SMART Goals Not Smart
SMART goals. . . humbug!!
Most coaches – me included – were taught that SMART goals are simply the best way for us to get our people to the next level. In case you don’t remember this handy tid from your training, SMART stands for:
Sounds good on the face of it, right? But how many times have you tried this tactic with your clients only to find that they (and you) fail at it? By the end of the time period you have prescribed, the client has lost interest, changed their goal or not made any progress. Realistically, it makes it nearly impossible for you to succeed.
Worse yet is if you have tried to implement this process in your own coaching business. You may want to find more clients, develop new products, roll out a new program and have tried to do so using the SMART setup. I’m betting you weren’t super successful at it.
There is a better way to set goals for your clients and yourself that will give you increased results as well as take the pressure off.
Focus on the process.
A story from my own life. . . About five years ago I decided that I needed to add regular exercise to my life. I was having some nagging health problems and knew that exercise would take care of them. I was totally out of shape. Totally. (You know, like sucking wind out of shape!) I carefully set my goal. It was very simple.
First my commitment was to show up three times a week. Then I decided that five times a week would be better, so I did that. Five years later, I still go to the gym five times a week.
That is what process based goals do. They focus on what we CAN control (the showing up at the gym in my case) and not so much on the outcome. For many clients, that is exactly what they need. My business focuses on helping coaches and entrepreneurs evaluate their niche, find their ideal client and market their business. Developing these areas takes practice and reevaluation over time. So the goal I have for my client is to stay in it.
Process based goals have three main characteristics:
- They focus on the “showing up,” and not necessarily the outcome.
- They require mindfulness in time management.
- They increase confidence over time through repeated continual improvements.
Process based goals have the benefit of not only helping your clients to move forward with their business with a reduced amount of stress, but they also build confidence as you (as the coach) circle back and help your client to see that they have “showed up.”
This type of goal setting is particularly effective with entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, novelists and those trying to meet fitness goals. The pressure is off of the performance, while there is a mental and emotional reward for being present in the action.
Try ditching those SMART goals for process based goals that will build commitment and confidence over time.
Photo credit: forastateofhappiness.com