Coaching is a positive, goal oriented profession, but when we use the word “Goal” what do we really mean?
Zooming Out to the 30,000 foot view to identify the client’s big picture, long term Vision/Goal is critical and where all coaching begins, but that is followed by other types of goals as described below.
The key is to help your client create the type of goal that fits where they are in the coaching process, generally Visioning, Goal Planning, Action Planning, and Implementation.
We identify four levels or kinds of goals:
Level One: Short Term Goal- This is a goal related to Implementation of an action plan, usually involving a short term problem, such as “I don’t get compatible matches from my online dating platforms.” The goal is usually the opposite of the problem, such as “Identify and implement effective online dating strategies.” This is a ground level view for coaching your client that is appropriate for implementing their Vision and Action Steps previously identified as their agenda for coaching with you. Outside of an on-going coaching relationship, this is the realm of consultants and NOT the place to start when coaching a client in a particular area. This is a very short term, immediate perspective and goal.
Level Two: Intermediate Term Goal- This is a significant action step towards the client’s big picture, long term Vision, such as “Find a compatible potential partner who would be a good fit for my Vision, Requirements, Needs and Wants. We have lift off, this is the 500 foot view, a very important step towards achieving their big picture long term Vision, which could lead to flying higher but could also lead back to ground level if a particular prospect (or job, or whatever else) doesn’t prove to be viable after experiencing the reality. This is an intermediate term goal that might take a month or two of effort.
Level Three: Long Term Goal- A solid milestone or stepping stone towards achieving their Vision. This is the 10,000 foot view, well on their way with great forward momentum. For example, “Enter a committed relationship with the love of my life.” For some, this is their destination and as far as they can imagine going, but as relationship coaches we know that this is just the beginning of achieving their dreams and living happily ever after. When helping a prospective client convert a problem into a big picture goal, or before entering a coaching relationship, this level should be the minimum. This is a long term goal of a year or two, but not the ultimate destination.
Level Four: Ultimate Vision Goal- This is a critical area of their long term, big picture Vision. Using the Wheel of Life as an example, if you were to break up the areas of life into “Financial,” “Health,” “Relationships,” etc, this would be achieving your big dream in one area, such as “Co-create a deeply loving, intimate, secure, fulfilling relationship with my partner/husband/wife.” This is the ultimate destination the client wants to arrive at, the 30,000 foot view, and while achieving it is realizing their Vision for that part of their life, it continues to grow, evolve, and develop, so these goals are rarely static and “done” once you’ve achieved this level, which makes life fun, interesting, juicy, and exciting. We need to help our clients see and think and strive at this level, but to do so we need to be able to see and think and strive at this level ourselves, which is a perk and benefit of being a coach. This might take 5 or more years to achieve, but generally results in living your dream life for many years to come.