“If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.”—Lewis Carroll
Each of us becomes confused from time to time. The availability to the GPS system has certainly made finding our destination easier, but you have to select and input the correct address to get the right directions. Defining a clear, specific, and correct goal is mandatory in coaching as well.
In Co-Active Coaching, the authors write, "Without a specific goal, there can be endless drifting, a floating on the winds of this good idea and then that one. Goal setting gives clients a specific direction and an action plan for making something real. Naturally, the goals may shift over time as clients make progress, but movement in the first place starts with setting their sights on a goal or outcome."(p. 91)
Long-term goals are life-changing. They bring changes in vocation, lifestyle, or ministry that represents a significant journey in one’s life. Intermediate or short-term goals are the individual steps of that journey.
There are many intermediate goals that have to be achieved in order for a person to achieve their personal vision of what they want to be or become. A person may generate a number of worthy goals that will get them to where they want to be, but a person can really only focus on one at a time and do it well.
We base this decision about intermediate goals on a number of considerations.
First, is this the most important goal for me to address at this point? Given where I am right now in life and both the challenges and the opportunities before me, is this the one thing that will make the most difference?
Second, does this plan of action have the most promise for success? If I am working with a coaching client who has had only limited success in achieving her or his goals, I might agree that an easily attainable goal is worth pursuing. Sometimes a person needs to reach the “low hanging fruit” to build their self-concept and motivation. More often, I challenge the client to set stretch goals that will move the person out of their comfort zone.
Third, is this an appropriate step toward my long-term goal for myself? If a person has a clear vision for their “ideal self” or preferred future, will this short-term goal be a first step in the direction of what they want to be or is it a detour?