A Radical Common Sense Way to Hit Your Goals

Maybe you have 2022 goals. Yay.

Maybe you don’t. No big deal.

In both cases, you may have trepidation. Self-doubt and some past disappointments with goal-setting may cause you to seriously doubt if you’ll hit your goals (or even stay after them), and you think:  So why set myself up for disappointment? But what if they are not just your goals? What if you lead – and be led – by two? What if you strategically retain a coach? Before I became a coach 20+ years ago, I was coached.

Here’s what I got from Bill Pinkerton, my coach, the first coach I ever met. Bill was great because he:

  • Believed in me and encouraged me. (Critical, because I was looking to make a major career shift.)
  • Helped me set a deadline to turn talk into action.
  • Questioned assumptions I had, e.g., about how much I needed to earn and by when, about the networks that I didn’t realize I had, about whether people would take me seriously in a whole new field.
  • Held me accountable to the promises I made to myself. I distinctly remember the funny feeling that I was paying him, but I was trying to please him by hitting my goals. Paying him created a positive pressure to stay focused on my goals (where too often I was taking care of everyone but me, or doing stupid stuff instead of what really mattered).

Here are six ideas if you’re interested in getting a coach:

  1. Give very clear thought to your priorities – your ends. As I say leaders TRTL (an acronym): Think Right to Left. They look down the timeline and identify what is success.
  2. Give yourself a very clear sense of the monetary value. For example, my coach probably saved me 6 months of dilly-dallying. That was worth way more than I paid him. And how could I even calculate the value of getting into the field I would absolutely love for the next 20 years?
  3. Ask your manager if they will financially support you in retaining a coach. This is a great market to ask. Employers need to retain quality people. So show them how you want to get better and let them know it’s a great investment. (Some organizations also have internal coaches or contract with outside organizations like BetterUp. Does yours?)
  4. Expect a “free consultation.” See if you like the way they think, speak, and the tools they offer that can help.
  5. Know you can negotiate the terms. There is still a lot of variation in fees, so if someone gives you a price that seems too high, negotiate…or go elsewhere.
  6. Don’t be afraid to ask the coach to tie their compensation to your goals withhold some amount until the end of the engagement to see if they delivered what they promised.

No one goes it alone if they want to lead with their best self. Give yourself a chance this year to set great goals and to set yourself up for success in achieving them. 

  • This was a completely new idea to me, having a coach to move up in an organization, or to change careers. I had not heard there were such persons, especially as regards well experienced career people. You were already successful, but wanted a change. You could have thought, I can do this one my own, but instead spent the money for what I think of as a facilitator of improvement. Thank-you for this news.

  • This is so helpful. One addition to step 1 of the 6 – or a new item – Be clear about your capacity and commitment for making changes.

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