Setting Goals in Coaching
Without a goal, your chances of successfully coaching your employee to better performance are low. Defining specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-driven goals will plot a marker in the horizon that acts as your beacon. Without it, you are navigating blindly, causing frustration for both you and your employee, because you never seem to make any improvement. It becomes a constant cycle of failing to meet the goal and talking to your employee about it. This repeats repeatedly without a well-defined goal.
This blog will discuss setting goals with an easy-to-remember technique. This is the first component or the “G” of the GROW method of coaching. Let us explore what this is and how to develop it.
Goals in the context of GROW
The first step of the GROW model is the key step in the process. Setting the goal gives you and your employee direction and purpose. You would find it very difficult if you were handed a bunch of tools and materials and told to build something without a clear vision or goal of what is to be built.
The same holds true for developmental goals. It is not good enough to tell your employee they must improve in sales or build widgets faster. These types of goals create more confusion because they don’t know where to start. Back to the building analogy, you may end up building a stool when what was really needed was a birdhouse. Clear goals are the cornerstone of the GROW model.
Here are some benefits to establishing goals upfront in the process:
- Both you and your employee have a better chance of starting in the right direction together.
- Coaching time is more efficient once goals are discussed upfront.
- You are able to plan ahead of the session and prepare targeted questions.
- The coaching session is direct and avoids meandering.
- You will come across more clearly, instilling confidence in your employees.
Now, since we established the importance and benefit of goal-setting early in the coaching process, let us look at identifying appropriate goal areas.
When coaching, it is a temptation for you to talk more because we have plenty to say. However, in order to gain information and identifying appropriate goal areas, you must listen more. Remember, you have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice as much as you talk. Your objective here is to “catch” as much information as possible to help you determine what specific areas you can leverage and achieve results. Many times, allowing your employee to achieve even the smallest of goals begins a positive reinforcement of coaching. At some point before your actual coaching session, you want to engage in a brief discussion with your employee to determine their personal goals.
Here are some questions you should ask while during your pre-coaching meeting. Remember to write down their answers for your reference later:
- What goals are you working on right now?
- Where are you in relation to those goals?
- What do you think is keeping you from reaching this goal?
- How will you know you reached that goal?
Asking these open-ended questions starts a conversation about your employee, which is what you want to achieve. Allowing your employee to speak more enables you to gather more information. Asking questions about their goals reveals their desires and this is something you can tie into your coaching goal. Maybe an employee is furthering their education by going to college at night. Understanding this, you may be able to motivate your employee to achieve better performance, leading them to make more incentive they can use to fund their educational needs.
Furthermore, understanding where they are in relation to their goals reveals needs that may need support from you. Helping your employee with their personal goals builds a great working relationship. Finally, determining what roadblocks are preventing them from reaching their goals will provide insight into their personal circumstances. Granted, you may not solve all of your employee’s problems, but demonstrating empathy goes a long way and helps to form goals for you that take into consideration your employee’s personal situation. Remember, your employee does not care how much you know until you show how much you care. Listen more and talk less.
One final note, at first you may find asking questions challenging. This is normal. Give it time and do not give up. You may even have to let your employee know that you are interested more in their personal goals as a way to help them reach goals at work.