Identify coaching objectives

Goals are among the factors that distinguish coaching from causal chatter. As comforting as the latter may be, it doesn’t lead to an action plan with clear, precise, and measurable objectives. Goals work like magic. They show us the way, get us focused, activate our creativity, and give us the extra burst of energy we need to move faster toward our dreams.

Tony Robbins says, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”

According to Latham and Locke’s Goal-Setting Theory, setting goals increases performance and productivity by 11 to 25%. Another study on goal-setting conducted by Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, shows that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down.

So what kind of objectives should be set during a coaching session? 

The goal of a coaching session depends on both the coach’s and client’s preferences. Generally speaking, every coach has a specific specialty. It can be business, career, life, leadership, etc. The client’s goal needs to be within that niche, though coaches may find themselves following their clients’ preferences outside their wheelhouse. That explains why coaches are usually referred to as life coaches regardless of their specialty.

How to set a goal during a coaching session?

This can be achieved by asking questions like “What goals would you like to achieve today?”, “What would be an ideal outcome for this session”, or “What is your desired outcome?”

As simple as it may seem, this could be challenging for two reasons. First, the client may come to the session not fully aware of what they want to do. Second, not all goals are easily measurable.

So how to deal with that?

We keep asking powerful questions to raise our client’s self-awareness and get them to be more conscious of their needs. For example, questions like “How would you know whether or not we achieved our goal at the end of the session?”

Scaling is another technique coaches can use in such situations. If a client is only showing up to vent their feelings, the coach may ask them to rate their feelings on a scale of 0-10 (0 being the lowest and 10 being the highest). Then determine the score they want to reach by the end of the session. This powerful technique helps measure the unmeasurable and determine the gap between where the client is and where they want to be.