Saturday, July 25, 2015

SMART Goals and CLEAR Goals

This summer I am facilitating an online “Coaching Practicum” class of very sharp, involved students.  We are doing much of the class in a participative, seminar-type approach with the students taking responsibility for certain topics.  They bring new and refreshing insights to the course and expand my knowledge in the process. 

One student was assigned to present on SMART Goals last week.  SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.  We used this approach in Disciple Development Coaching© and the student had been using such goals since her college days including a time in a professional training setting.  In her research, however, she came up with an alternative called CLEAR Goals.  CLEAR stands for the following:
  •  Collaborative—Does the goal encourage the person to work with others in order to accomplish the goal?
  • Limited—Is the goal clearly limited in both scope and time?
  • Emotional—Does the goal tap into the individuals’ energy and passion?  Is there emotional engagement?
  • Appreciable—Can the goal be broken down into smaller goals that can be achieved more quickly and easily, providing an early sense of accomplishment?
  • Refinable—Is there freedom to revisit the goal as circumstances change or new information surfaces so that the goal remains relevant?
This approach is very attractive for me because it incorporates some key behavioral insights that make coaching effective.  First, we work more effectively to achieve goals in a community of accountability.  Second, we must formulate goals that stretch us but are achievable with the resources at our disposal.  Third, we will work to achieve those things about which we are passionate—the things that give us energy.  Fourth, early success—grasping “low hanging fruit”—motivates us for the long haul of change.  Fifth, we must be agile in order to address the rapidly changing environment in which we find ourselves.

Good coaching involves clarity of purpose and direction but also appropriate incentives and motivation.  The CLEAR Goal idea is a great tool to incorporate all of these into a culture of growth and achievement.

If you are interesting in learning more, Peter Economy and Tori Reid have online articles fleshing out this concept.  Thanks to Kristin Wooldridge for sharing this idea with the “Coaching Practicum” class.

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