Tim O'Rahilly Life Coaching

Posts Tagged ‘Goal Setting’

Goal Setting

Or – Tell me what you want, what you really really want.1424555_604448232945474_114601826_n

How are you doing with those New Years resolutions? This weekend marks the time of the month where statistically speaking, most people start to fail on those resolutions made just ten days ago. Resolutions are soft fluffy things that just don’t survive in the real world. We need something stronger and more resilient, something in which we can engage with and have an emotional investment in. We need solid goals.

We live in a rapidly changing world which can generate a feeling of helplessness when we are not in control of our own path through the craziness! As a life coach it is my job to be your guide on that journey and the first thing we must establish are the goals, so that your journey has a destination.

To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you are going, so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction.

-Steven Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Without Goals we cannot be in control of our own destiny and we will tend to drift from crisis to crisis on waves of uninspired intuition. Once we set some goals we have purpose, drive and we can make good choices. We can start to develop our own path towards happiness and fulfilment. These goals must not be vague or woolly. So often when we ask anyone what they want the first response we get is a list of what they DON’T want! We need to delve deeper and ask searching questions to get to ‘what you really really want!’ It is essential that your goals are challenging, achievable and measurable.

Are you in earnest, seek this very minute. Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Just begin and the mind grows heated. Continue and the task will be completed.

-Goethe, Faust.

Our goals must be SMART:

SPECIFIC – This can be the most challenging part of the process, requiring deep questioning to arrive at one clear phrase or sentence which is personal and  positive so that it fires the imagination.

MEASURABLE – It makes sense that any meaningful goal must have some measurable objective, such as weight loss achieved, book written or salary earned. Some goals may not have such a clearly defined end point, but it may help to set the goal in the present tense so that you can say that the goal is achieved “When I am …” One example for a confidence goal might be “When I am speaking to people in a much more confident and relaxed way”

AGREED – Goals should be written down. They must be congruent with your personal values and beliefs and they must be morally and legally acceptable. There should be an understanding of why your goals are important to you. Of course, just setting goals will improve nothing unless there is a commitment to action. Part of the process must be a set of actions that you need to take in order to achieve your goals.

REALISTIC – There is nothing to be gained by setting goals which are not achievable. If you are a heavy smoker, very overweight and not used to physical training, would it be realistic to set a goal to compete this years Olympic Games in Rio?

TIMED – All goals should have a start date date and a finish date in order to focus the mind and fire the imagination. It may also be useful to set specific  ‘step goals’ along the way in order to measure progress towards the end goal and fulfilment.

 I dream my painting and then I paint my dream – Vincent van Gogh

Going through life without goals is like trying to sail a boat without a rudder. You will be at the mercy of outside forces controlling your destiny for you.  How often have you heard the phrase ‘Fail to plan and you plan to fail’ ? Take all the time you need to set meaningful goals which have emotional power for you, then take action to achieve your dreams.

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What Is Coaching: The Wheel of Life

Since I first started this blog series, I’ve been asked many questions about the coaching process. One recurring theme in those questions has been ‘How do I choose my goals?’ or ‘How do I know which areas I need to work on in our coaching sessions?’ To answer these concerns, I’m going to look at a tool which I like to use with new clients early in the coaching conversation.

It’s called the ‘Wheel of Life’, and is a simple but effective tool which can quickly determine the level of balance (or lack thereof) in your life. This will also expose those areas which are less balanced, and which can be focussed on during coaching.

The Wheel of Life is probably the most widely used of all coaching tools. It has been adapted into many forms. The version I will use here is a generic wheel which you can use at home to achieve quick and useful results.

We will take 8 aspects of your life to measure on the wheel. In no particular order, they are:

  1. Career (e.g. work, business, school/university)
  2. Money (personal finances)
  3. Health/Fitness
  4. Friends and Family
  5. Relationships/significant other (partner, spouse or single status)
  6. Personal Growth (education, development, ambition)
  7. Fun and Recreation (leisure, hobbies, vacations)
  8. Physical Environment (home, office/workspace, desk)

These can be changed to suit the individual or circumstances. Occasionally clients like to add or even replace some headings, for example with ‘Creativity’ or ‘Spirituality’.

Draw your wheel as shown here, or e-mail me for a blank copy. Whatever version you prefer to use, it should have 8 ‘spokes’ and 8 segments. The spokes need to be numbered from 0-10, with 0 at the centre and 10 at the outer circle, so that the whole diagram forms a series of concentric circles. Now fill in the labels for each segment around the outside, and you’ll be ready to begin!

This wheel is a measure of your level of satisfaction with each of these areas. Grade your yourself in each area according to how satisfied with them you are right now. be honest with yourself and you will end up with a good snapshot of your own life balance as it is now.

Look at the wheel you have drawn and ask yourself a few simple questions. How round is your wheel? How large is it? How bumpy a ride will your wheel give you? Is a large or a small wheel more stable? Which will be knocked off course most easily?

The really important part of this exercise is what you now do with your wheel. You should look at those areas where you wish to improve your level of satisfaction. Begin to think what you might do about it and set some action Goals.