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Manager as Coach (part 4 of 5)

In the previous 3 posts, we looked at certain skills required to be a “Coaching Manager”:

Good listening skills – Part 1

Good questioning skills – Part 2

Ability to provide effective feedback – Part 3

Ability to set goals – Part 4 – this post

Ability to create action plans and see them through – Part 5

Lets simply expand on the above to include the coaching skills that will permeate through a coaching style Manager:

Part 4 – Goal Setting:

“If a man knows not what harbor he seeks, any wind is the right wind” – Seneca

Firstly, what is the difference between a goal and a wish?

General Wish: “I would love my team to be able to communicate better”

General goal: “I will improve team communication.”

Specific goal: “I will improve team communication by spending time listening to each member’s concerns. I’ll commit myself to individual meetings over the next month, and then bring the team together for a brainstorming session on how we can improve communication and morale.”

Watch your language! If you are not specific with your wording, then you are giving yourself permission not to succeed. Other goal killers are words like “I’ll try”, “I’d love to, but…”, “I wish I could do that, but…” I am sure you know where I am coming from with this.

Are you on Target?

Goal Setting is a process, and a skill that can be learned and practiced (so no excuses, right?)

Firstly, your goal needs to be FIT (seriously!)

Focused – know the advantages and disadvantages of achieving the goal

Inclusive – ensure the goal is within your control

Testing – the goal must be challenging, otherwise it’s just a task

Next, you need a SMART goal, right?

(If you want detailed info on the SMART model – please see my extended blog post here)

So now your goal is SMART, where do you go from here?

  1. A goal gets you from HERE to THERE. Imagine the THERE – picture it, the outcome.
  2. Decide what you want to BE, DO, and HAVE with relation to your goal. Some people have a stigma around being great, doing great things or having great things. Let’s talk about money. Some may perceive money as evil – the ruination of many a nation. Money itself is not a bad thing. It’s what you do with money that makes it good or bad. So if your motivation is to earn more or get more money, that is a good thing, and totally up to you what you do with it and how you treat or mistreat it.
  3. Ask yourself WHY you set that particular goal.
    – Ask what you will gain from achieving this goal – make an extensive list (when you think you are finished, list 5 more)
    – Ask what you will lose by not achieving this goal – again make a list (stretch your imagination again on this one)
  4. Internal motivation is the only lasting motivation – as well as meeting organisational needs, ensure this goal is in tune with your reality, your vision.
  5. TEST your goal – does it stretch you – will you or your team grow as a consequence. Your answer here should be YES, if not refer back to point 4. Read it aloud to yourself and observe your emotions and reactions when you read it. If it excites you, then YES, it is on track with you.
  6. Stick to your goal and don’t change the plan, unless altering a portion of the goal will improve the outcome. Changing can be a consequence of distraction or procrastination, both detrimental to achieving goals.
  7. Give your goal time to grow, be patient with it, become it’s advocator. Watch out for shortcuts and shortfalls.
  8. Plan your actions – probably the toughest part of goal setting – is acting. ACT now!!! Don’t bother waiting for the perfect time or conditions, because they will never arrive. Waiting for the perfect time is the perfect excuse for doing nothing!

How is your goal setting?

Whether personal or professional, do you have a sure way of ensuring you achieve your goals?

Elaine Rogers is a Business Trainer, Coach and Writer. She takes pain away. She helps soothe the rough and tumble of running a business through education, information and coaching. And a bit of entertainment. Elaine hangs out at The Smart Train She provides online training and coaching solutions in the areas of MS Office Skills, Business Skills, and Soft Skills. She also provides exclusive content for her ever growing email list.

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  • Interesting post Elaine. After two years in business we learned some of these points the hard way. It's so crucial to be “specific” and tell yourself (in writing) what do you want and how will you achieve it.I found in general that point number 7, “Give your goal time to grow”, is one of the toughest. People tend to set goals and slightly or suddenly become an opportunist, following a path that was not part of that initial goal but seemed sweet enough to get something out of it, “quick”…

  • elainerogers

    Thanks Fred.Goal setting is useless without a map of how to get there. So if I want to drive to Austria, I know the general direction in my mind, but if I had a map of some kind, i would be much more clear on HOW to get there. The beauty about goal setting is the goal is the trigger – it excites us into immediate action of some kind. The challenge is then to keep the momentum going, through action (next post, part 5).The “writing” is the key part here, as you specify. This is our map, our guide. It's up to us to use it well.

  • Hi Elaine, really enjoying the series! I believe however that many managers continue to confuse suggesting goals with agreeing goals. The individual needs to want the goal before they are ever going to invest, this is a critical factor as to whether the particular goal will ever be realised. What do you think?

  • elainerogers

    Niall, thanks for the interest in the series. Glad you are enjoying it.As suggested in the post, I believe a goal is only a wish/want until a plan has been put in place, along with the commitment to follow it through. This is covered in more detail in the next post, but yes, I would agree that if a goal is being set by Managers, it MUST have “buy in” from the employee who the goal is meant for. Organisational goals are not always easy to follow through, and there may be resistance by staff members (including Managers and Directors). It is at this early point that a goal can be doomed to failure, but that fact is not realised until after resources have been used up.There is often a cat and mouse game played here, so can be dangerous for the organisation. This ties in with the debate that the most important thing about a company is its people. They have such a huge impact on the success of the biz, including “buy in ” when given goals or instructions.Does that somewhat answer your question?

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