Coaching and goal-setting goes hand-in-hand. It is what makes the difference between an aimless wander around various topics of mutual interest to coach and client, versus an intentional journey aimed at reaching a specific pre-agreed goal. Goals can look very differently: defined by the needs of the individual, the company or changing circumstances.
Goal-setting in coaching sessions are perhaps one of the most important elements, and helps a coach to map out the conversation and navigate the territory when conversation can go off course or it feels very difficult to move away from problems or being stuck.
Recently I was on my way to a conference in London, and as I have an appalling sense of direction when the sun isn’t shining (it’s a heritage thing, I am used to looking for shadows!), I found myself going in circles for half an hour on a walk that should have been 6 minutes according to the map, trying to find a building in the city that was obscured by roadworks, building works and ancient passageways that are not always obvious to the modern eye.
But eventually I found the little archway of St Helen’s’ opening to a square, with a church, some sculptures and the Gherkin towering behind it. And then my destination was obvious and easy to find.
In Coaching it often works the same. The client comes with a problem that seems to have a straightforward solution, but it takes navigating through lots of personal roadworks and building work in a company, and perhaps an obscured viewpoint that was formed through assumptions on my part or that of the client, and we need to navigate all of this landscape in conversation in order to get to what becomes a clear route to the destination: the goal.