Long-Term Goals: How Important Are They For Leaders?

      Clients new to coaching sometimes struggle with understanding how to get the most impact out of each session.

      One of the most common pitfalls clients have is thinking they need to focus on short-term objectives and emergencies rather than long-term professional development.

      A Sales VP came to coaching with some relationship challenges he was having with one particular member of his team. He was very focused on solving that one issue with that one person. He thought that would be the best value for him.

      As we explored that ‘one issue’ the question was asked, “Where else does that show up for you?” and “How does that kind of issue hold you back from achieving your long-term goals?”

      This quickly shifted the conversation from short-term problem solving to long-term development. Yes, the short-term issue highlighted something bigger, and luckily he was willing to explore that bigger thing to maximize the value of the coaching experience.

      One way for clients to maximize the value of their coaching program is to consider their long-term goals first.

      • What will success look like for you 1, 2, or 5 years down the road?

      • What are you striving for?

      • What’s missing right now that you want to ensure isn’t missing in 5 years?

      By starting with a long-term vision in mind, you can choose topics for each coaching session that are going to move you forward toward that vision.

      To get the most out of each coaching session, here are a few tips:

      Come prepared with a topic

      I’m guessing you wouldn’t go into a meeting with your boss without considering the value you wanted to get out of the time you have with that person. You probably wouldn’t go into a sales call with a customer without an agenda focused on a value proposition either.

      Likewise, consider the coaching opportunity in the same way. Spending a few minutes before each call considering your focus area means you and your coach can jump right in and create a high value session.

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      Ask yourself the following questions:

      • Considering my coaching goals, what do I want to focus on?

      • What is the most important thing I could work on today that will have impact down the road?

      • What is my biggest challenge right now that is holding me back?

      • What’s one thing I can work on that will bring me closer to my long-term goal?

      Keep your long-term goal in focus

      Making sure each of your sessions has a well-defined topic that fits into the larger coaching goal is crucial. When you don’t prepare, what typically happens is you get focused on the short-term, in your face issues rather than the strategic, important, long-term topics that have farther reaching impact.

      If you find yourself asking your coach things like…

      • “What would you do about this particular issue X?”

      • “What should I do regarding this situation Y?”

      You are likely focused too short-term.

      Although looking for specific advice about situations or issues can feel like it is helping in the moment, it is a very limited application of coaching because it doesn’t do anything to stimulate your growth and development.

      Focusing on exploring new behaviors, tools, and perspectives is a higher value approach that will yield both short-term and long-term results.

      Client Value Story

      We worked with a senior marketing leader at a tech company whose long-term goal was developing his team leadership skills. He was new in role, and his team had some conflict and competition between two members.

      He could see this was negatively impacting the team’s ability to collaborate and succeed. Other teams were starting to voice difficulties in working with his group. He was sensing short-term trouble.

      His focus on the short-term emergencies could have been his main priority topic in his coaching session, and, indeed, these issues came up.

      He was willing to shift his perspective and recognize that continued focus on his ‘team leadership skills’ was the more important longer-term objective.

      As a result, we worked on shared vision, building trust, getting alignment, and dealing with conflict between team members.

      The result was that by staying true to the long-term focus, it gave him strategies and solutions to implement both immediately and throughout his career. The side effect - his short-term issues were addressed within 6 months.

      Coaching is a powerful tool, if used wisely

      Building a strong leadership pipeline is a hot topic in today’s world. The only way to do this is to get people focused on long-term goals and then implement programs to move them in that direction.

      Organizations of any size looking to take talent development to the next level can benefit from coaching. Professional coaching services support growth and retention among your employees while preparing your organization with the next generation of leaders.

      It is a proven way to accelerate business results by making your people more effective.


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