and sometimes in later sessions, we come back to some of the following questions, to make sure that the outcome the client wants is aligned to what they really want. 

Gerard Eagan, in his  book The Skilled Helper talks about “the story”, “the real story” and “the right story.” When we get clear on what your goals are and we get to what you really want to achieve, we can design the process and actions to get you there.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself when setting new goals:

  • Why is now the right time to work on this goal?
  • How does achieving this goal support the life and career I am building? 
  • What does achieving this goal look like? 
  • What will those close to you notice about you when you have achieved this goal?
  • How will I know when I have achieved my goals?
  • What have I tried in the past to achieve my goal?

We are not meant to do this alone 

With the right goals, resources and support, we can achieve our biggest goals! 

We are not meant to do it alone. Athletes don’t get to the Olympics on their own, football teams rely on the best coaches in the world to help them win premiership titles. You can achieve greatness by ensuring you have the right support on your journey. 

What do you need to achieve your career goals this year? If you are a technical specialist and you are ready to transition into your first leadership role, set up some time with me to discuss your transition strategy. 

Click here to set up your call. 

About the author

Selina is an ICF-accredited coach based in Cape Town, South Africa. She is the founder of SelinaNewman Coaching.

A coaching practice designed to help with female technical specialists transition successfully into mid-level manager positions – utilising transition coaching strategies.


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