Your go-to guide to life coach goals for clients (and yourself!)
Whether you’re a coach or aspiring to become or a client passionate about transformation, this guide is for you.
We’ll dive deep into setting and achieving goals, blending research with practical advice to empower you on your journey. So, let’s take the first step towards unlocking your potential and achieving unparalleled success!
What you’ll find in this goal-setting guide:
- Why Goal Setting is Fundamental for Personal Growth: The Benefits of Goal Setting
- A Comprehensive Approach to setting SMART Goals (for yourself or your clients)
- The Life Coach’s Role In Helping Clients Set & Achieve Goals
- How to Blend Scientific Principles and Goal Setting Into Your Coaching Sessions
- Next Steps: Achieving Your Life Coaching Business Goals This Year
The Essence of Life Coaching Goals
Life coaching is more than a profession. I believe life coaching is a sacred call to help others become the best versions of themselves and create lives they love.
One of the cornerstones of life coaching is setting and pursuing well-defined goals. But as a coach and difference-maker, it’s important to realize that these goals aren’t just items to check off a list.
The goals you help your clients set become beacons that guide them towards personal fulfillment, success, and happiness.
Their vision of a life they would love informs the goals you and your clients set. Those goals then help you craft an actionable plan from where your clients are to where they want to be.
The more clear, specific, and measurable these goals are, the more likely your clients are to get to their desired outcome. Think of it like using a GPS to reach a specific destination.
If you were using a GPS to get to a party, there’s a lot of information you could give about your destination… But only the right information will actually get you there. You might know the name of the people who own the house, the name of the city, who you’ll meet there, what you’ll do, and even what the house looks like…
But without a specific address that includes a house number and street name, your GPS is unlikely to help!
The Benefits of Goal Setting for Personal Growth
As a coach, you might think about goals and how they can help your clients, but you might not be aware of just how far reaching the benefits of goal-setting actually are.
The fact is, extensive research in psychology and neuroscience highlights what a powerful technique goal setting really is. Here are just a few proven benefits:
- More Motivation: Goal setting activates the brain’s reward centers, releasing dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and motivation. When we set a goal and then take steps toward it, we feel a sense of achievement that motivates us to continue.
- Improves Focus and Attention: Setting goals helps activate the prefrontal cortex, involved in attention and complex planning. This helps to maintain focus on the desired outcome and prevents distraction.
- Boosts Persistence: Goals provide a clear endpoint or benchmark to work toward. This clarity helps us persist in the face of challenges and setbacks.
- Encourages Brain Plasticity: Pursuing new goals and challenges encourages the brain to adapt and learn. Learning new skills or adapting to new situations encourages the formation of new neural pathways.
- Improves Decision Making: When you have clear goals, your brain is better equipped to make decisions that align with your long-term objectives. This is partly because goal setting helps prioritize actions and resources toward what is most important.
- Improves Stress Management: Achieving goals, especially those aligned with personal values, can reduce stress and increase life satisfaction. The sense of accomplishment brings about positive emotions and reduces the feelings of anxiety and overwhelm.
- Better Cognitive Function: Setting, planning, and achieving goals involves numerous cognitive functions, including planning, organization, and problem-solving. Regularly engaging in goal-oriented behavior can strengthen these cognitive processes over time.
- Promotes a Growth Mindset: Setting goals supports the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work. This mindset itself is conducive to further learning and brain development.
- Enhances Self-Control: Goals require self-regulation to resist short-term temptations and stay focused on long-term benefits. This process enhances the brain’s ability to regulate impulses and emotions, leading to better control over behaviors and thoughts.
- Increases Resilience: By setting and working toward goals, individuals often face and overcome obstacles and setbacks. This process builds resilience as the brain learns to cope with challenges and adapt to new situations.
Goals act as catalysts for motivation and perseverance, transforming our dreams into tangible realities!
Embracing SMART Goals in Coaching
SMART goals are a time-tested approach in the coaching industry. They are the foundation for creating strategies that are both ambitious and attainable. Here’s a breakdown of how to integrate SMART criteria into your coaching practice:
- Specific Goals: Encourage detailed and concise expression of what the client wishes to accomplish.
- Measurable Goals: Establish benchmarks to monitor progress and inspire continuous improvement within a specific time frame.
- Achievable Goals: Set goals within the realm of possibility to maintain motivation and prevent burnout.
