The following is an article I had written on “motivation, SMART goals, and vision”.
Motivation, SMART Goals, and Vision
“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world!” – Joel Barker
Many people face challenges each day dealing with the consequences of behaviors that are counterproductive to having a happy and healthy life. Behaviors become habits that interfere with living the life they would like to live, in health, companionship, and prosperity may have become. What stands between them and the life they would like to live? Common barriers are the lack of having clear vision; the establishment of SMART goals; and motivation to move forward in the process of achieving goals. Through effective coaching, these common barriers become the solution!
What is your vision?
Good plans include a vision for what the desired result of the plan will be. Whether the client is a corporation developing their mission and goals, or an individual seeking to make changes in lifestyle to benefit health and well-being, a vision is developed for how effort in achieving goals will pay off in the future. One of first jobs of the coach is to help clients create a concise and compelling vision of what they desire of their future self (Moore & Tschannen-Moran, 2010). Vision provides the foundation on which to build plans and fuels the energy needed to move forward in implementing plans. Creating a compelling vision opens the door for clients to self-efficiency and self-esteem (Moore & Tschannen-Moran, 2010).
A vision clearly defines what the client wants. The vision that the client develops provides a discrepancy between the ideal situation they truly want and the current situation, and so provides motivation for proactive action (Parker, Bindl, & Strauss, 2010). It is essential to include key components that make up an effective vision. Concise, clear visions that are also future-oriented, stable yet challenging, abstract, and inspiring are apt to result in better performance (Kantabutra & Avery, 2010). Once a personalized description of the vision is established that excites the client, coaching can begin with discovering the essential components of the vision that are meaningful to the client (Moore & Tschannen-Moran, 2010).
With an established vision, motivation is generated from its importance and meaning to the client. This motivation, generated from within helps to propel the client into action. The client’s motivation becomes a driving source of energy to fuel work that takes place, guided by a plan, in achieving goals.
“Motivation is when your dreams put on work clothes.” – Benjamin Franklin
What motivates you?
Motivation is important for taking the next step in setting goals. Coaching helps clients to identify with reasons that will provide strong motivators to work toward goals (Moore & Tschannen-Moran, 2010). Motivation should be personal in nature to help propel the client into action in achieving goals with a plan in place. Research reveals that autonomous motivation influences the progress of goals with the implementation of planning (Koestner, Otis, Powers, Pelletier, & Gagnon, 2008). In addition motivation only works with a plan that includes behavioral goals (Moore & Tschannen-Moran, 2010).
What is a goal?
People understand what goals are in different ways, either as outcomes or behaviors. Some people see goals as ultimate objects in terms of values or emotions, such as more peace and relaxation, or less stress and anxiety (Jinks & Dexter, 2012). These types of goals are outcomes. Other outcome goals include controlling cholesterol levels or losing weight. Outcome goals are valuable in creating vision statements (Moore & Tschannen-Moran, 2010). Behavior goals describe how the client will achieve an outcome, such as the goal of exercising to lose weight or eating healthy to control cholesterol. Developing behavior goals are essential to helping clients change behaviors (Moore & Tschannen-Moran, 2010).
“Goals are dreams we convert to plans and take action to fulfill.” – Zig Ziglar
But are your Goals SMART?
Effective behavioral goals are SMART goals. SMART goals fit the criteria of being specific, measurable, action-based, realistic, and time-lined (Moore & Tschannen-Moran, 2010). The following chart describes each of these criteria.
Coaching with SMART Goals
Specific: The first step is helping the client make specific behavior goals. This is practical and helps distinguishing effort from results. Having specific goals to work with helps improve the effort and helps avoid wasting valuable time (MacLeod, 2012).
Measurable: As the saying goes, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Goals should be quantified so that increments of accomplishment can be measured. Measurement is a factor of accountability (MacLeod, 2012).
Action-based: Behavioral goals are action-based goals. They should have intrinsic value to the client. They are part of an incremental process in goal achievement (Grant, 2012).
Realistic: Goals need to be realistic and achievable. Small wins build self-efficacy and self-esteem (Moore & Tschannen-Moran, 2010). If goals are too difficult the client may lose interest and focus. In addition people tend to focus on what that they find interesting and enjoyable (MacLeod, 2012).
Time-lined: Accomplishing goals as soon as possible is not an acceptable timeframe (MacLeod, 2012). Quick-wins keep motivation going for working on goals. Goals should occur along a time-line such as weekly goals and 3-month goals (Moore & Tschannen-Moran, 2010).
Applying the SMART Goals theory in coaching helps clients set goals that they will feel motivated and able to accomplish.
Coaching is an effective tool for those individuals seeking help with challenges in life. Clients seek the help of a trained coach to make changes in the behaviors that interfere with the achievement of happiness, health, good relationships, wealth, and other goals. What may be more difficult to accomplish on their own can be accomplished with assistance from a coach. By helping clients in motivation, establishing their vision, and developing SMART goals, coaching effectively helps clients turn common barriers of lacking vision, goals, and motivation into a framework for the change they desire.
Grant, A. M. (2012). An integrated model of goal-focused coaching: An evidence-based framework for teaching and practice. International Coaching Psychology Review, 7(2), 146-165.
Jinks, D., & Dexter, J. (2012). What do you Really Want: an Examination of the Pursuit of Goal Setting in Coaching. International Journal Of Evidence Based Coaching & Mentoring, 10(2), 100-110.
Kantabutra, S., & Avery, G. C. (2010). The power of vision: statements that resonate. Journal of Business Strategy, 31(1), 37-45.
Koestner, R., Otis, N., Powers, T. A., Pelletier, L., & Gagnon, H. (2008). Autonomous motivation, controlled motivation, and goal progress. Journal of Personality, 76(5), 1201-1230.
MacLeod, L. (2012). Making SMART Goals Smarter. Physician Executive, 38(2), 68-72.
Moore, M. & Tschannen-Moran, B. (2010). Coaching psychology manual. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Parker, S. K., Bindl, U. K., & Strauss, K. (2010). Making things happen: A model of proactive motivation. Journal of Management, 36(4), 827-856.