Goal setting is a fundamental ingredient of personal leadership. It requires both a process and a mind-set. Goal setting will enable to you stay focused in what you want to achieve for yourself, your team and your business.
For some, goal setting is an onerous task – you may prefer to live your life moment by moment. Without clear goals, you may end up somewhere you don’t want to be. For others, the challenge is not having a clear process to set your goals.
Following this 8-step process will help you clarify what you want to focus on, consider what might get in the way of your achievement, enlist the support of others, develop a plan and visualise your success in your goal achievement.
- Decide what you want to focus on
A tool that many coaches use to help individuals think about where to focus is the ‘balance wheel’. This wheel is a representation of various aspects in your life.
Essentially, the 8 sections in the wheel represent balance. Seeing the centre of the wheel as 0 and the outer edge of the wheel as 10, rank your level of satisfaction with each area of your life by drawing a straight or curved line (see example below).
The new perimeter of the circle represents your life as it is at present. How bumpy would the ride be if this were a real wheel?
In this example, imagine focusing on career as the section you want to gain greater satisfaction from. You will therefore need to set yourself a goal related to career.
- Write your goal down – in the present tense – together with a measure of success.
Staying with the example above, the area of focus is career. A goal may sound like ‘to be a trusted advisor’, ‘a specialist in my industry field’ or ‘a leader with a global remit’ or perhaps ‘have clarity on my next step’. It is equally important to attach a measure of success to this goal providing you with an indication that you are moving closer to achieving your goal. In this example, measures of success may sound like ‘colleagues and clients will be seeking my input on a regular basis’ or ‘two articles will be published in our industry magazine, authored by me’.
- Commit to a deadline
Apply a realistic deadline by when you want to have achieved your goal. This will help with forward momentum and keep you on track. Pace yourself – it is not always about achieving in the fastest time. Michael Hyatt recently describes the benefit of a slow start when it comes to goal setting.
- Identify likely obstacles
What might get in the way of you achieving your goal? Be honest and realistic with yourself. Consider ways to mitigate these obstacles, including the development of additional skills.
- Identify what skills and information you need
In order to achieve your goal, what additional information or skills might you need? In the example above, where the goal is ‘to be a trusted advisor’ the skills required may be a combination of more knowledge and experience together with developing further communication skills such as listening and synthesizing.
- Who else can help you?
Consider who else can help you achieve your goals. When it comes to developing your career, mentors, key stakeholders, sponsors and others in your network together with a good coach can make a positive difference in supporting you achieve your goals.
- Create a plan
Create a plan of the sequential steps you need to take to move you closer to your goal. Planning is an essential part of achieving goals. Taking time out to plan your activities will reap benefits in the long term providing you with focus and means of keeping on track of your goal achievement.
- Practise visualising your goals
The art of visualisation can have a profound affect on your goal achievement. Just like professional athletes visualise the race in front of them, including the way they break through the finish line, you too can visualise yourself having achieved your goal. In your visualisation, pay attention to how you feel and what others notice in you, now that you have achieved your goal.
Having a process for setting goals can help you achieve more. The steps provided here are all about what you can DO to achieve your goal. In addition to the doing, setting and achieving goals requires a mind-set. A mind-set of commitment. Developing a mind-set of commitment requires practice, just like developing a muscle – the more you use it, the stronger it becomes.
Goal setting will help you get clear on what you want. Furthermore it will develop your planning skills and will lead to your own personal growth.
What goals will you set to achieve what you want for yourself, your team or your business?
Great article and a very helpful framework Jane. I realise I have the tendency to miss a few steps in this process. There is something very powerful that I have received through yours and others coaching and that is helping get the goal articulated in the first place. Balance Wheel is a great exercise and I benefit further with the structured conversation you offer around this – what is it that will be compelling enough to be a goal? Coaching evokes discovery and insight, and it is this I have found most helpful when working with you.
What a great question. In my experience, what makes something compelling enough to be a goal, is when you want to change something for yourself. Or you want to achieve something that is a stretch or a challenge and it is in the discovery and insight along the way that offers as much reward as the achievement of the goal itself.
This is just such a helpful tool. I have just finished an MA in Fine Art where I self-directed my own work and research but now that that academic structure is finished, I have been at a crossroads with unconscious decisions to unravel before I then take my next steps! This 8 point process is invaluable and I have copied these down and am using them to ascertain where I go next with my work. Thank you so much for this invaluable insight into personal leadership skills!!!
Firstly, many congratulations Sarah on completing your MA. Secondly, I am delighted this process is useful for you. Being at crossroads can be exciting – it can suggest you have many different paths ahead of you. Imagine your decisions are unravelled – I wonder what is possible for you now Sarah? Stay in touch as it will lovely to hear how this next stage of your mastery in art develops for you.
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