3 Coaching Tips for Goal Setting

What are the best coaching tips for goal setting?   You know goals are important, but how do you unleash the power of setting and achieving goals. 

Maybe you heard of the Yale study on goals from 1953 or the Harvard study of MBA’s from 1979 with the follow up ten years later in 1989. They supposedly found that the students who set goals were the most successful grads years later. I head this story from one of my early mentors in goal setting. I even repeated the story in my early training classes.

If only it were true. There is no documentation for it, and each school has denied that these “studies” were ever done. Another urban legend. (wah-wah)

Getting Real

However, there are three things that will make a positive difference for goals and this has been studied and documented recently.

In 2014 Gail Matthews at Dominican University in CA did demonstrate that written, specific, and accountable goals got accomplished to a much greater degree than goals that aren’t.   Let’s unpack those 3 coaching tips for goal setting briefly.

1.  Written – just writing goals down makes a difference.  In fact, see my other post on this.

2.  Specific – get really clear and specific so you can answer “what will happen by when, and how will you measure it?”  A well-structured goal will only have two possible answers to the question did you achieve it:  yes or no.  Vague, undated, intangible goals without any real measurement allow an answer of “maybe” to the question, and they put you in the danger zone from the beginning. 

3.  Accountable – sharing your goal with someone else increases the likelihood of achieving it.  You’ll hear some people say, “Don’t tell anyone your goals!  Research says that’s wrong-headed.  If you share it with others, you’re much more likely to work on it and achieve it.  I have coached almost a thousand managers individually and in teams in my career, and not only do they share their goal with me, but I have them share it with others as well. Why? It works!

You can see my video on this here (direct link):

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