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Chasing Goals

Author: Shantanu Dutta   |   Date: 21 Nov 2016   |   Comment: 0 Share:   |     |     |  

For someone who is a coach, I have never really relied on goals to map out my life, yet it has seemed to work out for me so far. Possibly a lot of people are just like me. Even then, I have achieved most of what I wanted in life. Also, I somehow convinced an amazing woman to spend the rest of her life with me; pursued many careers and enjoyed all of them; have had some amazing friends, etc. These extraordinary things just happened as I walked through my life without bothering to make plans. But I have come to a realization that, that does not in any way minimize the importance of goals in life.

 In the book, What They Don’t Teach You in the Harvard Business School, author Mark McCormack makes a mention of a study about the students in the 1979 MBA program. The students were asked, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?”. The results were striking – only 3% of the students had written down goals. Another 13% had some idea of goals but they weren’t written down. The other 84% had no specific goals. A decade later when the same set were interviewed, it was observed that the 3% who had goals were far more successful than the rest.

Goal Setting is one of the most important things that I, as a coach, help clients do. Of course, I too have set goals in my life, whether they were a “To do list” for the day or long term goals. Just that my goals were not necessarily strategic or developed intentionally; also not all goals were focused or were helpful in providing a direction to my life.  The intent of a well conceived goal is to bring focus and sharpness to the client’s objective. To ensure that coaching achieves the intended results, it is critical to create a Goal with the client's overall purpose, strategy and challenges.The coach is responsible for ensuring that goal-setting conversations get the best results. What I didn’t do for myself for a long time, I am now guiding others to do.

There are two types of goals operating actually in a coaching context: content goals, which focus on what is to be accomplished by the client; and process goals, which is all about the coaching process which the coach has to formulate in order for the client to achieve the goal. The process goal, while still keeping the end in mind, allows for a certain level of flexibility as the coaching time line moves along, but the content goal must not change. Obviously, the Coach has to ensure that his own process oriented goal helps the client to reach where one wants to go. 

Setting goals, though, is often the easy part, but committing and following through are a bit more challenging and of critical importance. The process of striving towards our goals is what will eventually have a positive effect on our daily life, on the results & rewards that we can expect to get and eventually lead to our goals being met.

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