Picture your goals in 3D!

von Marion Ehmann

This year I have been helping a lot of people draft their goals and supported them in achieving those goals. As coach to several dozen lawyers, I worked with them to make their goals SMART (specific, measurable, attractive, realistic and time-bound), which is the first dimension of goals. But that is not enough: goals need to be three-dimensional.

Making goals specific usually is the hardest part. It´s very easy to come up with fuzzy goals (e.g. “I want to be a better project leader” or “I want to communicate more clearly”), but fuzzy goals need to be broken down into specific behaviour that can be observed by either yourself or an observer: What exactly does a good project leader in your type of projects do? What precisely does someone who communicates clearly do?

Making goals measurable is not as hard as it looks at first sight. Some of my coaching clients prefer input goals over which they have complete control (“at least X client acquisition activities each week”); some prefer output goals (“10 new clients before the end of the year”). If the goal consists of recurring behaviour that cannot be counted as such (“give timely and specific positive feedback to team members whenever it´s due”), a self-evaluation is perfectly sufficient (“on a scale of 1 to 10, I rate my feedback behaviour today as a 6 and I would like to achieve a rating of 8, which means […] within two months”) ...

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