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Four Goal Setting Questions; Answers Lead to Coaching Success

Successful life coaches are excellent at asking questions. This post answers four questions about goals, goal setting, and obstacles in setting goals.


1. What is the importance of goal setting in Life Coaching?

Gary Collins says, “Planning can be useful, especially if others are involved” (Collins, 2009, p. 203). Goal setting fuels action, inspires, and is like shooting with a bow and arrow. Goal setting gives you a target to shoot at, something to aim at, and hit. From goals, create action steps. Consistently take action steps over time and to create results. God is in control; however, goal setting gives direction to dreams, visions, and missions (p. 208).

Having goals establishes a plan. Having a plan is smart; not having a plan, not smart. Limited are human plans; however, useful to get you moving (p. 203). Goals give you the target. Without goals, you can want to grow in your faith, have a dynamic marriage, and create financial success; but without goals, people miss the target.


2. How does a life coach work with a person to implement a plan to achieve goals?


            There are four overlapping steps to successful coaching: Start with becoming aware of the present and the client, focus on the vision for the future, plan, set and reach the goals and deal with obstacles in the way (p. 165). Collins inserts a seven-step goal-setting plan on page 207:

One: Clarify and agree on the desired outcome.

Two: Put goals on paper. It is fine to revise goals.

Garfield via Rapha-chan.

Three: Start with the desired outcomes; work backwards, mutually brainstorming interim goals.

Four: Agree about which of these alternative interim goals you will pursue. Recast each of these as SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and deadlines.

Five: Arrange the agreed-upon goals in order of priority starting from the first and most realistic.

Six: Write down indicators that show when each goal is hit. Do this with at least immediate goals. The others come, as you get closer to the end goal.

Seven: Put this list on paper

Goals need to be planned out, on paper, on purpose and before the day, week or time begins.


3. What are some obstacles that the life coach and the client could run into when setting goals?

One difference between successful coaching and failure is the ability to make goals, start, and stick with the plan over time. Adjustments of goals and the plan are important. Pray for wisdom, discernment, and the Holy Spirit to guide (p. 208). Goals not big, hairy; nor audacious (BHAG’s) can lead to failure (p. 209). Coaches who blame, scold, or judge can slow down or stop progress (p. 211). Examples of external barriers to success include distracting life events, no accountability and energy drainers (p. 222). Internal barriers to success include fear, boredom, and no place for God (p. 227).


4. What are some ways to overcome these obstacles?


            When driving up the mountain of life, massive boulders can block the path. When it happens, slow down, stop if needed, and find a way past the obstacle (p. 230). It is important to recognize obstacles exist. Ask a series of questions to overcome obstacles. Think ahead and ask when are barriers likely to appear? What has worked in the past when a similar situation arose? What things are not going to change (p. 230)? Coaches who are confident, encouraging and allow God to lead can overcome obstacles.


Collins, G. R. (2009) Christian coaching (2nd ed.). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress


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