How to be in the 8% of people who actually achieve their goals

Got big plans? Most people have goals to achieve something new, to change how they feel about themselves, or how others see them, or simply to feel a real sense of achievement. This goal could be personal, sporting, or professional; for you, or for your team. Few people, however, are fully equipped to unlock their own massive potential. That’s why science says that more than 90% of people do not achieve their goals.

We’ve all been there: excited and frustrated all at the same time, brimming with anticipation of what could be possible. But how do you break the status quo to achieve your big something? Or, to put it another way, how do you unlock your potential to succeed?

Don’t go it alone

You know the old saying, ‘two heads are better than one’? It’s true. If you’re serious about achieving your goal, you should consider coaching. Find the right one, and you’ll feel supported and challenged in equal measure – and be held accountable towards achieving your goal. It’s like a breath of fresh air. Like all relationships, however, the client/coach bond requires focus and attention on both sides to work.

Align your compasses

Before you even start looking, set out your expectations. Do you know what you want from your coach? If yes, share this with one or two prospects, and test the water. If no, then be prepared for a meaningful, deep and open discussion early on in order for a prospective coach to understand what you want, and what you might need. That’s not so easy when you have just met, but if the chemistry and desire from both sides is right, you’ll find a way!

There has to be a personal connection. If your coach doesn’t genuinely care about you and your goals, move on. You also need some shared values, by which I mean: are you inspired by a similar drive? Do you have a common interest? Is there a genuine passion to help and support you, and to understand why you are on this journey?

If you sense a divergence between what you think you need and what the coach thinks you need, then be upfront, explain your concerns and have a discussion. This would be a really valuable talk and you will both learn a lot about each other and how you might establish a way forward together – or not.

Pinning down your goal

The client’s goal should become a shared goal. The coach needs to believe that it’s relevant, and themselves be inspired by the client’s progress. Many coaches say that they take so much positivity, energy and inspiration from working with their clients.

I’ll give you an example. I recently manned a check point on XNRG’s Pilgrim Challenge. From midday until 6pm as part of a crew of three, we stood in the cold and wet and supported the runners coming through. We cheered when we saw a competitor appear around the corner, took their numbers, and filled any water bottles. We were at CP4, 26.5 miles in with 5.5 miles to go on day two of two. Although many of the competitors were tired, their energy and smiles were inspirational. I arrived home that night buzzing, thanks to the spirit, determination and great application of the competitors. Seeing someone else pursue their own goal is infectious – it’s why I recently became a coach.

Speak the same language

Regular contact is crucial to success, and your coach will structure this around you. This should be a mixture of face to face, Skype, calls, email or text. When you speak, your coach will want to know what is happening, if you’ve had any surprises, any areas you need addressing, and what you plan to do next. Face time is important at the start so you can get to know one another as quickly as possible. Investing time here could save you a lot of time and money later on. Personally, I like to use text messages because I am often travelling and don’t always have data or Wifi coverage.

Honesty is the best policy

Trust must be the foundation for a successful coaching relationship. If you are not happy, you need to say so. If you are unable to do what you agreed with your coach, you need to be brave and tell your coach! If you are not providing your coach with accurate and honest feedback, your coach will be basing future advice or instruction on unsound knowledge. If you’re a runner or sportsperson, you might put yourself at risk of injury. At the very least, you will be wasting your money.

Pinpoint the right expertise

So you have found a potential coach – someone you connect with, who believes in you and gives you the confidence to succeed. Next, you need to find out whether this coach has the skills and experience to help you get from A to B. Have they done what you would like to do? Have they got the breadth of experience to help you through the unexpected? Do they have the right knowledge to help you grow and reach your goal.

Benchmark success

All runners have our favourite routes which we use as a sanity check to benchmark our own performance. Any type of change – be that personal, in business, for you or with a team – will require a plan and smart benchmarks. The plan can always be changed as events dictate. By setting benchmarks from the start, you can constantly reset your focus as you progress. It is all too easy to get distracted or bogged down in the detail. Review your progress regularly and systematically – on your own and with your coach.

Work out your exit strategy

In business, you should always have an exit strategy, even if you’re currently happy in your work. You’ll stave off any complacency, and giving yourself choices keeps you in the best shape to bring value to those around you. If you stay, you stay for the right reasons. The same applies to the client/coach relationship. A good coach will build redundancy in to their plan. Obviously a coach aims to help their client achieve their goal – but a deeper and far more valuable goal is to help the client to grow. That growth comes through learning new skills and knowledge, and by helping them discover their own self-belief by mining and harvesting their own potential.

As part of your regular reviews, you should openly discuss your progress and when coaching should come to an end. When you are ready to fly, then fly! By the same measure, we are not always receptive to being coached, so when this happens, press the pause button. Deal with what you have to do, and pick up with your coach at a later time, if you and your coach want to.

Ready to start your coaching journey? I can help you achieve your personal, professional and sporting goals – just drop me a line on to find out more.

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