NEWSFLASH – Goal Setting Doesn’t Work!

Now before you think you already know everything there is to know about goal setting, just stop and ask yourself: "Why do my coachees sometimes set goals and fail to reach them?"

If you ask coaching in schools expert Annie Boate, she’ll tell you it’s because traditional goal-setting simply DOESN’T WORK.

The good news is that can show you a far better way that virtually guarantees that your coachees will hit every single target they set from today. What’s more, you’ll see fast results and have far more productive coaching meetings. Your coachees will achieve a “quick win” and enjoy the feeling of “success” – so they’ll want more – and are likely to take extra action on their own!

The Top 5 Reasons that Goal-Setting doesn’t work:


    1. YOU SET THE GOAL FOR THEM – The critical thing to remember is that has to be THEIR goal (not imposed!) so that your coachee has ownership and feels internally motivated to achieve it.


    1. IT’S THE WRONG SIZE - Too often, people fail because the goal’s the wrong size – too big or too small. Help your coachee to chunk down a big goal into a specific mini-goal for the next week, and it will seem much easier and feel less daunting or overwhelming for them


    1. IT’S NEGATIVE - It’s far more powerful to “improve achievement” than to “stop underachievement” or to have “1 out of 5 pieces of coursework complete” rather than “4 out of 5 pieces of coursework incomplete”


  1. IT’S NOT SMART!– When your coachee is setting a goal, check:
    • Is it Specific? (Does it describe PRECISELY the result they want?)
    • Is it Measurable? (Can you measure their progress along the way?)
    • Is it Achievable? (Given their current situation, will it 'stretch' them and be within their reach?)
    • Is it Realistic? (Are they committed, willing and able to do it within the timescale?)
    • Is it Time-related? (Has it got a clear deadline?)

    If the answer is "NO" to any of these questions, go back and rewrite the goal!

  2. IT’S NOT CONSISTENT WITH THEIR VALUES – One of the biggest problems with goal setting is that if your coachees values are not aligned with their goals, they’ll struggle, lack motivation and fail every time.

Quick Tips


  1. Ask “What point can you realistically get to in the next week with this?”
  2. Don’t overwhelm them! – Allow a maximum of 5 action steps
  3. Encourage coachees to visualise what they will see, hear and feel when they’ve achieved their goal
  4. Get coachees to set up a “support team” and enlist help if they need it
  5. Always plan “check in” points to follow up and hold them accountable!

For more information, tips or advice, follow @schoolcoachguru or contact


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