- Relevant Goals: Ensure that each goal is aligned with the client’s vision and personal values.
- Time-Bound Goals: Assign a clear deadline to each goal to create a sense of urgency and focus.
A Comprehensive Approach to Setting SMART Goals
Here’s a more detailed roadmap to setting and achieving SMART goals. Use these steps for yourself, or guide your clients through them for more powerful goal-setting results.
1. Vision Exploration
Initiate the process by diving deep into the client’s life vision. What would they love in their life? What are their core values, and what legacy do they wish to leave?
Remember– people who create clear visions that both inspire and challenge them are more likely to achieve their goals. Challenge your clients to cast a vision outside their comfort zone. Instead of casting a vision based on what seems possible from where they’re standing now, encourage them to focus on what they would love!
2. Detailed Breakdown
Deconstruct this broad vision into smaller, more manageable goals. Each goal should act as a stepping stone towards the larger vision.
Smaller, specific goals are a great way to stay motivated on the path to accomplishing your dreams because they create wins along the way! These on-the-way wins are scaffolding images – the moments of success that help build and support the broader vision.
Like building a skyscraper, the scaffolding supports the progress to the final structure, one floor at a time.
3. Strategic Prioritization
Differentiate between immediate, short-term goals and more distant, long-term aspirations. Ensure each contributes substantially to the ultimate vision.
4. Action-Oriented Planning
Develop a robust, step-by-step plan with specific milestones. This plan should be flexible yet structured, allowing for progress tracking and adaptability.
You don’t have to know how your client’s vision will be possible to be a great coach. You don’t have to be able to see the entire path between where they are and where they want to go.
You only have to help your client find the next action to move towards their dreams.
Think of goal-achievement through a spiritual lens as working less like a magic wand and more like the electricity that powers your home.
Electricity gives you the amazing ability to power nearly anything you desire– computers, smart phones, lights, appliances…
Trying to use wishful thinking and positive thoughts alone to achieve a vision is like bringing a new lamp into your home. Once there, you set it in the of the room and imagine it giving off the light you need, but you never plug it in and turn it on.
See, before you brought the lamp home, you chose it, fully believing that it would fulfill your needs.
Since you know that the electricity in your home works, you’re able to visualize what it would look like to have l.
But, no matter how much belief you have in the lamp, and no matter how diligently you visualize it working, it will never actually give off light if you don’t take the action of plugging it in and turning it on!
As powerful as electricity is, it still requires our action to create the results we want from it.
Much in the same way, goals amplify thoughts and focus as an avenue toward taking action.
5. Ongoing Monitoring
Establish regular check-ins to assess progress, celebrate successes, and recalibrate strategies as necessary.
The Life Coach’s Role in Supporting Goal Achievement
As a life coach, you are a mentor, a guide, and a strategist. Your role is to provide the coaching tools, encouragement, and accountability needed for clients to pursue and achieve their goals.
Promoting Comprehensive Personal Development
- Enhancing Self-Discovery: Assist clients in uncovering their true potential by understanding their unique strengths, limitations, and intrinsic motivations.
- Cultivating Skills: Empower clients to seek the support they need and embrace opportunities to learn skills they need to bring their vision to life.
- Guiding Continuous Growth: Offer insights and strategies for continuous learning and growth, tailoring advice to each client’s aspirations.
Fostering a Nurturing Environment for Growth
- Sustained Motivation: Keep clients engaged and enthusiastic, using motivational techniques and positive reinforcement.
- Consistent Accountability: Provide a structured framework for clients to remain committed to their goals. Offer constructive feedback and help them make necessary adjustments along their journey.
- Flexibility: Recognize when goals need to be modified due to life changes or unforeseen challenges. Help clients to pivot and adapt without losing sight of their vision.
From a spiritual perspective, there’s an important part of goals that most people fail to realize: S.M.A.R.T. goals are for you, not the Universe.
This type of goal setting is rooted in research and designed to work with our brains to generate positive outcomes. Using these basic principles is a good way to ensure our clients are more likely to experience success.
But the Universe is not limited by or motivated by logic-bound measurements. In order to help clients achieve their vision, I encourage you to use motivating tools like setting S.M.A.R.T. goals…
…and to remember that they are supported by a limitless Universe that often defies the logic we think limits us.
For example, I believe that a time-bound goal is a powerful tool that can help you stay focused and motivated. Establishing a by-when for the things that need to be accomplished is great for accountability and commitment.
