What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. – Zig Ziglar
This article is part of a series of five articles that walk you through various questioning methods and models typically used for life coaching purposes. However, these questions can also be used for self-coaching purposes to help you gather more insights about your life, problems, and circumstances.
Here is a list of all articles included in this series:
- The GROW Model
- The Life Coaching Wheel
- The Life Coaching Funnel
- The Problem Solving Model
- The Decision Making Model
The Life Coaching Process for Setting Goals
For the majority of the population, goal setting is nothing more than the process of simply writing down what you want to achieve, then taking the necessary steps towards those desired outcomes. This seems simple enough. So why don’t most people achieve their desired outcomes? The problem is that they don’t follow the GROW Model of goal setting, which effectively outlines a progressive step-by-step plan of action that explores your current reality, breaks down potential obstacles and paves the way forward towards your desired outcomes.
Many life coaches use a personally modified version of the GROW Model throughout their life coaching work with clients. It is, in essence, one of the most fundamentally sound and effective ways of setting goals for work and life.
The purpose of this IQ Matrix is to provide you with a simple reference tool that will enable you to set effective goals following the GROW Model process using the methods applied by professional life coaches the world over.
The Purpose of the GROW Model
Within this section, we will overview the GROW Model, its purpose, benefits and the outcomes that can be achieved when you use this progressive goal setting process.
What is the GROW Model?
The GROW Model is an effective technique for goal setting that will enable you to establish a concrete plan of action for the achievement of your desired objectives.
The GROW Model can also be used as an effective method of problem-solving.
GROW Model Encourages…
Following the GROW Model process outlined within this blog post will help encourage you to make effective changes to your current life reality, which will move you towards your desired goals and objectives with greater clarity of thought, certainty, knowledge and confidence in yourself and your own abilities.
GROW Model Helps to Overcome…
The GROW Model process has wide applications that will help you to overcome fear, uncertainty, procrastination, and hesitancy by progressively aligning your goals with your current life reality, and outlining a definite plan of action that will help you overcome major obstacles and potential setbacks that you may confront along your journey.
“G” Phase 1: Establish Your Goal
Purpose of Phase 1
The purpose of phase 1 of the GROW Model is to define the end goal that you would like to achieve clearly and precisely.
The following steps outlined below present you with a process you can follow while establishing a goal.
Ask yourself what outcome you would like to achieve, and phrase this in a sentence on a piece of paper.
Think of Your Goal
Close your eyes and think of the goal you wrote down on the piece of paper — imagining the experience of this outcome clearly in your minds-eye.
Vividly Imagine Your Goal
Delve deeper into your imagination and imagine what you are seeing, saying to yourself, doing, and what others are doing as you are achieving this goal. Additionally, imagine the vivid feelings you are experiencing as you see this goal materialize in front of your eyes.
Get Certain About Your Goal
Take out the piece of paper once again and define the following variables:
- A specific time-frame of when your goal will be achieved.
- A specific measurement that will enable you to identify when you are achieving this goal.
- A hypothetical list of challenges you might confront as you make progress towards the achievement of this goal. Ask yourself:
How challenging will it realistically be?
- If the goal seems a little too challenging, then your next step will be to divide it into smaller parts or chunks and start the GROW Model process once again by focusing on only one smaller chunk of the bigger objective you had in mind.
- Finally, identify the level of control you have over the achievement of this outcome. The more control you effectively have, the greater your chances of reaching this goal within the time-frame you outlined above.
Do I have control over this goal?
“R” Phase 2: Explore Your Reality
Purpose of Phase 2
The purpose of phase 2 of the GROW Model comes down to several objectives:
- To identify the GAP between your current reality and the goal you have set yourself to achieve.
- To challenge limiting beliefs.
- To create personal accountability for actions.
- To identify potential resources that could be used to achieve the goal.
- To identify personal behaviors, capabilities, achievements, and circumstances that are critical towards understanding your current reality and the resources you will have available to you as you move forward towards your objectives.
The following steps outlined below present you with a process you can follow while exploring your current reality.
Identify Current Circumstances
Identify what is currently happening in your life by pinpointing the events, people, and conditions that preoccupy your time, energy and attention throughout the day.
Identify What’s Good About Life
Now make a list of everything that is currently good about your life and that you would like to keep or even improve upon.
Consider if achieving this goal will enable you to keep the “good” things in your life. Or potentially consider the possibility that achieving your goal could, in fact, push the “good” things in your life away from you.
Identify What is Missing in Life
Make a list of all the things that you are missing in your life that you would like to have. Consider if achieving this goal will enable you to obtain these missing pieces.
Identify Outcomes Obtained
Make a list of all the relevant outcomes and objectives you have obtained in the past that are related to your current goal. Consider how these achievements could potentially assist you in achieving your current objective.
Identify Past Failures
Identify the past failures that prevented you from achieving your desired objectives. Additionally, consider conflicts or weaknesses within your psychological patterns — identifying how they could have influenced the outcomes you experienced.
Identify Resources Available
Identify the resources you have on-hand that could potentially help you achieve your goal far more effectively. These could include knowledge, skills, tools, books, information, people you know, etc. The more comprehensive the list, the more confidence you will have that your goal is achievable.
Additionally, you might want to list how each of the resources you have access to could potentially assist you in achieving your objective.
Acknowledge Your Obstacles
Considering all that you now know about your current reality, now it is time to acknowledge the potential obstacles along your path by asking yourself the following questions:
What obstacles are preventing me from moving forward?
How could these obstacles limit my actions?
Considering all that you now know about your current reality, now it is time to acknowledge the relevance of the goal you set yourself in phase 1 of the GROW Model.
To identify the relevance, ask yourself the following questions:
Knowing what I now know about my current reality, is my goal still relevant and achievable?
