Goal Setting Like A Professional

I’m not going to waste your time…let’s get straight to it…as a coach goal setting is an integral part of what we do, assisting people in identifying where they are and helping them build a unique plan that enables them where they want to go – in life.

One of the most popular goal setting models we use in coaching is SMART CAR. It brings a clear structure into goal setting.

  • Specific – as many details about the goal as possible.
  • Measurable – how many elements are measurable?
  • Action Based – actions required to achieve goal.
  • Realistic – is this plan possible to implement?
  • Time Bound – choose deadline, client to contract with themselves.
  • CAR – commitment, accountability, reward.
    • What are you willing to commit to?
    • Who is going to hold you accountable?
    • What audacious reward will you give yourself when you achieve your goal?

A very useful tool when locking in the detail.  So there you go! You now have a tool to set some goals.  And well that’s the point – anyone can set goals. This tool is only used at the end of the coaching process and when the goal is definable.  If it was this easy we would all be achieving our goals like ninjas.

So why do some people make goals and stick to them and others don’t?  Why do some give up halfway or self-sabotage when their goal is in sight?  Because for so many of us there are unforeseen elements at work thwarting our efforts. The best will in the world won’t help if you are unaware of your self-limiting beliefs. Fixed mindset, bad habits, lack of boundaries, people pleasing, negative emotion or self-talk, lack of understanding one’s values, culture and your subconscious are just some of the elements that can prevent you from achieving your potential.  Jeez – it seems a lot, but all of us have a mix of these within our makeup which can result in not being able to reach our life purpose or potential. In upcoming posts I will help to explain and demystify these in more detail. Rest assured regardless of what is holding you back, one to one coaching can help you to unlock the barriers and realise your dreams.

Sometimes at the beginning of the coaching process it’s hard for a client to reach for what they truly want.  Sometimes it’s not something they can verbalise or even allow themselves to dream.  Often at the start of the process the client will ask for something smaller not realising what they are capable of. This is where the art of coaching comes in, through dialogue armed with the coaching process (co-active coaching, skills, tools, competencies) the coaching goal often changes to something more meaningful, see http://bright-lights-coaching.com/2020/06/28/why-coaching/ for reasons why people choosing coaching.  A coaching session might start with goals like making a big decision or choosing a different career but ultimately it may become about being fulfilled…clients soon realise change is possible.

If you think about it – setting goals is done in the head and often are unattainable unless they are done with a combination of head and heart. Understanding where you are stuck or what needs to change is a reflective process, best done with a professional guide. When we coach, we coach the whole person.

Some help in getting started when choosing a goal ask yourself…

  • What are your deepest beliefs in this area of your life? Are these yours or someone else’s. Are they outdated?
  • What do you truly want and why do you want it?
  • What are you willing to do to get it?

Or choose a life coach who will aid you in unlocking the blocks. Commit to yourself and realise your potential.

Tracy O’Keeffe
not a writer, just passionate about coaching


Accredited Executive & Life Coach
Accredited by the World Association Of Coaching with Neuroscience
QQI Award Professional Coaching Practice &

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