“Soft” goals are the first and worst mistake of goal setting. “Soft” is often used as opposed to hard, cold, measurable facts. Often a coaching client may feel that what he is setting to achieve can not be expressed in numbers. It can not be tied up to specific bounding time-frames. It can not be defined in a clear understood-by-all terms. Therefore, he may try and define a “soft” goal.
The problem is that there really isn’t such a thing as a soft-goal. What people call a soft-goal is usually an excuse to them not knowing what their results really are, or not knowing how to quantify the results, or not willing to really commit to get those results. And if you don’t really know what you set out to achieve, chances are that you will not achieve it. This is why “Soft” goals are next to useless!
If your client defined a “Soft” goal, he indicated a wish for this result, but he didn’t really set a goal. In all probability, your client is not deliberately trying to avoid accountability. He probably doesn’t know how to do it correctly. Surprisingly, executive coaching clients are often just as bad at setting goals as any other coaching clients. The good part is that they can be taught how to do it, and so improve their results.
When your client comes up with a goal, spend some time with her on refining her goal to fit the following:
· The goal should be defined as an output, a result, and not as a process or an action.
· The goal should be measurable. Try not to give way on this, but if there is no way to do it, at least assure that the goal may be assessed in a consistent manner, and that the rules for making this assessment are defined clearly.
· The goal should be time bound. You client needs to commit to a specific date.
If the result your client came with can not be measured, try to identify an alternative result that is directly linked to the first, and will give the same indication in a measurable way. Look for measurable characteristics or attributes of the original results. Those are often good candidates to replace it.
If you wish to know more about setting effective goals for your executive coaching clients, download my free e-book on “How to Set Effective Goals – coaching your client to success” at http://www.ecoachingsuccess.com/effgoalsquz.html