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Goal Setting

Life Coaching is about helping clients realise their goals, it is about facilitating the performance, learning and development of the client.  Sessions involve a unique conversation between the coach and the client, this conversation encourages the client to explore and navigate through an aspect of the client’s life that he or she may wish to change.

In order to help the client bring about change, I often use the GROW model, which is a mnemonic that defines a framework for analysis.  The framework does not operate in a specific order and I will often advise clients to visit each aspect of the model at least once.  As the client formulates their goal and they begin the process of working towards it, the goal can shift therefore going back and forth between the elements several times may offer new insights and options.

Once a client has decided on an area that he or she wants to work on, we apply the GROW model as follows:

  • Goal – Once the topic has been realised, the client is encouraged to generate goals.  The goals should not be vague and they must be as specific as possible.  If a client is unable to pin a goal down, other methods will be used to help with this stage of the process.
  • Reality – Once a goal has been set the client is encouraged to explore any problem areas or any potential obstacles.  This exploration encourages the client to weigh up how realistic his or her goal is.  Unrealistic goals often end in failure and that is not the aim of Life Coaching!  If a goal is not realistic we will explore other things that could be put into place that will enable the client to realise the chosen goal.
  • Options – It is important for the client to look at which options are available to them.  How could they move towards their goal? What things might they need to put in place in order to implement their goal? What have they tried already? This part of the session is about brainstorming and generating ideas.  Once a client details the options, we will again revisit the reality stage. How realistic are each of the options? The clearer we get in the sessions and the more options we have available, the closer the client will be able to get towards their chosen goal.
  • Will / Way Forward – Once a client has a list of options, they are able to chose which options they can and WILL commit to doing.  Often at this stage we will introduce a time frame, a time when the client will be able to complete the options and a time frame in which they may reach their goal. When the client makes a time commitment and they are able to carry out the presented options, they will achieve their goals.

Although simplifying the process, in practice it works like this:

Beverley attends a session and says she would like to work on improving the relationship she has with her son.  First, we explore what this looks like and I ask her how she will know when things have improved. (We need to be very clear about what achieving the goal looks like or we won’t know when we’ve got there.) From this conversation, Beverley decides that she would like to narrow her focus on communication, Beverley finds it hard to communicate effectively with her son so decides her goal is to spend an evening a week doing something with her son so they can spend more time communicating. Together we work through the GROW model and come up with the following:

Goal – Beverley decides that she would like to spend an evening a week with her son to help with their communication.

Reality – Beverly decides that one evening a week will fit in with her and her son’s schedule and therefore the goal she has set is realistic.

Options – Beverley decides that she could program in weekly activities, prepare a special meal one night a week or they could go to the cinema together and again after analysis we conclude that these options are viable.

Will – Beverley decides that there is no time like the present and decides that she will talk to her son by the end of the day and she puts this in her diary.  She then decides that after talking to her son, together they will pick a day that works for them both and program in 6 dates.  So she has committed herself to completing a task by that same evening and completing the task of spending more time together by 6 weeks.

So how can the GROW model help you in the achievement of your goals? Well, have a go for yourself, choose an area that you would like to change in your life and apply the rules above and don’t forget to write it all down!  Thinking about it is not enough; seeing your goal visually will reinforce it, verbalising it to a friend, family member or Coach will set the wheels in motion.

For further information or help with your goal, please contact me.

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