At the same time, what if you set a timeframe for accomplishing that goal and hold for something greater still?
Likewise, your current measurements of success might seem like they would be amazing accomplishments from where you’re standing. And you can know that there are no limits to the success you can experience, even as you make progress on your goals.
Your reality can change faster and in more ways than you ever thought possible.
You may set S.M.A.R.T. goals that make sense to you now and then be absolutely blown away by the speed at which the Universe responds to your deepest desires!
Blending Scientific Principles with Goal Setting in Your Coaching Sessions
Incorporating scientific principles into goal setting adds credibility to the coaching process and increases the impact of your methods. Here are a few ways to use modern research in your coaching process:
Understanding Neuroplasticity: Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. With the right practices, individuals can reshape their brains to become more efficient and effective in achieving their goals.
Coaching Strategies for Enhancing Neuroplasticity: Encourage clients to engage in activities that promote brain health. This includes continuous learning, problem-solving activities, and mindfulness practices. Regular mental and physical exercises can stimulate brain changes that facilitate new learning and adaptation.
Creating Positive Habits: Use the concept of neuroplasticity to help clients understand the importance of consistency. Regular repetition of a desired behavior can lead to lasting changes in the brain, making the new behavior more automatic and easier over time.
Applying Motivational Theories
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: This theory suggests that people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before other higher-level needs. Coaches can use this to understand at what level their client is operating and what needs are driving their behavior. For instance, if a client is struggling with basic security needs, they may find it difficult to pursue higher-level goals like personal growth or esteem.
Self-Determination Theory (SDT): SDT focuses on how much a person’s behavior is self-motivated and self-determined. According to SDT, there are three intrinsic needs important for personal development: autonomy, competence, and connection. As a coach, you can use this theory to structure sessions that enhance your client’s sense of autonomy (control over their life and choices), competence (mastery of skills), and connection (relationships with others). This can help you help them increase motivation and engagement.
Goal-Setting Theory: This theory suggests that clear, well-defined goals that are challenging yet attainable are more likely to lead to higher performance. In your coaching, help clients to set goals that are not only SMART but also deeply connected to their values and abilities, making them more invested in the outcome.
Expectancy Theory: Expectancy theory suggests that people are more likely to act in ways that align with their expected results. It involves three components: expectancy (belief that their effort will lead to desired outcome), instrumentality (belief that their performance will lead to a reward), and valence (how important the reward feels). Coaches can work with clients to clarify these beliefs and align their goals with what they value and believe they can achieve.
Practical Applications for Coaches
- Educational Workshops: Conduct workshops or sessions to educate clients about how their brain works and the science and spiritual principles behind habit formation, motivation, and goal achievement. This knowledge empowers clients and demystifies the process of change.
- Personalized Strategies: Tailor your coaching sessions and strategies to fit the unique needs of each client. Use assessments or tools to understand their motivational drivers and barriers.
- Continuous Feedback and Celebration: Provide regular feedback on progress and be ready to adapt strategies based on what is most effective for the client. Celebrating small wins can reinforce positive behaviors and boost motivation.
SMART Goals for Coaching Examples
To illustrate the power of SMART goals, here are several examples tailored for life coaching scenarios:
- Career Development Goal: “Within the next year, I will enhance my leadership capabilities by completing an advanced leadership training program and successfully spearheading a cross-departmental project, thereby positioning myself for a managerial role.”
- Personal Development Goal: “I commit to reading two books per month related to self-improvement or communication skills, and sharing insights during our bi-weekly coaching sessions.”
- Achieving Work-Life Balance: “Over the next three months, I will dedicate at least 30 minutes a day to mindfulness and relaxation techniques. I will reduce my overall stress levels and enhance my quality of life to benefit both my personal and professional development.”
Wrapping Up: Your Path to Achieving Life Coach Goals
Whether you are a coach or a client, embarking on a life coaching journey is a commitment to continuous growth, learning, and self-improvement.
Each small step is part of a larger journey toward success and fulfillment…
And to help you take even bigger steps toward your impact and income goals as a life coach this year, I’ve created the Ultimate Coaching Success Kit just for you!
>>> Click here to grab your digital coaching resources, including 100 life coaching questions, 50 transformational coaching exercises to use with your clients, and more!
Here’s to your success in life coaching and the many achievements that await on your path to greatness!