‘Goals’ are central to coaching, but what does it mean when a coach asks their client what their goal is, or what they want to ‘achieve’? This is language that we tend to associate with external ‘success’ criteria and hitting targets. That’s not the world we operate in as artists + makers and it can sometimes feel a bit uncomfortable, like the coach expects you to be chasing after something grand.
A ‘goal’ is really just an anchor for the conversation. It’s a stepping-off point that says: this thing is bothering me, and I think I could do something about it. The focus of coaching is to take that thing – whatever it might be, explore the options for how you could change it and then decide how you will change it.
Coaching is different to counselling
In counselling the focus might be to dive into the back-story and create change from there, but coaching starts in the present moment and looks forward. Coaching takes the view that things are as they are and that you’re perfectly able to manage the process of moving forward from here. Of course there are times when deeper emotional issues are at play. These might require a therapeutic approach – you wouldn’t expect a massage to fix a broken arm, but it would probably be helpful if your shoulders are routinely scrunched up round your ears.
You might come to a session knowing that something (like a deadline) is creating anxiety. You might want to feel more resilient so you can keep yourself on track. Addressing the anxiety could be emotional – coaching doesn’t happen in a vacuum – but the focus would stay on the goal of building resilience, rather than diving into any historical source of the anxiety.
Goals are central in coaching
As creatives, we all have ideas far faster than our hands can express them. And when our hands are busy our brains start firing off even more ideas – then we have websites to update, images to file, and at least a million other things we ought not to think about on a Sunday evening. We literally can’t do all of it. Coaching is a great way to sift through the options and get clear about what’s really worth your focus at this point in time. Then you can clarify what’s right for you right now.