Establish Goal Ownership And Commitment

There can be occasions that a coaching conversation is so enjoyable for both parties that the part about setting goals and actions for execution is overlooked. Nonetheless, leaders who coach should be continuously aware that coaching is a goal-driven process to enable others
for better results.


A key role as a coach is bringing people through an effective goal-setting journey. This does not mean the coach sets the goals for the coachee. A wise and effective coach supports the coachee in clarifying their needs and desires, asks the right questions, and enables them to create their own goals.


When people create their own goals, they are more committed to see them get done because they “own” that goal. If someone else creates the goal for them, that sense of ownership diminishes and the commitment is less. Letting others take responsibility to strive for worthwhile achievements is a big part of the power of a coaching relationship.


In setting goals, coaches would want to ensure the goals contain these elements:

1.  The goals set should be specific and measurable with a clear timeline

2.  The goals should be achievable 

3.  The goals should be challenging enough so the pursuit is worth it

4.  The goals should enable the coachee to grow and develop

Living your best life begins with knowing what you really want out of life. .

– Jack Canfield and Angelina Cheong

The business schools reward difficult complex behavior more than simple behavior, but simple behavior is more effective .

– Jack Canfield and Peter Chee

An effective method to set goals is to use the SMARTEST criteria. This is when the goals set are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound, Engaging, Satisfying, and Team-based. Having all these strongly drives people towards attaining them. Head over to Setting Powerful Goals for a list of coaching questions you can use to ensure the goals set are the SMARTEST possible ones.

To reinforce the commitment and ownership level, you may want to conduct two visualization exercises with your coachee. The first is to let them think about the negatives of not succeeding. Ask them to describe in detail what happens if they do not achieve their goals, and how would they feel. Even though, it has not happened yet, the strong emotions associated with being unsuccessful usually drives people towards the desired outcomes. In many cases, some have even shed tears just thinking and talking about it!


When you sense they had enough negativity, switch to the positive side of goal attainment. Get them to vividly describe how they would feel upon accomplishing the goals; get them to share about the benefits they enjoy, and the feeling of accomplishment and upliftment of getting the
results they want.


Ask them to imagine the celebrations they would have when they have realized their objectives, and the enduring satisfaction they experience. Finally, tell them to assume the goal is already attained and reflect on what they did and their growth throughout. Doing this exercise greatly strengthens the commitment and ownership the coachee must accomplish what they want to do.



  1. WHAT makes giving suggestions without consent problematic in a coaching session?
  2. HOW can coaches remain aware of the need to get consent before giving suggestions?
  3. HOW can coaches ensure the coaching conversation focuses on drawing out solutions?
  4. WHAT behaviours and actions do coaches need to draw out the solutions from others?
  5. WHAT can you to cultivate those behaviours and actions?


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