A professional coach is there to help you test your limits and achieve your dreams. Similar to an athletic coach, a professional coach assesses your weaknesses and strengths while helping you to set clear goals for the future outcomes you want to realize. Think of these goals as hurdles you need to jump as you prepare to reach the finish line. One of those hurdles can even be your own mind. Sometimes we struggle to achieve our professional goals because we keep approaching them the same way every time. In order to achieve our goals, it’s best to think outside of the box. A professional coach can help you do exactly that.
Did you know that Goal Setting Theory (GST) has been the prominent research employed in goal-setting research (e.g. sport, weight-loss, professional goals) for over 20 years? However, the biggest challenge to GST is that “The majority of the literature examines the goal-setting–performance relationship, without considering how goal pursuit might also impact (positively or negatively) other important aspects, such as well-being.” This quote communicates the understanding that setting a goal and attempting to achieve it is not enough. One also needs to factor in their mental performance, something the book The Mental Athlete discusses in detail concerning athletic goals. Psychologists Cecil Alec Mace and Edwin A. Locke are credited as pioneers in studying goal-setting and performance. Their research informed a later researcher to develop the S.M.A.R.T. psychology of goals:
S-M-A-R-T goals stand for:
- S (Specific) – They target a particular area of functioning and focus on building it.
- M (Measurable) -The results can be gauged quantitatively or at least indicated by some qualitative attributes. This helps in monitoring the progress after executing the plans.
- A (Attainable/Achievable) – The goals are targeted to suitable people and are individualized. They take into account the fact that no single rule suits all, and are flexible in that regard.
- R (Realistic) – They are practical and planned in a way that would be easy to implement in real life. The purpose of a smart goal is not just providing the plan, but also helping the person execute it.
- T (Time-bound) – An element of time makes the goal more focused. It also provides a time frame about task achievement.
A professional coach has the knowledge and understanding to implement these S.M.A.R.T. goals into your personal and professional objectives. The first way a professional coach does this is to ask you questions that help you to think outside the box. Why? Large-scale development does not exist inside the box. That is to say, you won’t be able to change anything in your life until you try something new. Such transformation requires creativity, ingenuity, and a new perspective. As Elite Daily confirms, “Thinking outside of the box is not just simply a mindset, but also a lifestyle. It’s an art and it’s where your creativity flourishes, where you will excel most because that is when you figure out what you love to do — when you are constantly thinking about how to make it greater than it already is.”
Striving for something more is already starting to stretch the boundaries of the proverbial box. Your professional coach combines your motivation with powerful questions, journaling prompts, meditative techniques, and more to help you fully emerge from the constraints of the box that no longer serves you. These questions may even be questions you’ve asked yourself in your head but never fully verbalized. Some research suggests that finally verbalizing your goals helps to realize them as it adds accountability to your goal-setting. Talking to a coach also helps you to pin down a specific goal (the S in S.M.A.R.T. goals). In our heads, a goal can feel abstract and difficult to define. Out-of-the-box questions help to solidify your vision and give you a clear target to aim for. Finally, the questions helps you to define what you actually want. Maybe you think you want a promotion, but after some out-of-the-box thinking, you finally realize that what you really want is to run your own business!
Speaking with a coach can help to bring out the best in your abilities while you aim to accomplish your goals. A flexible mindset, a healthy ambition, and a coach who knows how to draw you out of your box can make even the most challenging goals achievable.