Should I focus on only one part of my goal instead?
Should anything change?
If your current life reality is in any way not aligned with the goal you have set yourself, then you must immediately make all necessary adjustments to your circumstances, otherwise, you will be confronted with an endless array of psychological and physical challenges that will prevent you from attaining your desired objectives.
It’s important not to make the mistake of assuming that the challenges and problems you will likely confront along your journey towards your goal are the same as the self-imposed obstacles you have set yourself by not making the necessary changes to your current life reality.
These self-imposed obstacles can be overcome by simply changing your priorities, by letting go of people or circumstances, or by simply creating room in your life to achieve this goal in the first place.
In the end, it’s not so much what we aim for that makes a difference, but rather what we LET GO OF in the present moment that will determine how our life transitions from our present circumstances to our future reality.
“O” Phase 3: Consider Your Options
Purpose of Phase 3
The purpose of phase 3 of the GROW Model is to consider your options in the face of adversity.
Here you must think creatively about the possible challenges, problems, and setbacks that you may face as you move towards your goal. Your creative output during this phase will determine how quickly you are able to achieve your objective once phase 4 has been completed.
The following steps outlined below present you with a process you can follow while considering your options.
Consider Three Critical Factors
Consider the 1st step you will take towards your goal, other people’s feedback, and the benefits of taking this action. To do this ask yourself the following questions:
What could I do that could move me one single step towards my goal?
What is the benefit of taking this 1st step?
What might others suggest that I do instead?
Why would others suggest that I do these things?
Acknowledge “WHAT IF” Scenarios
Stretch your imagination and consider “What If?” scenarios that will enable you to think creatively about the goal that you would like to achieve. Consider the following questions:
What if I had unlimited money? What would I do?
What if I had unlimited time? What would I do?
What would I do if I wasn’t answerable to anyone?
What would I do if there were no consequences?
Select Best Option
Considering everything you have identified and acknowledged, now it’s time to select the best option that will move you forward towards the attainment of your goal.
What is one option that will move me forward?
If I do this, will it actually move me towards the attainment of my goal?
“W” Phase 4: Pave the Way Forward
Purpose of Phase 4
The purpose of phase 4 of the GROW Model is to pave the way forward towards the achievement of your goal. Here you are required to draw up a plan of action and develop a realistic time-frame that will enable you to achieve your goal with purpose.
The following steps outlined below present you with a process you can follow while paving the way forward towards your goal.
Identify Specific Actions
Identify the specific action or actions you will take that will begin moving you towards your goal. Ask yourself:
What will I do specifically?
Now that you are clear about what you will do to achieve your goal, you must now consider potential obstacles that may arise as you take these actions. Ask yourself:
Can anything stop me from taking this 1st step?
What will I do to overcome these obstacles?
Having identified the obstacles along your path and clarified how you will tackle them, it is now time to set definite time-frames for the achievement of your goal. Ask yourself:
When will I get this done?
When will I start?
Your new time-frames may now challenge your current reality and the priorities you have established in your life. As a result, you must now consider adjusting these priorities in order to achieve the goal within the time-frame you outline above. Ask yourself:
How must I adjust my priorities in a way that will enable me to achieve my goal within the time-frame I specified?
Identify Level of Motivation
Now that you are ready to take action, it’s probably a good idea to check your level of motivation.
Your levels of motivation to achieve this goal will reflect your state-of-mind and could potentially awaken psychological blocks that may prevent you from moving forward.
Rank yourself from 1 to 10 (10 being the highest) and ask the following questions:
What is my level of enthusiasm towards taking this 1st step and achieving this goal?
What is my level of commitment towards taking this 1st step and achieving this goal?
Additionally, you might want to acknowledge the influence of other people who may be available to help you achieve your outcome. Ask yourself:
Should anyone else be involved or know about this goal?
What will I tell them specifically?
What will they need to do specifically?
Acknowledge the Unknown
Finally, before taking the 1st step towards the achievement of your goal, consider the unknown by asking:
Is there anything else I should consider that could help me, or may prevent me from achieving my goal?
Knowing how to set effective goals in this day-and-age is an important skill that cannot be taken for granted.
Many times we rush into the process of goal setting without really considering key variables that could potentially influence the outcome of our objectives. Without clarification, we fail to see the bigger picture, and as a result, we become ignorant of the wider consequences that our new goals or objectives will have on our current life reality. And as a result, we falter, because our goals are very much like seeds in the ground. When given enough nutrients, sunshine, and room to grow, they will flourish and sprout into magnificent things. However, if our current life reality suffocates them with old roots from the past, then our “goal-seedlings” will simply fail to flourish no matter how badly we may want them to.
Time to Assimilate these Concepts
Did you gain value from this article? Is it important that you know and understand this topic? Would you like to optimize how you think about this topic? Would you like a method for applying these ideas to your life?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then I’m confident you will gain tremendous value from using the accompanying IQ Matrix for coaching or self-coaching purposes. This mind map provides you with a quick visual overview of the article you just read. The branches, interlinking ideas, and images model how the brain thinks and processes information. It’s kind of like implanting a thought into your brain – an upgrade of sorts that optimizes how you think about these concepts and ideas. 🙂
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Gain More Knowledge…
Here are some additional links and resources that will help you learn more about this topic:
- 5 Signs it’s Time to Review the GROW Model in Coaching @ LinkedIn
- 70 Awesome Coaching Questions for Managers Using the GROW Model @ About Money
- Coaching Using the GROW Model @ LinkedIn
- An Introduction to the GROW Model @ Wikipedia
- The GROW Model: A Simple Process for Coaching and Mentoring @ Mind Tools
- The GROW Model Process @ Changing Minds