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Who defines the goals?

In a recent blog, noted Coach Marshall Goldsmith describes goal setting as a key to self development. And he goes on to tell us why such goal setting often does not work due to a variety of reasons. (Read the blog here). He goes on to say that the first step to any coaching process to define goals and create a framework whereby one can measure progress.

But, this is where the coach has to be very careful that he does not set goals. Let’s see how we may sometimes lay ourselves open to this criticism. As is obvious, goals could be either personal or collective, though there is always likely to be more than just a bit of the former when chasing targets that are more universal.

For example, a team sport always has a collective goal of winning an important tournament. They can only achieve this result by winning a series of matches in a pre-defined sequence. This requires repeated strategy changes based on whom they are playing, the venue and a host of such factors.

Source: (C) Tony Frampton

What is interesting is that while short-term goals of the team may change with each match leading up to the final clash, there may be little that changes by way of personal goals that each of the players set for themselves. By way of strategy, the coach may redefine a player’s short-term goals, but in terms of behavior, the targets remain largely unchanged.

Take the case of a cricket match. A batsman who goes after the bowling cannot and should not be set the goal of playing fifty overs. Similarly, one who plays with a straight bat cannot be set targets of scoring twenty runs in a over in a manner that is contrary to his style. Both these are recipes for disaster as one can see from the likes of Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid.

It is in such instances that the role of a coach assumes importance. A client who tries to set lofty goals based on what could be a case of guilt-ridden need for change stands a sure chance of not following-through enough to achieve those targets. Worse still, the person may just end up losing that ‘spark’ which made him good while chasing his dream of becoming the best.

A bit of an own goal that?

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